By Sarata Jabbi
The Global Initiative for the Support of People with Disabilities (GISPD) is a non-governmental charity and civil society organization that was established in November 2013.
In an exclusive interview with the founder and coordinator Mr Ousman Jallow, a Gambian national now residing in Manchester, this is what he had to say as to why he came up with the idea of setting up GISPD.
‘Being physically disabled, crippled on both legs confined in a wheelchair, with the hard experience I went through during my childhood time in terms of access to mobility, motivates me to set up GISPD because I believe no child should suffer that way’.
On the aim of the charity, Mr. Jallow said their aim is to developed and promotes equal opportunities for people with disabilities in The Gambia, by providing them support (such as access to education, health care, and employment) as well as to raise awareness to change communities’ perceptions about disabilities by reducing stigma and discrimination.
‘Again the charity’s commitment to promote the right of people with disabilities is in line with human right principles and contributes to the attainment of some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG1; Eradicate extreme poverty and MDG3; Achieve universal primary education)’.
There is a hope that through raising awareness, stigma towards disability will be reduced hence encouraging inclusion and eliminating discrimination towards the disability people, said Jallow.
Jallow added that GISDP comprises of verse membership across different geographical locations, these include Africa, Europe and USA. ‘GISPD have a close contact with its international coordinators in various countries across the world such as in Africa Gambia, U.S.A, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, Spain, Norway and Asian counterparts’.
On the type of work they are involved in, Jallow said their core values include; education, mobility, advocacy, health/medications and feeding the needy etc. ‘We promote human rights and empower people with Disabilities to improve their quality of life, standard of living – this is by way of reaching out to them in remote and isolated communities, enrolling disable children in schools, providing them with wheelchairs, crouches, special shoes, visionary equipment and stationeries’.
Jallow further states that they work hard to eliminate discriminatory practices, relieve the suffering of being disable due to the practices compounded by poverty as well as to raise funds and resources to support disabled people and their families etc’.
‘Our support is not limited to the disable people alone, however we do support orphans, people in need of medical assistant, communities and schools’.
On the organisation’s achievements, Jallow further added that through their partnership with eleven organisations, they were able to generate some funds from which 30 children benefited educational project sponsorship, 15 children and 5 adult supplied wheelchairs, over 200 children and adults benefited from the clothes collected from UK, Sweden, Germany, and USA, 3 children with severe learning difficulties got their housing build/repaired, bedding etc, whilst some few children also benefited school materials, dinner money and fares, he disclosed.
Jallow finally called on donor organisations and individuals to help them to continue their usual support in providing better living for the disabled and less privilege people.