MONROVIA – More than 20 Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HOH) Persons have graduated and obtained certificates in several different skills being offered by the ‘Voices of Inclusion and Civil Society Empowerment Project, a project being funded by the European Union.
The project titled: “Voices for Inclusion and Civil Society Empowerment” is a disabled people organizations stepping up for persons with disabilities (PWDs) rights in Liberia” or otherwise known as VOICE is a 2-year (February 2021- January 2023) initiative which is aimed at enhancing the capacity of civil society organizations, to promote and empower persons with disabilities and to ensure that people with disabilities can fully enjoy their rights in Liberia.
By Edwin G. Genoway, Jr (232886458910)[email protected]
The project aims at enabling the umbrella federation of people with disabilities, the National Union of Organization of the Disabled (NUOD), the Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), and their members to effectively demand the respect and fulfillment of the human rights of all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) to which Liberia is a signatory since 2012.
The primary beneficiaries of the project are deaf and hard of hearing persons (HOH) who are being supported to ensure that they have equal access to work and employment opportunities.
The graduation and trade fair recently was led by young deaf and hard-of-hearing students who successfully completed the Action’s livelihood and skills training program.
During the Graduation and the trade fair, the graduates were offered a certificate of completion and they practiced their public speaking skills by coordinating their own graduation program. The graduation and trade fair also served as a networking event for the students and their potential employers that could possibly lead to some form of employment opportunity for the students.
The MC of the program, Nyante Togba, speaking through an interpreter expressed disappointment in society for not giving the disabled community the space needed to perform as any other person.
Togba said he and his colleagues were glad to be skilled and offered certificates to market them on the skilled job market. “We thank our instructors and AIFO for the opportunity afforded us to learn and be part of the society.”
AIFO-Liberia’s Country Director, Mr. Leonardo Volpetti, said if the deaf and hard of hearing persons in Liberia are well prepared, they can represent the society even in the outside world.
He said the project has achieved even more results in Liberia witnessing the second graduation ceremony. “Voice Project continues to be working in the right direction of filling the gap for deaf people in Liberia,” at the Graduation and Trade Fair ceremonies.
“Our goal as project implementers is making sure to bring all of our students closer to a brighter future that they deserve like everyone else. The community with people of disability doesn’t deserve any absolution whatsoever,” he said.
The project is implemented in the counties of Montserrado, Bomi, and Nimba, by AIFO (coordinator) in partnership with Williette Safehouse (co-applicant) along with other local partners and associates.
The project is designed to launch a series of graduation ceremonies and Trade fairs during its lifespan to showcase the talents and skills of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in order to facilitate networking between employers, deaf and hard of hearing persons.
The Graduation and Trade Fair showcased approximately 54 exhibitors (all deaf and hard of hearing persons) from the project locations including Nimba, Bomi, and Montserrado Counties.
Other persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are doing exceptionally well in their respective fields were also invited to showcase their products.
Over 300 people attended the graduation and the trade fair across the three project counties.
As part of the plan, private-sector employers and other interest groups will be invited to do a presentation that will highlight opportunities and challenges in the business sector, especially for vulnerable groups such as deaf and hard-of-hearing persons.
Communication and Visibility: The communications and Visibility of the Trade Fair helped present information about the activity to the general public including persons that attended the event and persons that were not in attendance the event.
This aspect of the event will ensure a wide engagement of key targeted stakeholders including employers. Key messages for flyers, social media, banners, flyers, jingles and etc. will be designed to raise publicity about the event.
The branding of the event will consist of the project logo, and donor and partners’ logos on all soft and hard copy fliers, posters, call cards, brochures and banners among others. The Communications and Visibility component of the event will use the following channels to publicize the activity: