A five-member delegation of the Organisation for Social Development Including Visually Impaired (OSDIVI), that attended this year's HandiFest event in Nouakchott, Mauritania, has returned.
The OSDIVI trip to the Islamic country's capital, Nouakchott was facilitated by the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and fully sponsored by Trust Bank Limited and Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation. The aim of the event was to bring together persons with disability from various parts of West Africa to share their experiences and put forward their concerns to policymakers.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference organised on Thursday by the NCAC at their office along the Independence Drive in Banjul, Sheik Omar Jallow, the director of Literature Performing and Fine Arts at NCAC, said this is the first time that people with disability from The Gambia participated in such an international festival. He said that hopefully, the HandiFest 2013 would be held here in Banjul. Jallow explained that Handicap Festival (HandiFest) is an international annual event and that its hosting is rotational.
Kebba Jarsey, OSDIVI secretary general, on behalf of his members thanked their major sponsors, Trust Bank Limited and Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation. He extended their appreciation to The Gambian Embassy in Nouakchott and NCAC, for their support that enabled them acquire skills in culture and related activities.
Jarsey said the festival was an opportunity for them to gain exposure and as well meet other people with disability from other countries. "This as well helped us to showcase our talents and to let people know that disability does not mean inability," he affirmed.
According to him, this year's festival was commemorated along with the International Day for the Disabled, in Nouakchott. He added that Gambian participation was noticed as Gambia musicians, Pa Mbowe and Kebbah Manneh - a guitarist and balafong player entertained the gathering.
Persons with disability, dignitaries and high commissioners attended the event, which was presided over by the Mauritanian Minister of Culture.