Future We Want

10 December 2016


Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the future we want with the driving force of leaving no one behind is very critical to OneFamilyPeople strategic plan 2016-2020. As such, we jointly organized the Internal Day of Persons with Disabilities with the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December 2016. This day was a great success, because the voices of persons with disabilities were not only listened to but also heard.

Government representatives agreed that much has not been done to ensure their full  participation due to lack of political will. Though the development goals give the opportunity to make amendments. Every participant showed a strong commitment and will to regard persons with disabilities as equal contributors.

The day started with a march in Freetown. Together with representatives from various institutions such as the National Commission for persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs, Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues, many DPOs and NGOs we marched from the symbolic Cotton Tree of the city center to Yui Building exhibited their talents with songs and dance. All to draw attention on disability issues. We converged at Miatta Conference Hall, where we held a panel discussion and saw a musical performance by the Great Walpoleans.

Equal contributors

 During the panel discussion, the Chairman of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and many stakeholders from a diverse array of backgrounds made statements of commitment to pay a special attention to accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities, exploring strategies on how to best implement the SDGs in line with the Disability Act 2011 and establish the foundation for a future of greater inclusion which guarantee sustainable development.

All the speakers pointed out the connection between the SDGs and the Disability Act 2011. All what we need to do is to implement. The provisions in the SDGs  are in line with the Disability Act 2011 which spell out the need for persons with disabilities to be accorded all opportunities that will make them equal citizen: employment, education, health care, housing, transportation and all usage as spelt out in the Act. There should be strong political will and commitment and dedication from all line ministries, department and organizations. There’s need for change of attitudes and approaches toward PwDs, to empower them so that as equals they can take part in the socio-economic development for their own betterment and of the society. They should not be regarded as a mere object but as equal contributors.

 Coat of many colors

To climax the event, the Great Walpoleans staged a mind-blowing musical performance and officially launched their campaign song titled ‘Leave No One Behind’ drawing attention to disability inclusive development. The lead singer Nacel, a visually impaired girl, captivated the audience with her earth quaking voice when singing “Coat of Many Colors”. Brima Sheriff, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, commented: “ I’m not sure what just happened, that was totally exploding”.  He used the performance to close his remarks, saying “ The SDGs are like a coat that has many colors, that's the diversity. And the colors beautify the coat and that's the difference, when you put on the coat, you are carrying all the colors along, so leave no one behind including persons with disabilities. They may be just one of the colors on the coat but they are part of the coat that give the beauty to the coat. The Great Walpoleans advocate through their music for inclusive development”.

Interested in building a more inclusive and equitable world - where every person with a disability - from children to adults, men and women - enjoy equal rights, have access to the supports, services and opportunities they need to succeed? Join us!  We love to hear from you!  Please get in touch or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN.

"Let us work together for the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in an inclusive and sustainable world that embraces humanity in all its diversity.” (Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon)

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