By: G Bennie Bravo Johnson
As part of the celebration of the International Day of Person living with disabilities, the National Commission on Disability with support from UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, Sightsavers, USAID-Liberia, AIFO and the government of Liberia on Saturday, December 3, 2022, in Gompa City, Nimba County launched a five year national action plan 2023-2027 targeting person living with disabilities that aligned with the five years of national strategic disability roadmap of 2021-2026.
The launch of the National Action Plan which marks the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was held under the global theme “Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development; the role of Innovations in fueling an accessible and equitable World” with its national theme “Liberia! Not all disabilities are visible; Transformative Solutions with Innovations for Accessible and Equitable Development.”
Delivering the keynote address, Sylvester Mombo stated that not all disabilities are visible. Asserting that disabilities cut beyond physical impalement to a wide range of health inability that one faced.
He counted that disability could be urinary disorder, diabetes, immoral acts amongst other are invisible disabilities that cannot be seen.
He urged physical challenged disable to be grateful of their lives and not to seek pity on their conditions.
Mombo pleaded with disabled persons to sort out strategies to contribute positively to nation development. “When you are physically disabled it doesn’t mean that you can’t contribute to national development. you can contribute by providing ideas or education to build society.”
Mr. Mombo called on parents of physically challenged children’s not to be discriminatory in the up bringing their children but rather empower every child irreconcilable of their physical condition to enable them attain a better future and not to serve as burden and embarrassment to the society.
Speaking further he asserted that one is disable when he or she cannot provide for his family. one is disable when he or she harassed peaceful citizen for the property, an act he noted that threatened the peace and security of the state. Therefore, urging every parent to take serious the children education irrespective of the physical structure of the children.
At the same time, he further urged every disabled person to proud of themselves and be grateful as person with disabilities and use what they have it contribute meaningfully to national development. Further urging every disabled person to be law abiding and patriotic not to use their condition to be disrespectful of the laws.
He concluded by lauding the efforts of national government and international partners for their continuous supports that seek to have disable person involved in political, social, and economic development.
Meanwhile, presenting the 2023-2027 national action plan which aligned with the National Strategic Disability Roadmap of 2021-2026, the technical assistant to the deputy director technical services at NCD, Muhammad Sackor stated that the launch of the new five years national action plan 2023-2027 serves as an innovative approach to meet the needs of people living with disabilities in Liberia, while working to enact long lasting changes at policy level.
He intimated that it is an achievement in commemoration of ten anniversary of Liberia signing the UN convention on the rights of persons living with disabilities.
Director Sackor said that the new NAP identified ongoing system gap and provide remedy for those problems the system is confronted with by outlining a five year progressive plan for the inclusion of persons living with disabilities to work and have employment in Liberia.
Therefore, he lauded the government for the protection of the rights of persons living with disabilities through the signing of international laws and the enactment of legislative policies that protect the fundamental rights of persons living with disabilities.
He continued that the new NAP also aligned with the government Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development 2018-24 and the UN sustainable development cooperation framework 2020-2024 as it seeks to effect changes and grassroot and policies levels.
He further stated that the new national action plan 2023-2027 serves to provide a better livelihood, economic empowerment, education, access to justice and social protection, agriculture and food security, inclusive governance, health and welfare, personal mobility, independent and accessible technology for all persons with disabilities.
For his part, Ambassador of Sweden to Liberia, called on the disabled community to be united and determined in achieving their dreams and aspirations as unity and determination remain the major tool for achievement.
He pledged the support of the government of Sweden to ensure that the rights and aspirations of the disabled community are attained through it Embassy to ensure that people with disabilities become positive change makers.
“We are to be a long-term partner in working with people with disabilities achieve education, economics, political and social inclusion because we believed that people with disabilities are change makers.”
The director general of the national commission on disability, Amb. Daintowon Domah Pay-Bayee who was honored by the disabled community of Nimba county for the leadership role she plays at the NCD in creating an enabling environment for all persons living with disabilities, lauded the government and the international development partners for their continuous contribution to annihilate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all aspects of society.
Chanting slogan “Disability is not Inability”, the director general charged every person living with disabilities to stop seeking pity for their condition but rather empower themselves to find livelihood that provides lasting joy.
“This disability thing is a lifetime thing, so if you say I will make myself sorry-full than you would kill yourself early because of grief. you have to create your personal joy as we all work towards an inclusive society.” Amb. Pay-Bayee cautioned.
It can be recalled, the international day for disability was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3.
The observance of the day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities at every level of society and development, and to raise awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of political, social, economic, and cultural life.
The Liberia National Commission on Disability which began the 2022 celebration with a two days sporting and dinner activities that led to the launch of the national action plan in commemoration of the international day for disability, Saturday, December 3, was established by an Act of the national Legislature in 2005, calling for the rights of persons living with disabilities to work and have employment in Liberia; with its article 27 stating that for every 100 persons employed in a public institution; 4% of said number ‘MUST’ be PwDs, an employment that should be based on merit.