Liberia: A home catering to the needs of a vulnerable population (People living with disabilities) is the Antoinette Tubman Cheshire home (ATCH) in Monrovia. The ATCH is a charitable, non-profit organization in Liberia. It caters to individuals with cerebral palsy, especially children, and any other with physical and mental disabilities.
Established in 1985, the home is named in honor of Antoinette Louise Padmore Tubman, wife of former Liberian head of state Williams S. Tubman and has been catering to the less fortunate in the society majority of whom were abandoned by their parents due to their deformity.
The home at the time was heavily supported by the former first lady of Liberia as well as the government in the past, but that has changed with time as the home is being operated at the mercy of the public.
At the moment, the home houses 15 residents with the total of 17 staff members, but compensation to employees is unthinkable.
This lack of support by the national government had now forced the home to reject new patients due to limited resources to maintain and respond to the many challenges confronting the facility.
“From march 2022 to now we have turned down over 17 patients because we are incapacitated to cater for them. We are not getting support from anyway; we depend squarely on our board members and good will individuals and organization to run the home,” Bilweh Nyema, Manager of ATCH told a fund-raising gathering over the weekend.
He continues “we continue to knock on the doors of the National Legislature to see reason to include us in the national budget in that way it will help us meet the many needs of residents at the home.”
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and John F. Kennedy (JFK) medical center are the two major institutions that transfer deformed and abandoned babies to the home.
“I do not get anything from the government to run the home; everything is being done by friends, donors, and goodwill citizens. We have engaged the ministry of gender because we were told they were supposed to provide welfare for the home, but to no avail.”
Robert Cassell is the secretary of the home. He outlined several challenges facing its operation therefore, it is rallying the support of the central government, humanitarians, and the general public in keeping the dream of the home alive.
He mentioned the growing need to rehabilitate the facility, hiring specialized doctors, salary incentives for workers, security, cooking, provision of food, and sanitary materials among others are some of the major constraints the home is confronted with.
Cassell says the home is the oldest disability home in the country, but wonder why government chose to abandoned people at the home at the same time supporting similarly organizations.
He indicated that residents at the home are people with special need, hence, the need for government to give attention to the home cannot be overstated.
Speaking at the event over the weekend, Dr. Amelia Weah Liberty says the event also marks a annual year end Christmas party for people at the home.
At the ATCH Family, a fun-filled opening to the Christmas season some staffs were honored for their longstanding services, committed and delegation to the home.
Dr. Liberty says the workers are the ones on ground implementing all the plans while the board is out.
Taking care of people with special need is a very difficult task for anyone to perform, but these people took on the challenge to do this.
One of the longest standing resident of the home is George Hassan. Like many of the resident, Hassan was abandoned by his family due to his condition and taking to the home. The 65 year old man thanked the board and staffs for all the scarifies ensuring they are care for.
“Just as we have delegated staffs, we do have one of the best delegated board, had it not been so, we could have been abandoned by now as our family did. But these people are our mothers, fathers, and the only one we can called family and they make us to feel a part of them,” Hassan told the gathering.