Liberia News: PWD’s Kids Narrate Ordeal

By Jamesetta D Williams

Monrovia-February-27-TNR:On a daily basis, children as young as five are seen on the streets holding the hands of their disabled parents, mostly the visually impaired as they go about asking for alms to get food on the tables for their parents some of whom are being reduced to wheelchairs while others are visually impaired.

These kids despite being given the responsibilities as bread winners for families, have not had the opportunity to acquire formal education.

Many of these kids are forced to lead people with disabilities in every street corner becoming bread winners for the disabled people something that continues to prevent them from going to school.

Some of the kids who spoke to our reporter in an interview disclosed that they have no means of going to school as they are usually forced to carry their disabled parents and relatives on the streets daily to ask of alms.

In the Redlight General Market, some of them who have taken their disabled parents there to do their usual begging narrated that they are interested in education but no one to assist them with their education. They also said there is no time to go to school because they have to lead their parents on the various streets and market places to hustle for food for the families.

In Liberia, hundreds of kids between the ages five to fifteen are the bread winners for the disabled community. They are forced to lead the visually impaired by the hands daily to take them around mainly crowded areas for the daily hustle, while others are forced to push wheelchairs of the disabled to move them around in search of food.

Little Medley Brown, a 10-year-old girl narrated that her mother has been blind for several years. Medley said her uncle was the one taking care of her mother while she (Medley) was attending PCS School.

She said unfortunately, her uncle Mark decided to walk away from home to join his friends as gambler. “I’ve to take the responsibility of taking care of my mother and as a result, I’ve to drop out of school. I couldn’t attend school anymore because my mom and I have to hustle daily to find food for the family.”

Narrating her ordeal as she spoke to our report, Medley added, “I have be out of school for the past two years; I feel bad when seeing my friends attending, but also feel bad for my mother condition.”

She said, “My father died due to the same condition of my mother sometimes it is very difficult for us to eat or have access to food. I’m uncomfortable with this situation but there is nothing else I can do because no one to help us; I’m the only one my mother has. I don’t know the whereabouts of my other brothers and sisters,” Medley sorrowfully narrated.

She disclosed that her dream is to be a police officer but it is unfortunate for her because she has dropped out from school.

“Sometimes my teachers used to send my lessons to me at home for study, but not anymore because there is no money so I just decided to focus on helping my mother with the daily hustle of bread winning,” Medley explained.

She wants government through the Ministry of Education to intervene in their situation by ensuring that they are given the opportunity to go back to school.

Medley tearfully stressed, “Every child deserves better education whether you are poor or rich, but for us, we have been denied the opportunity to go to school due to our parents’ condition.”

Like Medley, little Peace Gibson who is a blind child, narrated that he has never attended school from the day of his birth.  He said his father got blind by car accident some three years ago while his mother is nowhere to be seen.

“My sister was also blind too but she died last year November. My wish is for me to attend school and learn what others are learning,” little Peace Gibson narrated.

Little Gibson added that whenever he’s around school campuses, he usually sits nearby and listen to the students to enable him learn some of their lessons being taught in the school.

He said his late sister used to do the same to the extent that one morning while on her way at the school campus, she was hit by a motorcycle and died instantly.

Little Gibson added, I’m 14-year-old going to my 15, I’m still blind and don’t have any form of education. I’m unable to go to school due to me and father’s blindness.

Peace suggested that if the government wants to help the blind, they should focus on the kids who are out of school and being forced to win bread for their parents and relatives with disabilities and also kids who are disabled and visually impaired.

Alice Joe, another kid who is forced to take care of her parents due to their disabilities, narrated, “I feel bad with this condition and without any form of education. Sometimes I just feel like committing suicide to end my life.”

Alice added that acquiring education has been something they have ever wished for. “Unfortunately, some of us are unable due to the parental support and care. My mother and father are blind, I’m the only person who takes them around to beg for money for food; so there is no way for me to be educated,” she told this paper with tears running down her cheek.

Like Medley, little Gibson and Alice, other kids who also help their blind parents to move around are appealing to President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, First Lady Kartumu Boakai, other philanthropists, and the entire government to intervene in their situation as they are also future leaders of the country only if they are given the opportunity to return to the classroom.

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