Calabash_Issue 9 Apr. 2014 - Page 57

champion MMelqosh mission Micah 4:7 And I will make her that halted, a remnant and her that was cast off a strong nation. Melqosh Mission was founded by Faith Okrafo-Smart and the team is made up of dynamic and aspiring people in the diaspora who are committed to impact the lives of the poor and needy in Sierra Leone and abroad. Everyone deserves the right to excel in life, a healthy life, whether one is disabled or not. Unfortunately, though we all deserve a chance to succeed, people with disabilities lack access to basic social services and economic opportunities. The odds are stacked against people with disabilities in the developing world. People with disabilities represent a large share of the population in the developing world, one that is excluded, isolated and dependant on others. Disability and Poverty go together. Case studies from Sierra Leone and other low income countries suggest that people with disabilities are over represented among the poorest and are severely socially excluded. They are less likely to get out of poverty compared with other groups. Although extremely rich in natural resources, Sierra Leone remains among one of the poorest countries in the world. 70% of the population are living below poverty line, 26% are classified as extremely poor with the majority categorised as physically challenged. Life expectancy is 39 years whilst health and education indicators are among the lowest in the world. The war inflicted a heavy toll on human capital, ten years of war ravaged Sierra Leone with approximately 20,000 people dead, 2 million displaced and some 27,000 registered amputees according to UN Analysis. Many amputees in the provinces are not registered due to lack of access to auditing. Sierra Leone has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and its human rights strategy includes safeguards for people with disabilities. However, it has not yet put what it has promised in international conventions and its constitution into practice. In post conflict Sierra Leone, people with disabilities and amputations (attributed to the methodical dismemberment of civilians during one of Africa’s bloodiest war, which resulted in thousands of innocents losing hands, arms, legs) are more marginalised. Exclusion from services, community activities and productive opportunities increase the risk for people with disabilities and post conflict amputations. Consequently, they will continue to stay in poverty or fall into extreme poverty if intervention is not implemented, thereby creating a vicious web of acute underclass for generations unborn. MELQOSH MISSION ‘s vision is to implement development strategies for education, health , trade and employment specifically for physically challenged and post war afflicted amputees in Sierra Leone. With access to these services , the beneficiaries will have coveted opportunities that we all deserve and a chance to articulate in productive activities, thereby becoming successful, not only for themselves but for the development of Sierra Leone. MISSION STATEMENT: “Train A Physically Challenged Girl and You Train A Destiny-Carrier of Tomorrow” SYNOPSIS Melqosh means Latter Rain in Hebrew. The seed of Melqosh Mission was conceived in November 2004 and its vision is to help women with both emotional and physical ailments; to gather girls and women that are lame and strengthen them - they are the target population or beneficiaries of this project. The beneficiaries are girls and women who had their limbs forcibly and wickedly amputated by the rebels in the course of one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars in Sierra Leone. One of the barbaric and abominable haunts of the blood- hungry rebels was the methodical dismemberment of civilians, which resulted in thousands of innocents losing hands, arms, legs, and feet from the swing of an axe or machete; even children were not exempted from these gruesome amputations. The ten-year war ended a decade ago but the consequences of these committed atrocities and barbarity are ever so present in the lives of plenty. The war may be over but the results of its destruction pervade the country and its victims and they need to be addressed. The other females are those who became disabled due to birth defects or illnesses such as polio, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and paralysis attributed to accidents etc. These girls and women are rejects of society; no future, no dreams or opportunities; just barely living under the hospices of family or relatives. In Sierra Leone, the able-bodied women find it difficult to earn a living hence the high rate of prostitution. If life for the able-bodied women is so bleak, imagine what it is for physically challenged women. The mission is to teach and train post war afflicted amputee and physically challenged girls and women in the provinces (who have no education, training or social capital or opportunity. Because these women have had no education we will have to give them elementary education with English (Literacy) and Mathematics (Numeracy). Other Subjects to be taught are, Computer Studies, Music, and Literature etc. Vocational Training will include Sewing, Knitting, Garment Dyeing and other arts and crafts. Life skills such as interpersonal skills, communication skills, negotiation skills, cooperation skills, team- work skills, decision-making skills, critical thinking skills, self-management skills etc. In addition to provide mentoring, counselling, and Medicare facilities for the beneficiaries, thus providing extensive help and support. Melqosh Mission will be holding a Celebration of Peace Concert on Monday 4th of June2012 in Honour of Sierra Leone’s 10th Anniversary of Peace. Our confirmed artistes include, Award winning Rapper, poet and storyteller, Mr Alim Kamara, Renowned John Gbla, Award winning Gospel Artiste Rebecca Arthur, Renowned Collins Pratt,Award winning Storyteller Usifu Jalloh, Lady Matto, Chris Vidal, Danny and the UK Female Artists. Guest artistes are Michael Pounds and Nevaeh’s Angel, Sounds of Tehilla, Dusty Odhiri. MC for the event will be Sierra Leonean TV Presenter/ Talkshow Host, Praise Sam Jolly Asemota. issue nine | Calabash Magazine | 55