The Jaden A. Dennis Memorial Foundation in collaboration with the French Embassy near Monrovia has begun rendering assistance to people living with disabilities and less privileged children in Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
The founder and head of the Jaden A. Dennis Memorial Foundation, Madam Nania M. Dennis, said the institution, which is non-for-profit, was founded in memorial of her late son, Jaden A. Dennis, who died in a car accident at 8 years.
She said the organization was established in America on November 17, 2013 and has been extended to Liberia which branch already established in Montserrado County to be followed by Kakata, Margibi County shortly.
Following a meeting with the physically challenged and under-privileged children at the Kakata Administrative Building recently, Madam Dennis said in December, 2013, the organization fed 20 families, who were hospitalized at the Isaac A. David Hospital during the Christmas season.
She added that the charity also distributed food and non-food items, including clothes among people living with disabilities and under-privileged children as well as hosted a dinner for them at the Barnesville Town Hall on May 24, 2014.
According to her, she has embarked on the exercise after noticing that most rural parts of Liberia are neglected, adding that lot of aids don’t reach the villages.
Madam Dennis said having grown up herself in rural Liberia (Firestone), she has never seen facilities like safe drinking water, latrines and public buildings accessible to the handicapped so she has returned home with the aim of targeting rural Liberia.
“I believe that leaders within the government and the disable community are not reaching the most remote and neglected areas in the Country”, she averred.
She expressed the need to hold a monthly, quarterly or bi-weekly forum with the disable community to allow the physically challenged state their needs and wants. She said it is important that public latrines and other facilities, including clean water and good roads are accessible to people living with disabilities.
Madam Dennis added that it is also undignified for public schools here to lack latrines or if those facilities are available on school campuses, they are not handicap accessible to people with disabilities.
The Project Manager at the French Embassy, Madam Orianne Berraud, said the embassy funded an organization to protect and advocate for the participation of women and people with disabilities in decision making in society.
She said the French Embassy is funding an 18-month project which started in July 2013 and will run up to January, 2015, adding that the embassy has seven projects with seven NGOs in the country.
When asked to state her view on problems confronting people living with disabilities, Madam Berraud said she has observed over the years that education remains a big problem, adding that she has traveled around Liberia and observed that many children and people living with disabilities are not in school.