The Central of Liberia (CBL) in recent time has given loans to market women in various counties and the Liberia Business Association (LIBA) for capacity building and self-empowerment in an effort to reduce poverty among Liberia’s growing population, but some members of the disabled community want the CBL to ensure that they too benefit from the scheme.
A young disabled petty trader claiming to be the spokesman for a group calling itself “Conscious Disabled Petty Traders” in Monrovia, Vandy Dolleh, has called on the CBL and the government to stretch hands to people living with disabilities especially the determined and productive ones.
Dolleh who sells provisions in wheelbarrow at the corner of Lynch and Carey Streets, noted that if sidewalk disabled sellers benefit from the half of million Liberian dollars loan offered by the CBL as part of its microfinance assistance to small entrepreneurs, their businesses and living conditions would improve.
Speaking to the In Profile Daily Wednesday this week at his selling spot in Central Monrovia, Dolleh noted: “Selling on the sidewalk is embarrassing and dangerous for us. We need assistance from government to build our capacity and move forward”.
Dolleh also claimed that passersby sometime take advantage of his condition and criminally take away his goods without paying a cent while others take items unknown to him noting, “because of this, I experience losses most often and I know my colleagues go through similar problem”.
Dolleh, 26, who hails from Lofa County, underscored the need for national government to be sensitive to the plights of disabled Liberians whom he claimed have been abandoned by their families and need to be rescued if they are to be productive and useful in society.
“We are also Liberians, let our government include us in its capacity building and empower us so that we can stop being liabilities to society. We too need loans, scholarships and so forth,” he said.
At the same time, Liberians have expressed dismay over the poor conditions in which disabled people live in the country.
In separate interviews, scores of Liberians stressed that government is under obligation to carter for the disabled as such, it must begin to initiate programs to empower them to ensure their future.
“It is disheartening and troubling to see our disabled brothers and sisters roaming the streets day and night begging for handouts before they can afford daily bread and other things. These people could make life without engaging in street begging if they are provided skills and other assistance like their colleagues in other African countries,” one Liberian indicated.