Oct 29, 2008, 7:40 AM
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is being observed on 3 December every year, since 1982 when the UN General Assembly decided on having a World Programme of Action for disabled people.
The United Nations has ever committed itself and its members to promoting the full participation of disabled people in social life and development as well as prevention and rehabilitation measures.
In The Gambia, disabled persons also observe the day to remind people and government about their plights. The day is indeed worthy of commemoration, because it gives people with disabilities the opportunity to express some of the challenges they face in their everyday life and serves as a stocktaking day for them.
The plight of people with disability should be a concern for everyone and one thing people should have in mind is that being disabled does not mean such a person cannot contribute positively towards the socio-economic development of a nation. In fact the disabled are also human beings who can be geniuses in many respects.
Therefore, the issues of people with physical disability should be given high priority on government's agenda.
It is always sad, for instance, to see people with physical disabilities struggling for public transport without receiving much support. Some drivers do not even want to carry them because they see it as time wasting.
Disabled people are also yet to be fully considered within international development issues. For instance the way most offices are built prevents people with disabilities to have access to such places in the absent of lifter.
They are still excluded from society in some instances. Even where effective disability legislation is in place, the implementation lacks ideas and is hindered by negative attitudes towards disabled people.
Disability is also seen as a social issue which is not only based on medical reasons. Physically challenged people therefore need care and support and are hoping to draw attention to their plight.