Foundation for Advocacy and Literacy Development (FFALD), a non-governmental organization that works on issues of disability and Human Rights advocacy, Education and empowerment of persons living with disability, especially women and Children, with support from Mobility International, United States of America (USA), on Thursday 10th Novembers 2022, at the Scripture Union Hall, Pademba Road in Freetown, engaged disabled women on Inclusive Education, Gender Based Violence Education, Self Defence and female Health.
Speaking to participants, Madam Kadiatu Mariama Bangura, Women’s Advocacy Leader (FFALD) and also a disabled (Deaf), who spear headed the program, said the workshop was borne out of a WILD conference she attended in the US, and wanted to share the experience gained from it by organizing a one day WILD in-country training for twenty women and girls with disabilities, including relevant stakeholders on GBV issues in Sierra Leone.
Kadiatu referred to GBV, as harmful acts directed at an individual, based on gender, which is rooted in general inequality, abuse of power and harmful norms.
Madam Bangura, through her interpreter, stated that Inclusive education is when all students, regardless of their challenges, are placed in age –appropriate general education classes that are in their own neighborhood schools to receive high quality instruction, intervention and support that enables them to be successful in the Curriculum.
She spoke on the Twin–Track approach, whose objective is to deliver equality of rights and opportunities for women, men, boys and girls from all risk groups, with the first track; equality rights, pursued by strengthening inclusive DRR System by removing barriers and facilitating access.
She, however, educated the participant on Self Defence (how to prevent women and girls), especially disable from SGV and Women Health, especially on prevention of yeast infection. Inspector Isata Ngomas from the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone Police, stated that they are dealing with disabled persons and are quite aware of the challenges they face, especially in the area of Gender Based Violence, adding that sometimes even the office environment of FSU is not disable-friendly, and logistic to follow up on their matters is also a big challenge, as a result most times the burden is with the FSU. She, however, stated that the government is currently developing a policy that caters for accessibility of disabled in public buildings and transportation.
In her contribution, Madam Isata Haring, a representative of TEEDWOGA, stated that they are providing psycho-social support, counseling and financial support to Gender Based Violence victims, especially disabled victims. She continued that TEEDWOGA works in the four corners of the country, even targeting boys and men to raise awareness about violence against women and discrimination against disabled people.
Kadiatu Kamara, a representative from Sierra Leone Union of Disability Issues (SLUDI), stated that SLUDI is liaison body that links disable to the Disability Commission, adding that they are disabled, so they feel all the challenges faced by disabled people, ranging from stigmatization to lack of financial support. Madam Kadiatu stated that the 2012 Disability Act passed by Parliament is a very important document, but furthered that its implementation remains a very big challenge.
Participant made meaningful contribution and recommendation was made for the creation of a Whatsapp group and other social media platforms for easy and better communication, as well as to channel complaints from disabled to the authorities.