By Alusine Sesay
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Disabled International Foundation Sierra Leone has called on the government to holistically implement the 2011 Disability Act to ensure that persons with disability are fully cared for and taken off the streets.
Madam Imanbay Kadie Kamara told Concord Times in an exclusive interview that her organization was established in 2007 as tribute to their late disabled mother so that her memory would remain.
Since its establishment, she said the organization has played a vital role in the lives of persons with disability and that they actively participated in the passing into law of the 2011 Disability Act through lots of campaigns and advocacies.
“During the 2012 elections, we collaborated with Handicap International to advocate for the holistic inclusion of persons with disability in the governance of the country. This resulted in the appointment of the first disabled minister, Mustapha Bai Attila,” said Ms. Kamara, adding that her organization’s focus is not only to remove disabled persons from the streets but also to ensure that they are empowered through different skills training.
“Our organization is operating in seven chiefdoms in the Port Loko District where we encourage disabled persons to engage in farming. I have also secured two acres of land at Lungi for the construction of a disability empowerment centre.”
According to Madam Kamara, discrimination against disabled persons is still rife in the country thus urging the government to enforce the implementation of the Disability Act so that physically challenged persons would have access to facilities like transportation, medical, among others.
“Disabled people are discriminated against wherever they go, even in their homes,” she lamented, noting that Disabled International Foundation Sierra Leone also in 2011 collaborated with Handicap International to advocate for the inclusion of persons with disability in the free health care scheme.
However, she conceded that her organization does not have sponsors for now but affirmed her commitment to ensure that physically challenged persons are well taken care of through empowerment.
“I am well prepared for this challenge though there are hurdles along the way; nothing will stop me from achieving my organization’s dream,” she promised.
Disabled International Foundation is a non-profit humanitarian organization that seeks international partnership in order to empower and enhance the social status and economic condition of persons with disability in Sierra Leone.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the organization is a multiple award winner. In 2012, she received Sierra Leone’s Excellence Award as well as the United Artists Award in the same year. She was also an All Works of Life (AWOL) nominee in 2013 and her organization was the first to have produced a disabled lantern during celebrations marking Sierra Leone’s 53rd independence anniversary.