In the wake of challenges and financial constraints that persons with disabilities face ranging from family neglect to societal depression and discrimination, some physically challenged are still hopeful that things will improve for them someday based on what the Group of 77 is doing to address their plights.
Despite the challenges and constraints, many of them have been able to cope as a result of the involvement of both local and international human rights groups that have directly or indirectly contributed to the improvement of their livelihood by providing some vocational and technical skills aimed at making them useful.
One local institution that is involved in such business is the Group of 77, located down Newport Street in Central Monrovia, and managed by Liberia’s Second Lady Kortuma Boakai .
The In Profile Daily in continuation of its commitment to highlight the plights or conditions of the physically challenged, Wednesday conducted interview with some members of the Group of 77 in an effort to get their input.
In separate interviews, the four young physically challenged claimed that they were not born with their present conditions. They attributed their conditions to illness which was not swiftly attended to by their parents at that time.
Narrating his ordeal first was John Sayegeh, who disclosed that he got paralyzed at age, 3 from a prolonged sickness that could not be detected by doctors at the early stage.
Sayegeh, who hails from Nimba County, said he joined the Group of 77 in 1989 through its sub- branch in the county and now serves in the capacity as Resident Supervisor at the group’s headquarters. He stressed the need for more assistance especially wheel chairs and food.
For his part, Francis B. Zombo said his disability resulted from polio attack when he was between the ages 3-5 in his home town in Cape Mount County in the late 70s. he said he had been engaged in street begging and petty trader as a means of sustaining himself before entering the Group of 77 in 2000.
Mr. Zombo said since his involvement with the group, his living condition has improved a little bit, adding: “Though I am not making plenty money here but things are find with me”.
According to him, the skill acquired as a professional tailor through the instrumentality of the Group of 77 has helped to make him useful in society.
“We are persons with disabilities but there are jobs out there that we are capable of doing,” Mr. Zombo added.
Also speaking to this paper were Allen D. Kinwu and Morris G. Wheagba, who also benefited from the group’s skill training program. They also called for more support to the institution to enable it incorporate their colleagues who are still languishing in the streets begging.
The both of them further stressed the need for qualified physically challenged individuals to be employed in the private and public sectors as a means of stepping up their empowerment. “You see my brother, people look down on us too much in this country, we too have talents and skills,” they noted.