By Maimuna Fatty
A physically challenged UK-based Gambian has lamented that the biggest obstacles faced by persons with disabilities in the Gambia are the stereotypes and discriminations informed by lack of awareness raising in our communities.
Ebrima Molleh Nyang, who is planning to create a foundation in collaboration with the Gambia Federation for the Disabled to offer support to persons with disabilities, said Gambians have all the means to offer support to persons with disabilities but they are not doing so because they lack better understanding about disabilities.
“In The Gambia people only concentrate on physical disability and forgetting others when we have 13 different types of disabilities. But how many of us know about that? There is a kind of disability in every home like mental health but people tend to forget those people. I was invited to a radio show by the Federation and we talked about how best we can partner to create awareness. The secretary general Manneh informed me that there are lots of things happening against persons with disabilities but nothing is done about it. There is no equipment in the hospital like the wheelchairs, crouches and other stuff. But during our conversation, we helped raise awareness and many people called and pledged to provide wheelchairs,” Nyang who is currently on holiday in The Gambia told the Standard.
He said the realisation of national disability awareness can only be achieved if all Gambians are self-educated to come to the realisation that persons with disabilities need an inclusive safe environment where they feel accepted and valued to realise their potentials and self-actualise.
“Mr Manneh [GFD] told me that there are villages here with two disabilities but they have only one wheelchairr and they have to wait for each other to use the same wheelchair. And other disabled children are not allowed to play because of their conditions. This is unacceptable. I have been bringing containers with different sets of equipment and donating it to persons with disabilities. What is stopping some other people who are also bringing containers here to do the same? We don’t lack this equipment here but the awareness is not there.
Mr Nyang disclosed that he is engaging the Federation of the disabled to build a foundation that will provide support to all persons with disabilities in the Gambia.
“After setting up the foundation we will knock on all major companies and the municipal council to donate funds to sustain the foundation. The benefits related to this foundation will be unimaginable as we will continue to bring equipment for both the young and the old. I have been living in England for 33 years, what I realised is that even the ggovernment don’t help the disabled in everything, instead they have a foundation that comes together to help each other.