By Omar Bah
The principal of GADHOH nursery and lower basic school for the deaf in Brikama, Karamo Sanyang has said that disable people in The Gambia are seriously marginalized.
He said many family members in The Gambia find their love ones with disabilities having to remain at home because they are unable to live independently for many different reasons.
“People with disabilities are among the most marginalized groups in The Gambia,” he said during the visit of Rock Base Charity Foundation to his school.
He said people with disabilities in The Gambia have lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.
Mr Sanyang said people are disabled by society, not just by their bodies.
These barriers, he said, can be overcome, if governments, nongovernmental organizations, professionals and people with disabilities and their families work together.
He said although the government education policy indicated that no child should travel more than twenty kilometers to go to school, “when it comes to the disables things are totally different, we are just not catered for.”
He said many students drop out of school due to the distance they travel to go to school, because there are not enough schools for people with disability in the country.
“The cost of transport is also an issue, because most of them come from poor families, whiles others are not given the required attentions given to other family members. So, the challenge for the disables is quite numerous,” he added.
He said his school is the only school for the deaf in region two. He said students were supposed to pay school fees, but the moment their parents are informed about the payments majority of them will prefer keeping their children home.
“So, the kids sometime will feel some degree of divide and rule in their own family which is unacceptable. This motivated me to allow them to come to school for free, because I know how it feels to be disabled in a Gambian society. I am disabled myself and as the saying goes, who lives or knows it feels it,” he added.
He said since allowing these students to attain school for free the school has been depending on aid mainly from Child Fund and GADHOH.