The Liberia Chapter of the African Youths with Disabilities Network (AYWDN) recently began a five-day National Leadership Training workshop for the disabled in Gbarnga City, Bong County. The workshop which brought together representatives of disabled communities from across the country is intended to build the capacity of participants who will in turn serve as heads of their local branches.
In his opening statement, AYWDN National Coordinator, B. William M. Yarsiah, described the day as a special one in the lives of youths living with disabilities. He said as AYWDN strives to create a barrier-free society for the disabled community, members of the community must never allow themselves to be seen as beggars, but rather be considered as competitors who deserve to be treated with dignity.
Yarsiah thanked the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for providing funding for the workshop and its support to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Making remarks on behalf of Superintendent Selina PoIson Mappy, Protocol Officer, Thomas B. Kertor called on participants, majority of whom are disabled, to see themselves as winners who have capacity like people who are not physicallychallenged.
For his part, AYWDN Program Officer, Abraham V. Kanneh, vowed to change what he called “The course of action regarding persons living with disabilities” through constructive engagement with all stakeholders.
The establishment of AYWDN in 2012 is a result of a training section conducted by OSIWA in Nairobi, Kenya.The workshop under the theme: “Capacity building: a key to independent living for youths with disabilities”, is being held at the Catholic Pastoral Retreat Center in Gbarnga.