The Kumba II Council in the Southwest Region and the Heist OP Den berg Council in Belgium have joined forces to strengthen the capacity of disabled persons in Kumba. The partnership is to enable persons with disabilities to engage in meaningful activities that would guarantee them a decent living and contribute to development.The partnership was announced on February 23 during a one-day capacity-building meeting that took place at the Kumba II Council Hall, grouping Kumba People Living with Disabilities, KUPEDA, and officials of the Community Empowering Movement for a Responsive Society; CEMREST.According to Belgian-based Cameroonian Missionary Priest, Frank Banyong, who represented the CEMREST at the session, the vision is to build the potentials of the disabled and aid them in realising their dreams.Banyong said, though with disabilities, such persons are created in the image and likeness of God and have potentials that can improve society.The priest said the partnership is not a money-spraying venture as people always assume, but that, in the end, whatever resources the Belgian Council will direct to the disabled, it would be because the physically challenged persons themselves would have proved their worth.Banyong appealed to the population to put all hands on deck to end all forms of stigmatisation associated with people with disabilities. He said a society can only enjoy the endowments of physically challenged persons if it focuses on what they can offer.
Earlier, the Mayor of Kumba II, Martin Forcha Ndobegang, remarked that his Council has a lot to offer to the disabled, provided they are organised. The municipal authority stated that the situation of the disabled can only be improved upon if they have a sense of purpose, without which, profitable initiatives will hardly come their way.Despite announcing that his Council has exempted some disabled persons from paying torpor fare for occupying public space, the Mayor regretted that in some cases where financial incentives are given to such persons, they hardly ever make good use of it.
Stephen Nkeh, an official of the Social Welfare, observed that ever since the Mayor nurtured KUPEDA, there have been many changes. He challenged the disabled to sustain the opportunities put at their disposal but reminded the Mayor of the need to also consider other defenseless groups such as orphans and infected children.
One of the disabled persons, Oscar Musaka, said, despite being abandoned by his family because of his disability, he dreams of becoming a Mayor someday or to serve in a public office.
Another participant, Godwin Eboa Mulango, recounted how 10 years ago, he was using his brain and hands to refill engine oil in cars and trucks, but with the current shifts in technology, he wants to step up his knowledge and fit properly into the computer age.