By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
The Association of Disabled Females International (ADFI) in collaboration with War-Survivors has ended a day’s workshop aimed at educating the disabled community on the pending October 2014 special election. The first of the series of the workshop was facilitated by the National Elections Commission (NEC) at ADFI headquarters in Slipway, central Monrovia on Friday, March 14, 2014.
Speaking to the INQUIRER at the close of the exercise, ADFI National Program Officer, F. Glabor Dennis, said the essence of the workshop was to educate members of the disabled community about procedures toward exercising their rights at the polling center.
Mr. Dennis disclosed that over 61 disabled participants from New Kru and Clara Towns and other parts of Monrovia attended the educative program to sharpen their knowledge as to how they would proceed to the ballot box.
“We want the disabled community to be informed and know how to participate in the coming election scheduled for October. It is also meant to reawaken them to get involved in the process and know how to do the right thing,” Mr. Dennis asserted.
For her part, the Executive Director of ADFI, Mrs. Meima Hoff, reiterated that people with disabilities need a disabled friendly environment to go about exercising their constitutional rights.
Mrs. Hoff noticed that during the 2005 and 2011 General Elections, most of the polling centers were not friendly enough to allow people with disabilities to cast their votes.
This time around, she continued that ADFI has decided to begin putting in some corrective measures that would enable them participate in electoral process freely.
“There are more disabled females than disabled males in the country. It is time for us to know our rights as to how to vote especially this special election in October 2014,” Mrs. said.
The ADFL boss used the occasion to call on the 53rd National Legislature to ensure the passage of a bill seeking to establish the National War Victims Trust Fund.
According to Mrs. Hoff, when the bill is passed, it would compel government to give reparation to all key war-victims in the country, something she said is also done internationally.
“Since 2005, we have had stable government, so there is a need that war-victims get reparation; so we are appealing to our lawmakers to visit the bill which has been in committee room since last year,” Mrs. Hoff said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Hoff has called President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to reinforce her statement made several months ago that government agencies should employ people with disabilities.