The Handicap Youth Development Association (HYDA) says they want the next Government to provide better living conditions, education, employment and shelter for them.
Speaking to Awoko at their ECOWAS street office, the Secretary General Mariatu B Conteh said the disabled should not be seen as isolated people but should be seen as useful people.Speaking about what they want the new government after elections to provide for them she said “the next government should think about us. We want better lives, employment and education for our children.”
Mariatu complained that the few disabled who have acquired professional qualifications are discriminated against when they apply for jobs.
She recounted the constraints they face on a daily basis, lamenting that they primarily live on handouts from people who decide to be kind to them because the assistance they were receiving from non-governmental organizations is no more.
Explaining about their last demonstration at parliament where they were agitating for better conditions of living, has yielded no fruit she said.
About 120 disabled people live in the house at 15 ECOWAS street and there are about 36 rooms and 10 people serving as assistants to the disabled. HYDA was formed in 1996, during the war in Makeni, by a German national called brother Schneider.
When the war intensified the Association came to Freetown. Most of the disabled have been involved in skills and vocational training.
With the rains now, most of them find it difficult to have a place to sleep since they were sleeping in the open.
In the morning hours, they take to the streets begging.