By Yusufu S. Bangura
In a bid to discuss issues affecting the aged, Dorwontony Organization for the Aged (DoFA), together with development partners, has on Saturday 23rd April 2022, organised their 2nd symposium for the aged on the theme ‘engaged improving the quality of living for the aged.’
Welcoming participants at the event, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of DoFA, Doreen Barrie said she was aware that the work she was doing in the country to help the aged was appreciated by everyone due to the turn-up of her invitees.
She said the gathering of the aged was an indication of trust in her organisation, adding that her objective was centred around seeking the interest, welfare and dignity of the aged in the country’s communities through advocacy, legal aid and livelihood support.
The founder said they chose the theme because they have a lot of challenges as to how they should cater for the welfare of people, adding that they have approached several others for assistance but still faced with disappointment.
She said there were things that needed to be considered in improving the quality of living for the aged wherein they should create a sense of purpose because they are important in society.
“We are looking forward to providing entertainment centres for the aged that could address boring situations that normally affect the aged. We are collaborating with appropriate stakeholders and line organisations that listen to the age’s complaints patiently and always willing to share their burdens,” she said.
Representative from the Ministry of Labour, Ibrahim Kanu, said the CEO of DoFA was doing a great job by making sure that the aged were recognised in the country, so he thanked her and asked her to continue her good work by giving them better life.
He said in 2004, the ministry established a national safety security programme for the aged, which provides assistance to old people across the country and in 2019 the ministry also launched the first ever national interim policy which also gives them guidelines on how they should effectively address their challenges because everyone have to old.
“We want to address these challenges for people to treat them with dignity, respect, good health, so where there is a challenge, the government would intervene. That’s why we developed this policy. We have old people that are doing good, so we need to come onboard and support DoFA to improve the living of old people in the country,” he said.
Giving his keynote address, Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh said the challenges of the aged that serve as threat to their livelihood, adding that society should be grateful to the aged because without them, the background of a society can’t be upheld.
“Death has no age limit, so old people are overcomers of the dreads of death that face mankind,” he said.
He continued that common challenges facing the aged are poor financial status, insecurity within society, chronic poor health, hardship and many others that should be provided with immediate solutions.
He called on DoFA and partners to continue with their motive that could address the long standing challenges facing old people.
“You can do that by engaging line ministries for a collaborative action, calling on policies that could protect the aged, engaging physical, emotional and education exercises for old people,” he disclosed.
He noted that a society without old people does not have a mature mixture of people’s groups.
“People being old shouldn’t accommodative a burdensome situation as there are several benefits young people gained from them, like knowledge, wisdom and understanding of times.”
In her own speech, Minister of Social Welfare, Baindu Dassama said she was moved with passion to extending a helping hand to the aged as the drive of DoFA is concerned. She said the aged should be regarded with honoured title of Senior Citizens.
“Government will look towards supporting and encouraging organizations like DoFA as long as there is a goal setting of common good grounds for the country,” she noted.
She continued that the Ministry being directly in charge of such issues like that of the aged works with concerned line Ministries, Department and agencies. She said government will ensure the implementation of sound policies to secure the needs of the aged while warning DoFA that, greedy people shouldn’t fake age to benefit from the protections of the aged.
The minister called on groups representing the interest of the aged not to hesitate meeting her with concerned issues. “We would collaborate with a team of social workers as long as there are drafted policies to soften the needs of the aged.