Low Interest in Addressing Issues of People Living with Disabilities in Liberia

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Monrovia – The Country Officer of the Open Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Madam Massa Crayton, has frowned over the low interest shown in addressing issues of people living with disabilities in Liberia.

Madam Crayton asserted that despite the complex problems confronting the disable community, the Liberian society is yet to invoke drastic measures to address concerns of discrimination and marginalization in the disable community.

She spoke over the weekend at the official launch of the Partnership Against Inequalities and Discrimination (PAID Project) in Monrovia where she demanded concerted efforts in arresting some of these critical challenges facing people living with disabilities.

According her, the PAID project, which is funded by OSIWA, will provide the opportunity for children with disabilities to explain their stories and depict their challenges through act to affect national decision making.

Also speaking, the implementers of the PAID project, Beyan Pewee of Youth Coalition for Education, and the Founder of Children Resource Center, Victor Howard, welcomed the initiative noting that it will help to invoke robust actions towards the disable community in Liberia.

Pewee and Howard in separate remarks asserted that the PAID project is a bold initiative which intends to accelerate the national debate for inclusiveness in education and social life.

They at the same time pledged their commitments to the full implementation of the project in order to help resolve some of the challenges faced by the disable community.

Meanwhile, PAID project is specifically designed to raise awareness of inequalities and discrimination faced by children living with disabilities and advocate for policies that protect the rights of children living with disabilities (including blindness and low vision, autism, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities). The project will create opportunities for children to tell stories of inequalities and discrimination (in safe spaces and with dignity). The activities will focus on three topical issues – sexual exploitation and abuse; children selling in the streets; and child labor – through artistic medium, especially drawings, that depict the kinds of discrimination experienced and observed in their communities.

The project will also work with local communities and with women who are the direct victims of inequalities, discrimination and marginalization, so as to document what they see around them and what they experience on a daily basis in communities across Liberia.

PAID will mobilize and train 300 selected children with artistic abilities including children selling in the streets, children in child labor and children with disabilities within selected communities in three targeted counties on the specific tropical issues identified (SEA, child Labor and street selling), before going into the competition that is intended to highlight the different discriminations children undergo at the different community levels.

The overall project objective is to inform national policymakers about inequalities and discriminations in the Liberian society and advance national advocacy for policies that protect the rights of people with special needs to be enacted.

At the middle of the project, a final competition will be held amongst 50 best performing children from three counties among which three winners will be selected for awards and scholarship to improve their artistic skills at PAID School of Arts for one year.

The Artistic component will be concluded with the production of a book and visual kit that carries the expression of all the participating children. As well as being shared with all participating children and communities, these will be used in advocacy with national policy makers. 

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