#National News

Association for welfare of children with disability launched

Mar 21, 2022, 11:35 AM | Article By: Sulayman Waan

The Association for the Welfare of Children with Down Syndrome (AWCDS) which aims to support and protect vulnerable children in society was recently launched in a local hotel at Kololi.

AWCDS was formed to assist children and youth living with Down Syndrome through engaging donor partners, philanthropists and others to help them integrate into society in the most transparent and accountable mechanism.

Most of the people living with Down Syndrome are discriminated against, neglected, exploited and vulnerable to all forms of societal misconceptions and beliefs. Some receive such discriminations from their own families.

 Therefore, AWCDS comes to support them socially, academically and economically.

Representing the minister of Gender, Omar Mbakeh, director of children affairs at the Ministry of Gender said his ministry is committed to ensuring all children living in The Gambia live in supportive and caring environment to enable them develop their future.

“Our doors are ever open for any person working on children development in the country,” he affirmed.

He portrayed the establishment of the association as noble and timely and said one of its fundamental roles is to act as coordinating body of individuals, groups, communities and associations involved in helping people with Down Syndrome.

“The existence of such association will help individuals and families to play a crucial role in nurturing with Down Syndrome. The physical and mental development of children with these health conditions is also something that will be taken on board with the establishment of the association,” he said.

He therefore called on individuals, philanthropists and development partners to support the initiative by mobilising resources for the association to implement their ideas and projects.

Muhammed Suwareh, national coordinator for AWCDS commended his board of directors and the association and staff for their hard work since the formation of the association in 2021.

He noted that since the establishment of the association, it has supported 150 vulnerable children with shelter, feeding, medication, their education and other form of supports to ensure their wellbeing in society.

“The organization also wants children with Down Syndrome to participate in decision-making processes in society. They should be communicated on societal issues. We stand to protect them against discrimination,” he said.

Pa Malick Ceesay, deputy director for the National Youth Council (NYC) described the launch as very important and unique. He said the NYC under the Ministry of Youth and Sports would work as expected to ensure the welfare of special needs.

In announcing NYC’s support to AWCDS with D50, 000 he said the youth ruling body will engage stakeholders to support the organisation in sustainability.

Musa Yalli Batchilly, leader of the Gambia Action Party (GAP) called on the president Barrow-led government to support children with Down Syndrome as well as the association in order to ease their challenges.

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