By Jerromie S. Walters

With a significant support from the United Nations (UN) Women, Destined Kids Assistance Program DEKAP, a local NGO that dwells on ensuring gender equality and the inclusion of nearby communities’ schools; recently held the closing of its disabled women savings and loan program for fiscal year 2023.

Monday, December 4, 2023, DEKAP concluded its annual disabled women savings, with the disbursement of cash, saved by the women throughout this year. Prior to the savings, the women were empowered by UN Women through cash, to help mitigate challenges they faced as persons with disabilities. UN Women impact in the women’s lives started back in 2018, when they were previously given US$50 each, as empowerment. Interestingly, the women have consistently been empowered through said means since 2018.

At Monday’s event which took place at DEKAP office auditorium located at Cemetery Hill Junction, SKD Sport Complex, Paynesville, Madam Helena Wenneh, the Executive Director of DEKAP, says her desire to undertake the initiative was prompted by their interest to address complications and other challenges disabled are confronted with.

“Men see them at night and not at day.” She says these and many others are challenges disabled women are confronted with. In her opinion, this year has been one of the successful years of the union.  This is reflected on the fact that through the project, she noted that the disabled women have bought their own land, built homes and gained a lot more.

Throughout this year, they managed to secure a little over 600.000LD, an amount that was disbursed amongst 35 women of the union, with an 80 percent membership of disabled women.

Also through the program, 11 disabled women children are being sponsored in school. She rallied the government to aid in addressing the issue. “We all have to empower these people. We are happy that we are helping to move women from the street. We are happy to be part of whatever the world is doing to aid disabled women,” she articulates.

As one of the partners, they hailed UN Women for its intervention. According to them, the intervention has been important because the women have been doing exploit through the project. From 2018 to present, Madam Helena Wenneh says the presence of the UN Women has significantly impacted the process.

At the occasion, UN Women representative Ashika Millaniyage,  lauded the women. She expressed impression about their work. As her personal contribution, she made a contribution of US$300 to the women. 

From his end, NUOD’s coordinator Reuben Yankan, thanked the institution for the initiative. He extends the Union’s President greetings, says the initiative is not for self, but for others. He assured NUOD’s commitment to the group.  Reuben Yankan encouraged the women to remain persistent in their quest.

In her testimony, Baby Duo, a beneficiary of the project applauded UN Women and the group for the intervention. With a complicated situation that begun with an illness, life became horrible but later took a new trend when she encountered the program. 

As one that doesn’t see pleasure in street begging, she used her first fund from the institution to start up a mini business. Also, she’s overwhelmed by the outcome of the process, as Monday’s occasion left her with a awesome amount to continue her life. She lost her sight in 2018.

Like other partners, KEEP Liberia was one of those that see the women’s venture as a laudable one. Like NUOD, Maureen Jennifer Dorley, says KEEP Liberia is proud of the initiative. Maureen Jennifer Dorley who represented KEEP Liberia at the event acclaimed the women and expressed optimism for more of said endeavor. 

DEKAP works with a vision to ensure a violent free society in which every woman and child attains the right to survival, protection, development. The group’s mission is to ensure gender equality and the inclusion of nearby communities’ schools; affording them opportunity to acquire a sustainable future.

Destined Kids Assistance Program (DEKAP) is an implementing partner of UN Women.

The savings and loan club was sponsored by UN Women.