-Over Lack Of Budgetary Support For Antoinette Tubman Cheshire Home
By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-A home catering to the needs of a vulnerable population 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 V.S. Tubman and has been catering to the less fortunate in the society, the 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 movement, the home housed 15 residents with a 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 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 goodwill 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 a 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 and John F. Kennedy are the two major institutions that transferred deformed and abandoned babies to the home, Nyema disclosed that limited support is given by the institution to upkeep residents at the home leaving them to survive at the mercy of God.
“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, hire 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 wonders why the government chose to abandon people at the home at the same time supporting similar organizations.
He indicated that residents at the home are people with special needs, 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 an annual year-end Christmas party for people at the home.
At the ATCH Family, a fun-filled opening to the Christmas Season some staff were honored for their longstanding services, commitment, and delegation to the home.
Dr. Liberty says the workers are the ones on the ground implementing all the plans while the board is out.
Taking care of people with special needs is a very difficult task for anyone to perform, but these people took on the challenges to do this.
One of the longest-standing residents of the home is George Hassan. Like many of the residents, Hassan was abandoned by his family due to his condition and taking to home. The 65-year-old man thanked the board and staff for all the scarifies to ensure they are cared for.
“Just as we have delegated staff, we do have one of the best-delegated boards, 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 ones we can call family and they make us to feel a part of them,” Hassan told the gathering.