This followed seven months of intensive theory and practical training in Information, Communication Technology, Employability skills, Entrepreneurship, Computer Maintenance and Repair, Internet and Social Media and so on.
The graduation ceremony attracted important stakeholders like the Minister of Political and Public Affairs (MPPA), Hon. Nanette Thomas, British Council Director, Mr. Simon Ingram-Hill, Irish Aid-Sierra Leone Programme Manager, Emma Warwick, Mano River Union Deputy Secretary General, Rev. (Mrs.) Linda Koroma, Chairman and Chief Commissioner of the National Commission for Person with Disabilities (NCPD) Mr. Fredrick Kamara, Permanent Secretary MPPA, Israel Jigba, Director Office of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh, and a delegation of Fifteen friends of DST from UK among others.
The British Council Director, Mr. Simon Ingram-Hill in his remarks noted that his Institution’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy is committed to seven pillars including the issue of Disability. He further commended the CEO of Dorothy Springer Trust Sierra Leone, Dr. Abdulai Dumbuya for his exceptional contribution in improving the lives of People with disabilities (PWDs) in the country; through the provision of Advocacy and high quality employability ICT training.
The CEO of Dorothy Springer Trust, Dr. Abdulai Dumbuya said: “Today marks the third graduation ceremony since we opened our new office in Sierra Leone in 2014, and also we are celebrating successful persons with disabilities in the country’’
Dr. Dumbuya explained that while at Loughborough University in the UK, his tuition fees were paid for by an anonymous benefactor, Mrs Dorothy Springer. He said DST was founded in Sierra Leone with the objective to advance the prospects of disabled people; through the provision of quality ICT training and employment creation to better the lives of PWDs in the country. He said with support from the British High Commission in Sierra Leone, Irish Aid and some good friends in the UK, DST has trained forty disabled people with ICT skills, and thirty three of them are gainfully employed.
The Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon. Nanette Thomas thanked DST and its sponsors for providing training to PWDs in Sierra Leone. She recalled that she first saw Dr. Dumbya in a programme organized for members of the Sierra Leone Diaspora Community at State House, adding that, during that event, she was highly impressed by the presentation of Dr. Dumbuya with regards the Database of Sierra Leonean Diasporans.
On her part, the Honorable Minister also described education as the only instrument that can take the disabled people to upward mobility.
The Programme Manager for Irish Aid in Sierra Leone, Emma Warwick in her statement said that the Government of Ireland believes in equality and equal opportunities. She added that the Irish Aid Programme in Sierra Leone is aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) and also the Government of Sierra Leone Agenda for Prosperity (A4P). She highlighted progress made so far; especially their contribution to education in the country. She said since 2016 they have been supporting DST. “We also supported the development of a documentary that profiled successful persons with disabilities in Sierra Leone to inspire other disabled people’’ Madam Warwick said. She urged the Government to effectively implement the Disability Act.
Also, other speakers including the Chairman, Board of Trustees DST UK, Rob Lea, Chairman and Chief Commissioner of NCPD, Fredrick Kamara commended Dr. Dumbuya and the DST Sierra Leone Chapter for their exemplary work in helping removing PWDs from the streets.
The event was climaxed with the presentation of awards and the screening of a documentary on successful persons with Disabilities in the country.