By: Modou Touray
The National Chairperson of the Association of the Physically Challenged, Mr Edward Preirra, has said lack of employment and financial support forced most of the physically challenged persons to street begging.
In an exclusive interview with The Fatu Network, Mr Preirra said financial support and embracing physically challenged people are crucial in order for them to live a dignified life, saying disability is ordained by God and that disabled people’s rights must be protected.
“Most of the people who beg around the market area and the town is as a result of the inability to get a source of earning for their livelihood. The physically challenged mostly don’t secure permanent employment. People who are formally registered with my association are not part of the beggars.”
According to Mr Preirra, the Association of the Physically Challenged offers skills training to their registered members and periodically gives loans to support their businesses.
Employment most generally means the state of having a paid job—of being employed. To employ someone is to pay them to work. An employer employs an employee or employees. Employment can also refer to the act of employing people, In the case of physically challenged persons, their employment chances are minimal.
“We believe that each human being deserves a dignified life and can contribute meaningfully to development. Their inability to do regular duties does not mean that they are worthless. It’s important to uplift their socio-economic status in a view to making them independent.”
He called for all physically challenged persons to join their association which to a larger extent will provide a way for them to sustain themselves.
“As an association, we don’t promote street begging, although we cannot totally eradicate it, but we can minimize it. we can train them in soap making, tailoring and or skills to support their families. It will be difficult to stop it. What we can do is to find alternative means of earning for our members.”
The Association of the Physically Challenged is a body under the Association of the Disabled which is an umbrella body of all forms of disabilities.
With the enactment of the disability bill 2021, Mr Preirra is optimistic that issues of persons with disability will be handled.
Physically challenged can be natural or inflicted through circumstances on persons which render their physical strength incapable of performing regular activities or work.
“Some of them are into small business such as shoe selling, and others are even in school to further their education. If they are educated well, they will be able to get better employment.”
The Association of Physically Challenged persons believes that in order for them to fight for their rights, it’s tactical for them to form a unified body to brainstorm on issues affecting them and the way forward.
Physically Challenged means any individual with a physical disability. The plight of the physically challenged persons and all other forms of disabilities still remains a challenge forcing a number of them to street begging.