Sierra Leone: President Koroma Gives Hope to the Physically Challenged

His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has on Thursday 31st January 2013 reiterated his commitment to promote the cause of the physically challenged in Sierra Leone. He made this pledge on the occasion of the courtesy visit to State House by representatives of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.

"We have delivered on our promises made during the electioneering period and even gone to the extent of appointing a disabled person as one of our deputy ministers, which gives other members of your community hope for the future", said President Koroma, while adding that, "you now have the hope and feeling that indeed you can meaningfully contribute to national development."

President Koroma further motivated members of the disabled community saying that, "you will have my solid support to help you succeed in the execution of your responsibilities." He encouraged them that being disabled do not relegate disabled persons to the point that they can't contribute to national development, reiterating that his government will work together with disabled persons.

Presenting the delegation to President Koroma, the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, Mr. Moijueh Kaikai said representatives were drawn from among the disabled community in the four regions in the country, and converged at State House to thank and express their profound appreciation to President Koroma for the appointment of one of their members to serve in government, the enactment of the Disability Act of 2011, and the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.

Mr. Moijueh Kaikai reflected on one of President Koroma's pledges during the political campaigns in 2007 and in 2012, saying that "disability is not an inability and that every citizen's efforts must be recognized by the government".

He lauded the relentless efforts of the Head of State for addressing disability issues.

Minister Kaikai said that even before President Koroma took up office, disabled persons have been crying for strong representation in governance so that they can be seen playing active role in decision making.

Chairman of the National Commission for Persons with Disability, Mr. Fredrick Kamara profusely thanked President Koroma for the outstanding work that he has done in promoting people with disabilities and the physically challenged.

"We have seen remarkable and very great development under your leadership, especially the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and the appointment of a disabled person to your government as deputy minister", he said.

This, Mr. Kamara said, gives hope to persons with disabilities hoping that with the committed leadership of President Koroma, disabled issues will continue to be at the forefront; "because we have seen that you have the political will and passion for persons with disabilities and the physically challenged will no longer be liabilities but assets of the state". He called for government's continuous support to the commission.

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