By Foday Moriba Conteh
The Programs Manager of One Family People, Samuel P.O.V Macauley, delivered a compelling statement at the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023. The event, held under the theme: “Employment and Economic Justice for the Fulfillment of the Big Five Game Changers for Persons with Disabilities,” took place at the Miatta Conference Car Park, Youyi Building in Freetown.
Addressing Honorable Ministers, Members of the Diplomatic Corp, the Community of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and distinguished guests, Macauley emphasized the pressing need for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of national development. The event brought together national non-governmental organizations and partners of the Ministry of Social Welfare to collectively address this societal imperative.
Macauley highlighted the power of an intersectional approach, acknowledging the diverse identities and experiences of individuals with disabilities. The goal, he stressed, is to address the multifaceted and interconnected challenges faced by this community comprehensively.
He noted that the theme: “Bring Along Persons with Disabilities in the Implementation of the Big Five Game Changers,” resonates with the challenges faced by children and youngsters with disabilities in Sierra Leone adding that the call is to place them at the forefront of national development, ensuring an inclusive and accessible society.
On behalf of One Family People, he urged the President, Ministries, Departments and Agencies to actively contribute to the inclusion of persons with disabilities, recognizing the Ministry of Social Welfare as a valuable partner saying the call is for broader engagement across all sectors of society.
He emphasized on the fundamental right to education for every child, irrespective of their abilities of which he urged the Ministry of Education to develop and implement inclusive policies and practices, ensuring equitable access to quality education.
Macauley also called on the Ministry of Health to prioritize inclusive healthcare and rehabilitation services, providing accessible medical facilities, adequate treatment and necessary assistive devices.
He stressed the pivotal role of employment in the economic empowerment of individuals with disabilities calling on the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to actively promote inclusive employment practices adding how the Ministry of Information should ensure that all information is presented in accessible formats.
The Programs Manager concluded by making a final call to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to prioritize universal accessibility in their infrastructure and services which includes public buildings, transportation systems and communication platforms designed with inclusivity in mind.
Macauley concluded by highlighting the significance of meaningful inclusion for true development and progress. He urged the President to unite Ministries, Departments, Agencies, and persons with disabilities to work towards an inclusive society, emphasizing the realization of the rights and potential of every Sierra Leonean.
The event also featured the Great Walpoleans Music and Drama Band, recognized by the United Nations as the official musical group for the “LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND” campaign.
One Family People and Liliane Foundation reiterated their commitment to supporting the Government’s efforts to “LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND” in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for persons with disabilities.