Whilst the rest of the community was commemorating the World Disabled Day, 46 disabled and their families yesterday moved into a house at Walpole Street in central Freetown saying they needed a place to live.
The disabled entered a two-storey building opposite the Liberty Hall, demanding the house’s caretaker to occupy a section of the house so that they could move into the main building.
The disabled looked determined to stay in the building and were cleaning it whilst the women were cooking when Awoko visited them.
Their spokesman, Alusine Tarawally a.k.a (seketeh), told Awoko that they entered the building because they had noticed it was vacant whilst they were sleeping in the open.
He said, “we organized ourselves at the Bus Station to temporarily secure this house where we will sleep until the authorities consider our plight.”
Alusine explained that the caretaker told them he had been in care of the house for three years and the house was empty for over 20 years without occupants.
He alleged that when they entered the house they were told it was owned by one government minister Alpha Kanu whom he claimed had already met them.
“He met us this morning and we told him we are not here to claim the house but that we are here as homeless until we have a place to sleep. We are human beings; government should care for us and our families. We too are entitled to shelter but if we are abandoned like that, we will become useless and not respected wherever we go.”
On how they came to know about the house he explained that, “we have been using this route and have been seeing the house unoccupied, whilst we sleep in the open suffering from pneumonia and our children dying of it. That was why we decided yesterday to ‘catch’ this house peacefully.”
Asked whether they knew of the World Disabled Day commemoration, he answered: “they are making fools of us on this day because they are coming to use us just for a day after which we are left in the open as destitute.”