The Minister of Social Welfare Baindu Dasama Kamara and Director of Social Welfare Francis Kabia have on Saturday 26th September 2020 held stakeholders meeting with the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPD) and heads of Disabled Person Organizations (DPO) at the Commission’s Regional offices in Bo and Kenema. The visit was to also give the minister a first hand information on some of the Commission’s challenges at regional level.
Welcoming the minister in the Southern Region, NCPD Executive Secretary Saa Kortequee said it’s a dawn of a day in the Commission, owning to the fact that this is the first time a seating cabinet minister in the Ministry of Social Welfare visited the Commission’s regional offices on a needs assessment tour and to dialogue with persons with disabilities (PWD).
He said the Commission continued to benefit from the Minister’s open door policy and that had created a cordial relationship ” the Minister’s supervisory role is exemplary and we are grateful to have her at the Ministry” he added.
He said the move by the minister exhibits her exuberance in ensuring that the Commission achieved its core mandate.
NCPD Chairman Chairman Tiawo Cullen thanked the minister for leaving her busy schedule to assess the state of affair of the Commission’s Regional offices in the southern and Eastern regions.
He pleaded with the minister to use her office to lobby for the government through the Ministry of Finance to give no objection for the Commission to recruit essential staff in the Regions “the offices only host our Regional Cordinators which makes work difficult” he stated.
He said the minister was carefully and deliberately chosen by president Julius Maada Bio to work in the interest of PWDs, highlighting that the Commission is blessed to have her in the Ministry.
In her statement the Minister said the visit was to ensure that her ministry gets real time knowledge on the activities, plans and challenges in the Commission’s Southern and Eastern Regional offices.
The Social Welfare Zar said she is aware of the numerous challenges faced by Persons with disabilities in the district and the limited human resources in the Commission’s offices.
She said her dream is to construct a village with hospital, and school exclusively for persons with disabilities in every regions adding that president Bio is committed to promote disability issues.
She promised to knock on doors to ensure that the Commission is fully capacitated with the neccessary resources.
The minister pleaded with Persons with disabilities to add values to themselves and desist from street begging and that her Ministry is working with statistics Sierra Leone to ensure that a comprehensive data on persons with disabilities is collected to help the government of Sierra Leone to plan for them.
Whilst in Kenema Madam Dasama-Kamara said the challenges in the regions are analogous and that under her leadership the Commission’s profile will be lifted.
She said disability issue is a priority in the new direction as that is translated in government’s medium term development plan championed by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.
She however cautioned that it’s not going to be by a wave of wind as government is also constrained with limited resources “with the current global pandemic hovering around, government resources are scarce but I will do my utmost best to change the face of NCPD” she averred.
The minister revealed that this year’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities IDPD commemoration will take a different approach that will benefit the lives of the disabled directly Instead of using millions of Leones in observance of the day which does not contribute significantly in changing the situation of PWDs in the country; “human capital development is a key part of the president’s plan and I urge the Commission to design program in that direction for this year’s IDPD” she accentuated.
Representatives from the Sierra Leone Union on Disability issue SLUDI commended the minister for her excellent job in the Ministry and pleaded with her to help NCPD gets the desired attention it ought to get from the government.
Stakeholders present in the meeting promised to work with the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Commission on disabilities related matters.