It was a great joy for people living with disabilities as several members gathered at the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) at the weekend for the official launch of the Disability Empowerment Project (DEP), a project which seeks to bring relief to them by taking them off the streets of begging.
The launch of the project is triggered by calls made to the Government of Liberia (GoL) for support to the disabled community. The US$250,000.00 GoL-sponsored project seeks to help members of the group who have medical issues, provide education for those who need it and as well as funding for others who are interested in making business.
Speaking at the launch of the project, the Executive Director of NCD, Madam Daintowon Domah Pay-Bayee, described the initiative as redemption for people living with disabilities.
The NCD boss lauded members’ organizations for the cordial bond of relationship that led to the actualization of the project.
“This is joyful in the lives of people with disabilities. As we leave from here, we will take off immediately with key urgent needs. Our passion is to take our members from the streets. In this light we want to thank the President for this great support and the Ministry of Finance for making this fund available in time,” said Madam Pay-Bayee.
“We will approach it from both ends; at organizational and individual levels. Education is one of the areas for this program and we are going to consider that so keenly,” she added as she announced the launch of the project.
Madam Rose Teah, head of Women with Disabilities, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Liberian Government and the leadership of the Pay-Bayee for its farsightedness.
“Thank you for taking us from the streets through this plan and we believe we will leave the streets,” Rose indicated.
Mr. Sekou Nyen, who spoke on behalf of people with disabilities in rural Liberia, similarly expressed delight for the launch of the project.
“We are very happy for a purpose we have never seen before. Thank you for listening to us. There are lots of constraints but this support will change the narrative. Please support this woman who has the passion and vision for her people. God will always be on your side for this gesture,” Nyen commended the NCD leadership.
Also making remarks, Mr. Melvin Harding, head of the Organization of People with Disabilities pointed out that the project will make a great difference in the lives of members.
“We are ready to do things that people think we cannot do. We will prove to the world that disability is not inability by doing what others can do,” Harding told the gathering.
Alex Bedell, Country Director of Sight Savers, thanked the Liberian Government for the project and vowed his organization’s commitment to buttressing the government’s agenda with additional support to the project.
“We are very pleased to witness the launch of this program that is geared to empower disabled instead of giving them handouts. It is a very good start, even though there are lots to be done. We are very pleased as NGO when we see the government taking this kind of responsibility,” Bedell asserted.
“The money is a challenge to you. I think it is a small way in addressing some of your concerns, but it’s something meaningful. We will do all we can to join hands with the government to support this empowerment,” he furthered as he called on members of the Commission to with the leadership for the successful implementation of the project.
Mr. Charles Lawrence on behalf of the Swedish Embassy in Liberia congratulated the Liberian Government for coming to the aid of the underprivileged population.
In support of the government and the NCD’s vision, Lawrence disclosed that the Government of Sweden through its Mission here is in conversation to see how best it can help to support the effort.
The project was then widely praised as one of the biggest supports from the government by Madam Becky Ross of the British Embassy and Rev. Grace Martin Yarnway, Human Resource Director of the Ministry of Labor.