GOMPA, Nimba – There are few, if any, legal protection to ensure that the disabled are accommodated in the workplace or in educational facilities. In Liberia, being disabled usually means one must rely completely on family for survival.
However, one group of people living with disabilities in the Wuo’s Town Community in Ganta is trying to change this narrative.
The group, the Self-Help Disabled Organization of Wuo’s Town, have been making soap and raising pigs to sustain their members.
Martha Tokpah, who chairs the group of 30, said the group was founded through the assistance of an Italian-based NGO, Associazione Italiana Frantoiani Oleari.
“When AIFO came [into] Liberia, they came to our community and that’s how they decided to put us together,” she said. “Since they put us together in 2010, we [are] still together and now, we are in animal [husbandry].”
Tokpah is one of the beneficiaries of a series of life skills training conducted by AIFO in Liberia. She said soap making and animal husbandry were among the many pieces of training she acquired.
“What we are doing now in the group is making soap and raising pigs.” Tokpah said. “When we make the soap, we sell it and the money is what we used to buy food for the pigs.”
Although AIFO conducts routine visits to the group and also provide cash assistance to them at times, Tokpah said the group still faces challenges within its operations.
“Right now, we need help to build our office,” Tokpah said. “Our pig pen is small for the pigs we have and it’s breaking down; I don’t want for our efforts to go in vain – so, we are calling on any NGO to come to help us so that we can rebuild our pig pen and finish our office.”
AIFO is winding down its operations in Liberia but the NGO has promised to help the group to start raising ducks in addition to their existing activities, Tokpah said. She said if this is done, it will help group increase its revenue.
Featured photo by Arrington Ballah