President George Manneh Weah says he will invest in facilities for those with special needs so that they too can become productive citizens here.
Speaking Thursday, 21 March at the climax of a Special Olympics hosted in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, President Weah stressed that society and the world at large must embrace and cater to those who are intellectually disabled.
“As President of the Republic of Liberia, I renew my pledge here today that we will invest in facilities for those with special needs so that they too can become productive citizens,” he says.
President Weah applauds the spectacular display of sportsmanship, skills and intelligence by great athletes during the Special Olympics, urging that their performances must serve as a wake-up call to the world that “we must do more in a sustainable manner for the intellectually disabled.”
He voices his highest respect and admiration for each and every one of the participants in the games, and their counterparts all over the world, who, in spite of the special challenges imposed by their disabilities, find the strength of mind to overcome them and take part in the sports of their choice.
According to President Weah, the games are a testament to the participants’ resilience, commitment, courage and their strength of will.
He urges the need to ensure that they are brought into the mainstream of society and a platform be provided for their enhancement.
President Weah says he is very proud that during the Special Olympics, his country, Liberia, won 3 gold medals and 1 bronze medal.
“These gold medals are the first top international sports laurels that Liberia has won since 1995, when I won the BallonD’or as the World’s Best Football Player,” he notes.
“I believe that this accomplishment will serve as an inspiration to their fellow Liberians, and encourage them to continue to strive for excellence in all that they try to accomplish,” President Weah continues.
He calls on other leaders of the world to also commit to provide adequate facilities, support, and opportunities to enable young people to take their rightful place as productive members of society.
“I know the power and potential that sports have for transforming lives. As a person from a humble and marginalized background, it was sports that gave me the opportunities to overcome many obstacles and rise to become a better and more productive person,” President Weah recalls.
He says he can personally attest to the fact that sports can build character, and can teach many lessons in teamwork, leadership, fairness, and social cohesion. –Dispatch