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2013-09-03

AFRICA/SIERRA LEONE - The harsh survival of people with disabilities in the Country

Freetown ( Agenzia Fides) - The civil war in Sierra Leone has left tens of thousands of disabled people, many of whom have suffered amputations. However, while the war victims receive aid, people suffering from various disabilities are struggling to survive. They have difficulty in obtaining adequate health care, education and work, already hard to find in the Country. There are no official data available and it seems that the major number of disability is due to polio. Many Sierra Leoneans polio survivors arrived in Freetown during or after the war, in search of security, shelter and work. There are few today who have an occupation, and most survive by begging. Many people have trouble finding a place to sleep. In a building owned by the Government, in the center of Freetown, more than 200 polio survivors live with their families in small spaces and separated by cardboard walls. The building is overcrowded , with few toilets and a small area where they can wash themselves, and with the increase of families it will soon become unmanageable. The community is managed by Handicapped Youth Development Organisation (HYDO), a group whose members are disabled. HYDO plans to develop a plot of land purchased in Waterloo, on the outskirts of Freetown, to enable disabled people to live, work, cultivate land and raise cattle. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 03/09/2013)

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