By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
Ndey Yassin Secka – Sallah, the Chairperson of the Gambia Organisation for the Visually Impaired (GOVI), has called on the Gambia Government to effectively include persons with disabilities in the formulation and implementation of its policies and programs that are meant to address issues concerning the disable community.
“Nothing meant for us should be done without us. If you are saying that you are helping me and you don’t know what I want, then this a problem,” added the GOVI Chairperson.
Mrs. Secka, who is also a board member of Gambia Federation for the Disables (GFD), said the government must include persons with disability in the whole process if the desired maximum effect of the national policies and programmes is to be realised.
She welcomes the draft Disability Bill and Policy, describing them as setting out a road map for the solutions of the numerous challenges confronting them.
“We have seen the Women’s Act, the Children’s Act and other legislations, so I see no reason why we should not have the Disability Act. We can only be protected if these legal and administrative instruments are actually in place,” said the GOVI Chairperson.
Mrs. Secka – Sallah added that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which, she said, was ratified by the government, should be domesticated in order to enable its implementation.
The GOVI Chairperson said persons with disabilities have potentials and need opportunities in order for them to showcase their talents. She added: “We need the environment and support necessary to enable us contribute our own quota to national development.”
The chairperson of GOVI noted that teaching of visually impaired students is expensive and therefore her organisation needs support from government, the NGO community and philanthropists to help facilitate the provision of learning materials to enable effective teaching and learning in the school for the visually impaired.