Former Disabled and Elderly Affairs Malawian Minister, Rachel Kachaje, has called for a stronger relationship between the disabled community in Liberia and the government to adequately address basic and structural challenges facing persons living with disabilities,
“People with challenges in Liberia need someone to encourage them, so that they can stand on their own and fight for their rights, because disability issues are about human rights and not aid. The government and citizens must treat them right and shun discrimination,” she said.
As a panelist during the symposium recently organized by the National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD) in Monrovia, Kachaje said the government is the main stakeholder of the disabled community and, as such, it should be involved in the development of policies and programs, and projects intended to give hope to persons with various forms of impairment.
She was speaking on the topic: “Best Practices in the Application of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at Home and Abroad.”
The United Nation Convention on the right of persons living with disabilities, which came into effect in May 2008, is a treaty meant to promote and protect the human rights and dignity of the disabled, as well as ensure equality for them, under the law.
This convention has served as the major catalyst in the global movement for viewing people with disability as objects of charity, medical treatment and social protection, rather 00regarding them as full and equal members of the society.
The panel discussion staged by NUOD was to help inform the group’s national project intended to promote a human rights-based approach to disability in Liberia.
Disabled are faced with challenges because of the negative mindset many have, blaming the government all the time for not caring for them. Of course the government has no idea how to deal with their problems unless there are constant engagements and dialogues, added Kachaje.
Telling her own story to the keen audience at a local hotel, ex-minister Kachaje said: “I became disabled at three from Polio, and since then, I have faced lots of difficulties in the community and workplaces. But I was always encouraged by my parents to take education seriously – and so I did. And this is why I have always called on parents to motivate their kids.”