The Point (Banjul)

7 December 2012

Gambia: British High Commission Commemorates World Disability Day With UK Charity 'Disability Africa'

British High Commissioner to The Gambia David Morley this week visited Gunjur to support the work of UK charity 'Disability Africa' who are working alongside TARUD in Gunjur to support local disabled children and their families.

The High Commissioner's visit coincided with 'World Disability Day' held on Monday 3rd December.

Speaking at an event held at TARUD Pre-School in Gunjur, the High Commissioner mentioned how 'Disability Africa' working with TARUD are trying to improve the outcomes for young disabled people across The Gambia.

The 'Gunjur Inclusion Project' provides free activities for disabled children with benefits for both the disabled people and the wider community.

Volunteers from the UK are visiting Gunjur for one week from 30 November to 7 December to help the Gunjur community learn more about inclusion. Part of the UK delegation included four disabled children from the UK who are here to raise awareness about the issues faced by disabled people all over the world whether in the UK or in The Gambia.

For his part, Ric Law, the Director of Disability Africa, said that society must change its perception of disabled people to improve the outcomes for disabled people and their inclusion into society.

He told this reporter that disabled people are disabled twice by their physical impairment, and the ignorance and stigma the society has always attached to disabled people.

Disabled people have the right to be included in the society, he said but the society benefits from the process of their inclusion in very real ways.

"I brought four disabled people with me from the UK from the Stepping Stones School who had started a campaign called 'Smile at me not my disability'.

"When they did that I was struck by how powerful it was in changing the way people think about disability," he explained.

They came here to talk to the people of Gunjur on World Disability Day about disability, which I hope will change the way people think about them.

The day was a great success; the biggest reward being seeing mothers of so many disabled children feeling proud of their children.

The Gunjur Inclusion Project, he maintained, seeks to improve the wellbeing of disabled people by making somewhere for them and making them inclusive.

"We have come up with a play scheme for disabled children in Gunjur, which brings together 14-18 young people who come to learn about and be friends with disabled people," he said.

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