In order to put an end to the frequent intimidations and misbehaviors caused by some set of disabled towards the Holy Orthodox Archdiocese in Waterloo, Father Adamopoulo Themi has provided over Le100 million to the said disabled to restart their lives.
The sum of Le 22,500,000 was given to each disable, eight in number, for them to leave the church’s home in Waterloo, find themselves shelter and invest the remaining money for onwards family up keep. The presentation was done in the Conference hall of the Ministry of Social Welfare in the presence of the Minister Baindu Dassama.
According to Father Themi of the Holy Archdiocese, since 2007, when the church came into the Country, he has been assisting persons living with disability. He said he came in contact with some of the country’s disabled, when the then minister of Social Welfare in 2007 informed him about their situation at Walpole Street.
The Reverend Father said land was provided by the Government to the Church, which they developed and hosted the aforesaid people. Father Themi underscored that they were providing everything for them including a monthly stipend of Le200,000 to each disabled, medical and educational support for their children.
Despite all of those facilities, father Themi mentioned that the physical challenged kept disturbing the peace and sanctity of the compound, causing all kinds of mayhem whenever there is shortage or delay in their request. He disclosed that the disabled have been claiming ownership of the property ever since, but because of the love of Christ they have been tolerating them.
“The Land was given to the church, not the disabled. We have papers for the land and it is the Orthodox Church that owns the land. We were just supporting them” he stated.
He said there is a feeling of fear in the compound presently, as 600 school kids normally occupy the space and the act of the disabled has become unbearable. They had even threatened to kill him. He advised them to be independent and use the money wisely. “I am also a disabled. So they should not be using that as an excuse” he said.
One of the Disabled Samson thanked Father Themi for his support over the past years. He assured the Father and gathering that having received such money, they will never go there again nor disturb the peace of the compound.
In her Statement the Minister of Social Welfare Baindu Dassama said 13 years is not 13 days and the disabled should consider where the Reverend father took them from. The Minister advised them to use the money judiciously and appealed to the Father to continue providing medication and educational support to their kids.
The President for Persons Living with Disability in Sierra Leone Santigie Kargbo appreciated the effort of the Church. He urged his colleagues to use the money wisely, adding that he will be serving as witness in case any one of his colleague wants to go on the contrary.
The event ended with a presentation of Le20 million cheque, and physical cash of Le2,500,000, to each disabled, as the other set of disabled had earlier been settled. Other statements were made by officials from the Human Right Commission and the National Commission for Person with Disability.