Aug 7, 2009, 5:58 AM
For one to be a disabled person in The Gambia is by no means a small challenge, especially considering the limited legal policy framework to empower the disabled.
In life, at any stage, one could become disabled and, as such, prioritizing issues of persons with disability is critical.
Firstly, we must see persons with a disability as human beings who have equal rights to enjoy, just like the able-bodied men and women.
These physically-challenged persons also have their full senses, and they can contribute effectively to the development of the country, if only given the enabling environment.
The Gambia government needs to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability as a show of commitment to the plight of disabled persons.
We also do hope that the much-talked about Draft Disability Bill would one day come to be law through the National Assembly.
There is absolute necessity to end all forms of stigma, discrimination and any kind of inhuman or degrading treatment against persons with disability in the country.
We must endeavour to improve access to quality services for all citizens, including the persons with disability.
We must also consider the plight of persons with disability in our program design and implementation.
The attitude of some commercial drivers in particular towards persons with disabilities is another cause for concern, and this must stop sooner rather than later.
Indeed, persons with disabilities suffer many forms of discrimination.
These are people we should embrace with love and affection, because they are part and parcel of the society.
“I have a strong sense that I have to educate people about disability.”