By Jariatu Bangura
In line with implementing the Persons with Disability Act 2011, country representative of African Youths with Disabilities has urged the government, through the ministries of Social Welfare, Education and Health, to include persons with disability in national decision-making processes.
Seray Alpha Bangura said inclusion of persons with disability in national development programmes in the country is fundamental to ending stigma and the barrier to free society, wherein physically challenged youths would exercise their rights and participate in all facets of life.
He said the network was established in 2011 to unite Africa’s diverse youth disability groups, their families, friends and supporters.
He said the organization’s aim is to be a continental movement and an effective voice for cultural, economic, political, and social change through support for the rights of persons with disability and influencing regional policies to address the challenges they face.
He said the network is working collaboratively with key stakeholders, including educators, governments and ministries to ensure that barriers like inaccessible classrooms/lecture rooms, high tuition fees that hinder disabled youths from accessing education, are addressed and solutions implemented.
He said they have provided training for disabled youths in Kono, Bo, Kabala and Freetown to create an enabling environment for them in their respective regions and to empower them with advocacy in the campaign team for their inclusion in development.
Bangura noted that many youths, especially those that are disabled, are being marginalized in different communities, offices and in various spheres of life.
He called on all stakeholders to involve young people with disability in policy making decisions and programmes, with at least 5% representation.