Sierra Leone: Amputees appeal for consideration on Free Education
The Sierra Leonean amputee community has appealed for greater inclusion into the Free Education program of the new government. The amputees, who made the appeal over the week in Rokel Village, say since the launch of the flagship program of the ‘New Direction’ government, their involvement has been limited due to the limited schools approved by the government in their locality.
Rokel Village is located a few km outside Freetown. There are only two approved schools in the whole area, which means many of the children of the amputees are forced to enroll in private schools, which do not benefit from the scheme.”We are appealing for the amputees to be given special attention in the Free Education initiative”, Pastor Tamba Finnoh, Secretary General of the National Amputees Association of Sierra Leone, said.
He was speaking at a ceremony marking the handing over of learning materials donated to the community by the Melqosh Mission International Pastor Sister Faith, the head of the Melqosh Mission International, is the pioneer of the donation, with support from GTBank.
The package also includes school fees, targeted at over 50 amputee school going children.
The Melqosh Mission has been supporting people with disabilities for couple of years now. They even supported over 350 pupils in the community last year.
Pastor Finnoh also used the opportunity to call on President Julius Maada Bio’s attention to the plight of the amputee community in the country. Eleanor Massah Abdulai, a Melqosh Mission Advocate, who is also an amputee, stressed on the need of empowering female persons with disabilities in health, jobs and education.
Another amputee, Mariatu Mayango, also emphasised on the need to empower the amputees.
The amputees also used the opportunity to narrate some of their ordeals, ranging from encroachment of their lands by the abled bodied neighbors, to stigmatization and discrimination.
Speaking on behalf of GTBank, the General Manager, Mr. Ade Adebiyi stressed the need to support the Free Education initiative of the government. He assured of his bank’s continued support in this regard.
The chief benefactor, Pastor Faith, founder of Melqosh Mission International, called on the government, local and international partners to support persons with disabilities. She explained that her organisation felt obliged to support persons with disabilities ,especially amputees, after seeing what they go through in the streets across the country. She said she wanted them to live independent lives devoid of street begging.
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