By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Disability Impact Trust Fund, GDTFwas last Wednesday launched at the Madiba Mall in Brufut.
“Although no rigorous evidence exists on the financial inclusion of persons with disabilities in The Gambia, anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that persons with disabilities are excluded from the access to financial services such as savings and credits, Dr Karamo Sonko, the chairman of Heeno International, a privately funded Gambian non-governmental and non-profit foundation, stated.
“According to UN statistics, there are currently over 650 million persons with disabilities throughout the world of whom 400 million live in developing countries,” the doctor added.
He said it was against this backdrop that the GDTF was initiated, during the TAF conference in December with an initial contribution of D1, 000, 000, from Heeno International and the TAF Foundation.
“The objective of the foundation is to provide credit to persons with disabilities in The Gambia, to alleviate poverty among the disabled in The Gambia, and to showcase the entrepreneurial skills of the disabled in The Gambian societies etc,” he said.
Mustapha Njie, TAF CEO and chairman of the Fund, explained how GDTF started only a year ago when he was invited to give a closing remark on a training which targeted 30 physically challenged individuals.
“In December at the TAF conference and on the issue of looking forward on how to develop the country, Dr Karamo Sonko pledged D700, 000 into this fund.”
He stated that the foundation is being funded from their personal monies, calling it a way of giving back to the country.
Mr Muhammed Krubally, a magistrate at the Brikama Magistrate Court, and the president of the Fund, said it was established in order to respect, protect and promote rights and welfare of people living with disability.
“People with disabilities should be treated equally with the able bodies.”
“Mustapa N’jie who pledged D300, 000 and Dr Karamo Sonko who also pledged D700,000 are magnanimous Gambians who have a brilliant thought and the need to come up and lend a helping hand to the disables,” he praised them.