As Gambia Observes Disability Day: Beggars Demand For Govt’s Subvention To End Financial Nightmares!!!By Lamin Kinteh, Banjul.

Celebrating disability day, disabled people in the Gambia have gathered at the KMC and other localities across the impoverished West African country. They have pointed out their grievances especially against government and the way some Gambians discriminate at them.

 Many disabled persons who have no where to get money for their survival were on several occasions dragged to the courts when they were picked up at various begging points. Some of them who were not caught were quick to run to their various places to see what the authorities determination would be like. This did not yield much fruit, the government kept apprehending and charging and subsequently trying them.

The Government says such a move was intended to discourage street begging in the country. Street begging is very common in The Gambia. Observers attribute the problem to increasing poverty and unemployment. Grown up men struggled in the streets with beggars to earn a living. Many took up begging as source of living here. Those engaged in the practice accused the Government of failing to meet their expectations. They say they are forced into the streets due to lack of job.

In their meeting at KMC today, many of the disabled people said the government has not given them subvention which makes it hard for them to survive in such an hostile economic environment. They appealed to the Government to help improve the lives of disables in the country.

Talking to Mohamed Alasa Bangura, he said disability in the Gambia is a crime because if they begged they are often charged and prosecuted by the state. He said they have found it very difficult with life as most of them were married with several children.

” Journalist, look at us on wheelchairs, how do we get money to feed our loved ones if we do not beg? It is not our choice but our disability means barrier. We do not have jobs assigned for us they discriminate against us. Where do we go now?” Bangura said.

Some of the disable now travel from pole to pole in search of food to eat. The main sufferers are those who are non Gambians. They have double trouble, he said.

Many people believe that something should be done for the disabled so as to have a share of the national cake because it is not their fault to be what they are. Some have vowed to go begging again if nothing is done about them. All big areas are cleared off beggar especially in front of Paul Marouns where they received a good amount of money from the rich and was shared at the end of the day.

One of the disabled ladies who prefers anonymity said, Jammeh does not want to know that there is poverty in the country but that is not the answer because even those who are abled are finding life difficult, no one is rich as he thinks. Let him visit some houses he would be surprised to see what some people eat by day. He needs to do more to lift the people from poverty. She said.

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