The need to mainstream disability in society has been well articulated at global, regional and national levels. It is widely recognized that such efforts can only be realized if statistics on disability prevalence, patterns and levels are made available at all levels of society. The 2015 Disability statistics provide the basis for measuring progress in realizing the rights of persons with disabilities. In Sierra Leone, the 2011 Disability Act needs to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to education, employment and basic services, not only in writing but also in practical. The 2015 Disability statistics report provides statistical evidence relating to the prevalence of disability and characteristics of persons with disabilities at household levels, based on data from the 2015 census. Previous post-independence censuses in the country were conducted in 1963, 1974, 1979, 1985 and 2004. Data on disability were collected, compiled and analysed to inform decision-making and planning to address the plight of persons with all categories of disabilities in the country.
The report reveals that Out of a total population of 7,076,119 people in the country, 93,129 have a disability. This represents 1.3 per cent of the country’s total population. At the regional level, the Northern region has the highest number of persons with disabilities (32,849), which represents 35.3 per cent of all persons with disabilities in the country. The Eastern region has 25,577 persons with disabilities (27.5 per cent of the total), and the Southern region has 22,770 (24.4 per cent of the total). At district level, the majority of persons with disabilities are from Kailahun (9,666, or 10.4 per cent of the total), Bo (9,335, or 10 per cent), Port Loko (9,050, or 9.7 per cent) and Bombali (8,797, or 9.8 per cent). The remaining districts represent less than 9 per cent of the total. There are more males than females with disabilities: 50,319 (or 54 per cent of the total) are male, and 42,810 (46 per cent) are female. The residential analysis reveals that there are more persons with disabilities in the rural areas of the country: 62,380 (or 67 per cent of the total) live in rural areas, and 30,749 (33 per cent) live in urban areas.
Sonita Kamara is 12 year old Sierra Leonean living with disability in Gbom ka pa Abu, four miles away from Lunsar. Born in Gbompaabu, Sonia never had the opportunity to go school, during Ebola, Sonita Kamara lost both her parents. 12 year-old Sonita kamara disclosed to Salone Messenger that she doesn’t want to be anything in the future, not a lawyer, not a doctor, not an entrepreneur. How can 12 year old Sonita Kamara want to be any of the above when she has spent 12 years of her life crawling on the ground without a wheelchair? Let alone watch or interact with lawyers, Doctors, entrepreneur or any change maker.
After her parents past away in 2014 during Ebola, Sonita was saved by an Okada rider named Noah Conteh who fend for himself by borrowing bikes from his friend at the Okada park because he doesn’t have one, from the little money he get, he use it to get food for Sonita and the family. Noah took up the reasonability to save Sonita after he saw the deplorable state of Sonita in the community as she was left homeless and goes hungry in the village.
Help Sonita get a wheelchair and dream
Sonita Kamara needs the opportunity to go back to school and someone or people that could mentor her and give her reason to see a future. Sonita needs wheelchair, educational support and care.
Mr Brima S Kanu is Sierra Leonean activist and teacher in Lunsar, very passionate about the well fare of children in his community, Mr Kanu disclosed to Salone Messenger that he most times leaves the outskirt of Lunsar to go into the villages looking out for stories of children that needs support “ I know the media cannot reach every corner of the country in collecting information, I am spending my time and life as activist to go to the hard to reach areas to get the stories of these children that need support” He said, Mr Kanu shared the story with Salone Messenger and asked that we help give 12 year old Sonita a voice, like the child or children of each minister, Sonita deserves to go to school and have a dream. To support Sonita get wheelchair and go back to school, we have included the contact of the community teacher, Mr Brima A Kanu popularly know as Angel who can be reach on the following number +232 77 861050
like Umaru Fofanah, A Sierra Leonean BBC journalist, if anyone of us with opportunities can take up the responsibility to live with a disabled child and give him or her hope, the world will be a better place.