By Cherno Omar Bobb
Adama Jammeh, Chairperson of The Gambia Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) – Female Wing, Banjul Branch, who is also a model said they feel they have been discriminated due to their disability.
GADHOH was invited to participate in Africa Miss Beauty Pageant held in Tanzania from 26th September to 2nd October 2021 but when they wrote letters to various ministries and departments including the Office of the President for sponsorship, their requests were not granted.
She said this was their fifth invitation but they have never participated in the competition due to lack of assistance.
Jammeh explained that when the invitation came they rolled out requests to several ministries and departments including Office of the President, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, National Center for Arts and Culture, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, National Youth Council, among others, seeking for support but they deliberately ignored their request.
She observed that the Senegalese Government supported four of their deaf female models to participate in the competition.
“It is important that persons with disabilities are considered when such opportunities arise but we are not valued which is why we are not also supported,” she stated, saying, they have seen the government supporting other people participating in other competitions using the Gambia’s name but always discriminating persons with disabilities.
“People should not be discriminated due to their disability. We maybe hard of hearing but we have brains,” she went on, adding that they have been discriminated for far too long and it should end now.
“We are Gambians and should be considered and valued because we have rights,” she also said, adding there is a Disability Act in place which the president has accented to.
“We are Gambians and have been paying taxes. We need to start benefiting from the national cake,” said Adama.
“I am surprised in The Gambia, the government supports national teams easily but always neglects persons with disabilities,” she said, while calling on the government to support and look into their affairs.
She highlighted that they face numerous challenges in the country ranging from economical, social acceptance, discrimination, among others, and needs to be considered and prioritized as Gambians.
She however commended the National Youth Council for their efforts in trying to support one of them to attend the completion.
She particularly blamed Vice President Dr Isatou Touray for forgetting about them after making sweet promises to them during her campaign.