By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia: The National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) in collaborating with the National Union of Organization of the Disabled (NUOD) joined nations around the globe in celebration of World White Cane’s Safety Day in Monrovia.
The program brought together several visually impaired, deaf, and physically- challenged persons to celebrate the day, underscoring its importance.
World White Cane Safety Day was established in the United States of America on October 15, 1954, through a U.S. Congress resolution to be observed by visually- impaired and physically challenged people.
At the program which was held in the Monrovia City Hall in Monrovia, several members of the visually impaired and physically challenged and institutions that provide free services to them were certificated for their support and love toward the marginalized groups.
World White Cane’s Safety Day aims to recognize people with disabilities and visual impairment to help them move from dependency to active participants in society.
The Executive Director of the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) Amb. Daintowon Domah Paye-Baye said they are excited to gather in Monrovia in observance of the World White Cane’s Safety Day.
According to her, the day is used to raise awareness on the safety and potential of persons with disabilities, adding that being visually impaired and physically- challenged is not the end of life.
“Visually-impaired, physically-challenged, and other groups in our society continue to be greatly marginalized. How many physically challenged persons do you see in our security forces and other public places of work? They don’t have to go on war front or even being seen amongst other action activities but they can serve in administrative positions where they can provide strategic planning for implementation success”, Amb. Paye-Bayee added.
She stressed the need for employment and accessibility for physically challenged and visually-impaired persons in the Society, adding that the livelihood improvement and technical vocational skills of persons with disabilities are pivotal to national inclusiveness.
“We want to use this time to thank the Liberian National Police and the Government of Liberia for the support given to us to hold this program. However, this support is not enough because we need our people in strategic positions where they can be able to feel being part of the society and decision-making process of the country”, Amb. Daintowon Domah Paye-Baye urged.
For her part, the Vice Principal for the Monrovia Christian Association of the Blind, Mrs. Eve D. K. Nifor, delivering the keynote address, called on the government through the Legislature to pass the current amended National Commission on Disabilities Act, adding that by doing such it will address the challenges that visually-impaired and other marginalized groups are experiencing.
Mrs. Nifor said challenges affecting them as persons with disabilities are numerous but they can be tracked through a national summit that will have them come together with other stakeholders to brainstorm on how their lives can be transformed.
In response, a group of visually impaired, physically challenged and other marginalized groups present at the celebration thanked Madam Paye-Baye and her collaborators for the program, adding that they have once again gathered to show love for one another.
“We are happy being here today. With the support of the government, it shows that they are gradually beginning to care and love us. We are here today to share fun and to also narrate the negative experience that we are going through. We are excited to form part and hope we continue to have such an elaborate program to interact with among ourselves”, they noted. Editing by Jonathan Browne