An Italian Association (AIFO) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Agriculture has completed a three-week intensive agriculture training program for persons with disabilities in the country.
Representatives of 13 community based self-help groups from Margibi, Bong and Nimba counties covered under the community Based Rehabilitation Project of AIFO convened in Virginia at the BAHCAGWE National Transit Center for persons with disabilities to undergo series of Agriculture Training on Short Cycle Crop Production.
Serving as guest speaker during the closing program, Mrs. Richardia Badio-Dennis, Executive Director of the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) said the battle for economic empowerment for persons with disabilities has "just begun" especially through agriculture, which is the means of survival.
"The battle has just begun; people with disabilities are also capable of contributing to the national economy; and therefore, the effort by AIFO and the EU in providing skills training to people with disabilities in the country is commendable because they (people with Disabilities) are also capable of contributing to the national economy," the NCD Executive Director said.
Mrs. Dennis stressed that if disabled people are empowered in various skills, it would help them to develop their potentials and ably contribute to the economy, noting "People with disabilities should not always beg for survival; rather they should contribute their quotas to the national economy."
The program, which began on October 22, 2012, is reportedly the first for persons with disabilities geared towards improving their livelihood and contribute to the economic development of the country rather than begging for alms.
Also speaking during the closing program, Dr. Renato Libanora, AIFO Country Director said the training program was important because it affords people with disabilities the opportunity to contribute positively to society and become self-reliance.
"This is a great experience for AIFO, EU and the Ministry of Agriculture, because people felt that people with disabilities are unable to undertake agriculture work, which is physical, but the resilience of participants created emotional empathy and we (AIFO) have created this opportunity, and we hope that they will utilize the skills learned," Dr. Libanora said.
The training is an initiative of a 3-year community based rehabilitation project of AIFO Liberia supported by the European Union, from March 2010 to February 2013.
The training is intended to provide the self-help groups in the three counties covered by the CBR project for persons with disabilities basic skills and knowledge to promote income generation and sustainable livelihood.
According to AIFO, the training is part of the livelihood component of the EU-Funded community based rehabilitation project for persons with disabilities in Liberia
At the end of the training on Saturday, November 10, 2012, 16 persons were honored and certificated from the three counties and their trainers.