By Olimatou Coker
Following a two-day awareness training for service providers on the importance for inclusion of persons with disabilities in various workforces and institutions, there was a joint call for proper treatment from the public.
The awareness training was organised by Start Now Organisation at Brikama Red Cross.
Participants from government, private sector and community leaders raised points that the rights of persons with disabilities should be respected by giving them the proper treatment they need both home and work places.
The director of Start Now Organisation Alieu Jaiteh stressed that persons with disabilities need support and should be respected, saying in some cases, offices don’t bother to employ disable people.
“It is sad sometimes persons with disabilities will go to an office and want to see the director. In some cases where the disable sits in wheelchair and the manager is on 2nd or 3rd floor where the disable cannot climb up, for the director to come down and value the person, instead he or she will not bother to see him because he or she feels superior to come down,” he noted.
Jaiteh said some people with disabilities are not given the chance to work in office most of the time, adding that they deserve equal treatment.
“We want the government to help us make learning materials accessible in government schools, in order to treat all citizenry equal. We also want the ministry of information to help in making sure the television employs us, especially those that interpret sign language. The deaf people should have access to information in our televisions and without the interpreters, they will not have any information from the state television.”
Jaiteh thanked their partners like International Visitors Leadership Program Alumni Association (IVLPAA) and United States Embassy for ‘their great gesture’ in supporting the two-day training.
Disability rights activist Charles Degold Gomez has reiterated that they need support, recognition, understanding and acceptance from the general public.
“Sometimes when persons with disabilities go in search of job, some of the managers will say people with disabilities do not possess the education they need,” he decried.
Gomez stated that people with disabilities are equally competent and productive, with comparable skills and level of education as those without disabilities, adding that often times, the accommodation required by most persons with disabilities may cost little or nothing.
“Such accommodations may include ramps, automatic door openers, widened doorways, and wheelchair accessible washrooms make the employer’s workplace more accessible.”
Edward Prera, a participant thanked the organisers and promised to disseminate the information learnt to his institution and family members.