By Hassan G. Koroma
Darphine Joya Pratt, a former Social Worker form Mountain Cut Community last Saturday emerged the winner of the Dorwontony Organization for the Aged (DOfA), Old is Gold beauty pageant 3rd edition.
Joyer Pratt contested against other four contestants from various communities including Ina Kamara from the Aberdeen Community, Isatu Bangura from the Magazine Cut Community, Salamatu Conteh from the Congo Town Community and Mariama Jalloh representing the Peninsular Community.
Speaking at the event that was held at the Freetown City Council Auditorium, the Chief Executive Officer of DOFA Doreen S Barrie, said all the contestant were above 60 years, adding that the contest was done to celebrate the International Day of Older Persons declared and celebrated every year by the United Nations.
She said DoFA seeks to cater for the interests, welfare and dignity of Eederly people in Sierra Leone through advocacy, legal aid and livelihood support and that the organization’s aim is to ensure that elderly people are loved and cared for by all at every level of society.
She further stated that their objective is to provide suitable shelter to house the aged that are not receiving family support, to raise public awareness about the need for care and attention for the aged, to effectively lobby relevant authorities for improvement in the lives of pensioners, to remove the less privileged aged people off the streets through strategic partnership with old people’s homes and others.
She said the beauty pageant they organize every year is meant to change the narrative that the aged should not socialize but just stay at home all the time, adding that the want to ensure that the aged people are respected in the country.
“Those aged gave birth and took care of us when we were young. They should not be abandons and we should respect and take care of them now like they did to us when we were young. Some of these aged in different ways contributed to the development of this country, so they deserve respect,” she said.
The Chief Judge of the pageant, Ambassador Sulay Darame, said Sierra Leone is one of the countries in the world that has not been doing well for the aged.
Board Chairman of DOFA, Rev Father Peter Conteh, said the vision of DOFA is for the aged to be valued and respected because they are senior citizens, who have in different ways contributed to the development of the nation.
Minister of Social Welfare,Melrose Karminty said it is because of the respect for the aged the UN celebrates the day annually and affirmed that her ministry will ensure that the rights of the aged are adhere to.
She said part of the problem in the country is that people no longer have respect for elderly people, adding that, when she took up office, Dorren Barrie approached her and told her about DOFA and that she supported and stood with her.