“We want GOL to Institute Sign Language Interpreters at Public Facilities”, National Commission on Disability calls Out

By: Florence Nyenatiee

Liberia: Authorities of the National Commission on Disability is urging the Government of Liberia to institute a sign language interpreters at various public Institutions/Facilities in the Country.

According to the Human Resource Officer of the NCD, Madam Hannah Johnson-Watson, sign language interpretation will help persons with disabilities understand the messages being send across.

In an interview during the weekend at her office in Congo Town, Madam Johnson -Watson said some of the Major challenges that persons with disabilities faced in Liberia are sign language interpreters, accessibility of public facilities, accommodations, and having access to medical centers among others.

NCD HR Head also recommends that Media institutions especially the electronic media to have a sign language interpreter when disseminating information to the public, especially on National Television.

“The deaf have access to purchasing newspaper; but how many can afford to buy newspaper on a daily basis. For example, you go to Benson’s Hospital, you will have to climb stairs that is a problem, physical barriers limit the movement of individuals who use a wheelchair or other mobility support. This could look like a building only accessible via stairs, a polling place with doors too narrow for wheel chair to fit, or a medical equipment that can be used by a person who can walk or stand”, she explained.

She noted that some public buildings pose problem to people with disability; adding that making a place disability friendly or accessible will afford the opportunity to person with disability to acquire the same information; engage in the same interactions; and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

“Accommodation is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunities,access and benefits, adding that disability inclusion should be look at seriously”.

She also mentioned lack of funding as another challenge for people living with disabilities.

“Imagine the problem you a normal person face, what’s about disable single mothers? Some suffering from depression based on their past and present experiences from people with negative attitude towards disables and even men. I wish they have a program that would help disable single mothers with their children to have them educated to cut down burden.”

Meanwhile, she lauded the past government for their support and encourages the current government to increase the subsidize for people living in the country. She further hoped that the current administration of President Boakai will ensure the livelihood of people with disabilities are improved.

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