Disabled persons at the Opportunity Training Centre (OTC) located at the back of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) along Maxwell Khobe Street in Kenema city have on Monday 26th April 2010 expressed dissatisfaction over what they described as neglect from the community. The group set a delegation and stormed the office of the Deputy Mayor of the Kenema City Council to express their grievances at her Kenema City council office along Reservation road.
Speaking to the press at the Kenema City Council the leader of the group Mustapha Madihoe says the Kenema City Council (KCC) and the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs (MSWGCA) have neglected the disabled persons in this part of the country which he says have resulted into making most of their colleagues as destitute on the street of the city. Madihoe alleged that since the establishment of the Opportunity Training Centre they have not received any help from the Kenema City Council and the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs in Kenema to help upgrade their standard of living. He disclosed that life at the centre is very difficult for them and their families as sending their children to school is a challenge for them because they cannot afford fees and medical facilities which he says hardly come by.
Mustapha Madihoe appealed to stake holders, the government of Sierra Leone and humanitarian organisations in and out of the country to look into their plight and strategies on a definite solution for their livelihood.
Reacting to their allegations the Chief Administrator of the Kenema City Council Bockarie Buanie says the Kenema City Council can only give support to the disabled persons when funds are available from the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs. Mr. Buanie says the Kenema City Council has no special fund set aside for the welfare of the disable persons in the city but however assured them of councils support when ever funds are available for their welfare. He says they are always welcome to visit the council as it belongs to them.
In his response the Principal Social Development Officer at the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs in Kenema Patrick Bangura disclosed that the Ministry is responsible to advocate support for disable persons and to conduct capacity building training for their livelihood.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs through its supporting partners have provided wheel chairs and conducted capacity building training for the disable at the Opportunity Training Centre in Kenema city. Mr. Bangura therefore called on the group to appreciate what ever facilities are provided for them at the centre at the moment. He says the affairs of the disabled persons is in the centre of the heart of the Ministry and they are making effort in making sure that their welfare is addressed.
By: Saffa Moriba