CAB Annual Report 2010

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Liberia Christian Association of the Blind (CAB) Inc.

Vai Town Community, Robertsfield Highway

Liberia, West Africa

CAB Annual Activities Summary Report

2010

 

Contact Person: Mr. Beyan G. Kota

National President/ CAB

                                                                     Office #: 231-6-510354

 

 

Email: cabliberia@hotmail.com

Website: http://www.cabliberia.org/

 

SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES

The Liberia Christian Association of the Blind (CAB) Inc. was established in April 1985 as an advocacy organization for the poor blind citizens of Liberia. In an effort to ensure the provision and equalization of opportunities to basic social services for the blind in Liberia, CAB undertook several program activities during the year under review to realize such dream. Activities for the year under review included the following: 

HEADLINES

ACTIVITIES                                                                                                                              PAGE

  • a) CAB LAUDS FIRESTONE-LIBERIA ------------------------------------------ 2 & 3

 

  • b) FORMATION OF MARIFED ----------------------------------------------- 3 & 4

 

  • c) AFUB'S YOUTH WORKSHOP --------------------------------------------- 4 & 5

 

  • d) CAB's Extends Poultry and Piggery Projects ------------------------ 5 - 7

 

  • e) NASSCORP GIVES CAB ACCESS TO INTERNET TECHNOLOGY ---- 7

 

  • f) CAB COLLABORATES WITH WAEC AND USAID -------------------- 8

 

  • g) CAPE MESSURADO LIONS CLUB RENOVATES CAB'S DORM --------- 9

 

  • h) ACKNOWLEDGEMENT --------------------------------------------------------- 10

 

 


FIRESTONE PAVES ROAD LEADING TO CAB'S NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER FOR THE BLIND

The Christian Association of the Blind (CAB) is commending the Management of Firestone Liberia for extending its Community Outreach Program to the institution.

Speaking during the turn- over ceremony on Friday, February 12, 2010 of the rehabilitated road leading from the Robertsfield High-way to the Resource Center of CAB, the National President of the Christian Association of the Blind, Beyan Kota, lauded the efforts of Firestone Liberia in lending a helping hand to the visually impaired brothers and sisters of Liberia.

Mr. Kota recalled that prior to the rehabilitation of the road by the Management of Firestone Liberia; it was extremely difficult for blind students to leave the center to go on the Robertsfield High-way due to the sandy terrain.

But he noted that with the completion of the rehabilitation works and landscaping of the campus and its surroundings, the blind themselves can wisely use their white cane with no much constraint to get on the main high-way. "Blind adults, youths and children have suffered from inaccessibility, many times they will travel all the way here but the car will be prevented from traveling to the center on the account of inaccessibility" Mr. Kota asserted.

He gave an account when a vehicle conveying supplies to the Center stuck in the sand owing to the bad road condition at the time, and created unnecessary financial burden for the institution.

"I remembered one time when we have brought in a 15-KVA generator, the truck stuck in the sand. We have to get the crane, the crane also got stuck, and that was too much problems and expenses for us" Mr. Kota said.

He then appealed to the Management of Firestone Liberia for food assistance on a monthly basis in a bid to help feed the growing student population of the center. Shortly before the turning over ceremony, students of the center were seen playing sports and other games which were not possible in the past because of the sandy nature of the area.

Earlier, the Public Affairs Manager of Firestone Liberia, G. Rufus Karmorh, said the Management of Firestone Liberia was delighted to complete the rehabilitation of the road leading to the resource center of the Christian Association of the Blind.  He added that "these are our fellow compatriots who are here that need to be cater to."

Mr. Karmorh used the occasion to call on other corporate entities to see the need to render assistance to CAB. "Firestone is just starting the process, and we hope that other corporate institutions will assist this institution" he said.

Firestone Liberia's Community Outreach Program renders assistance in the form of school materials distributions to various public and private schools around the country, construction of community hand-pumps, the rehabilitation of bridges, roads and other facilities.

FORMATION OF MARIFED

A joint delegation of six from the Republic of Liberia representing Liberia's Sate Commission on Disabilities and the National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD), a non-governmental umbrella union comprising of Disabled People Organizations (DPO's) and those providing services to the Disabled, left Monrovia on Sunday, May 16, 2010 for a one week visit to Freetown. This trip to Sierra Leone was in exchange to the one earlier made to Liberia by our Sierra Leonean counterparts in November of 2009 at which time, a bilateral agreement was reached between the Sierra Leone Union on Disabilities Issues (SLUDI) and the National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD) in Liberia.

It can be recalled that in March of 1971, the Governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone entered an agreement, which brought into being the Mano River Union on the foundation to promote lasting friendship, freedom, economic growth and social progress between the two countries and amongst its people.

The objective of this regional body was to accelerate regional collaboration and mutual assistance for cultural growth, economic trade in the social, technical and scientific fields.

Being cognizant of this, leaders of SLUDI in Sierra Leone and NUOD in Liberia thought it befitting to formulate an agreement for collaboration and peaceful co-existence.

The agreement further sought to promote understanding and cooperation through networking, capacity building and the exchange of information. We pledged our commitment to foster peace and unity across the two nations to identify cultural beliefs and practices, which shall be used to strengthen the social and economic development of our two unions and other persons with disabilities within Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Accordingly, our two umbrella organizations have now resolved to organize ourselves into the Mano River Federation of the Disabled (MARIFED), which aims to formulate a common agenda for the social and economic advancement of persons with disabilities within the region and to guarantee the inclusion of disability issues into the political framework of the sub-regional body of the Mano River Union.

 

The establishment of the Mano River Federation of the Disabled (MARIFED) is a demonstration of our belief in the principles of the four countries namely: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia. We shall seek to maintain peace and unity in pursuance of our objectives within the region. We shall remain committed to ignite spirit of good neighborliness as we promote cultural and economic development for the survival of all.

It is my believe that our visit has not only strengthened our common collaboration with AFUB and WBU, but open a new avenue for networking, for the consolidation of solidarity in our role in bringing new innovation to West Africa Zone One of AFUB. We shall consult each other to identify common interest in promoting the ideologies of the newly established Mano River Federation of the Disabled (MARIFED).

                                                           

AFUB YOUTH EMPOWERMENT WORKSHOP

A Five-Day Empowerment Workshop for blind and visually impaired youths commenced on Tuesday, June 29 at the CAB National Resource Center for the Blind located in Vai Town, Robertsfield Highway.

This intellectual and capacity building seminar sponsored by the African Union of the Blind (AFUB) working in collaboration with the CABLNAB Joint Oversight Committee brought together the Youth and Gender Coordinator of AFUB, Madam Nadia Gouy, an international facilitator based in Nairobi, Kenya and four other professional facilitators from Liberia.

The 20 blind and visually impaired youths drawn from across the country were trained in the act of identifying their career niche and developing their individual career plans. The workshop, which was conducted under the theme: "Human Career Growth and Participation in Community Development", also enabled the blind and visually impaired youths to gain a full grasp of labor policies, available career resources and agencies, and microfinance programs that could be tapped into by them.

The workshop was climaxed by an official program on Saturday, July 3, 2010, which was graced by an array of government officials and other stakeholders from the Ministries of Information, Youth and Sports, Labor, Health, including representatives from NGO's like Sight Savers International (SSI), Christophel Bliden Mission, UNDP, FLY etc.

 

The African Union of the Blind Visually Impaired Youth Empowerment Program (AVIYEP) training workshops were divided into three major thematic areas: leadership and organizational development, human rights and access to social justice, and career growth and participation in community development. At the end of each training workshop, participants put into practice the knowledge and skills acquired during the training by designing and implementing a mini-project.

An outline of the topic under each of the three thematic areas treated during the training included:

Year-I (Leadership and Organizational Development): This phase cohered around effective leadership, structure of an organization, membership recruitment, action planning, basics of the project cycle, budgeting, reporting, communication and conflict management skills.

Year-II (Human Rights and Access to Social Justice): This phase covered advocacy strategies, disability rights and related legal instruments both at the national level and at the international level (namely the UN Convention on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), HIV/ AIDS prevention and management, the Millennium Development Goals.

Year-III (Career Growth and Participation in Community Development): topics covered include accessing labor market informat8ion, self-employment resources and microfinance facilities, avenues for career advancement, and practical skills on drafting compelling resume and cover letter/ developing a marketable business plan for prospective entrepreneurs.

 

 

CAB'S POULTRY PROJECT

Since the establishment of the Liberia Christian Association of the Blind, CAB, it has continued to perform a leading role in formulating and implementing rehabilitation programs for the reintegration of the blind in Liberia. Up to present, measurable success has so far been made in this endeavor. However, public insensitivity as manifested by limited national support for the rehabilitation of the blind, has further widen the plight of the blind and reduced majority of them to beggars. This situation is further worsened by the more than 14 years of civil conflict in Liberia, which ended three years ago and has not only instituted new dimension for problems of the blind, but has also undermined CAB's  institutional capacity to cater to the growing needs of the blind.

 

The extent of tranquility in Liberia now ushers a fertile environment for the establishment of the intervention programs that will improve the conditions of the blind and visually impaired.

 

What has become even more challenging is the global economic meltdown, which has stripped the Association of external financial support. As a result, CAB has undertaken income generating activities that will generate returns, which are being used for institutional capacity building and sustainability of its programs.

 

About two years ago, CAB constructed poultry and piggery facilities at its National Resource Center for the Blind, which have increased the level of the Association's income generating ability for sustainability, build its capacity, impact the socio-economic conditions of blind and partially sighted persons in the country, restore credibility with international partners and increase networking. CAB's restored credibility has attracted additional donor support including a USAID grant to CAB for acquisition of educational materials, equipment to revamp the Braille Press and establish computer education program for the Blind at the Association's Resource Center. An additional 43,000.00 USD grant from UNDP in Liberia to boost the income generating project has also been acquired. 

 

Since the inception of this poultry and piggery program, four buildings have been constructed and over 40 blind and partially sighted persons mobilized and trained in the managing and marketing of eggs and pork meat in their respective communities for economic sustainability. The egg sales are on a commission basis. A blind or visually impaired person obtains compensation on each cart of egg sold.

 

Given that a blind person sells 5 carts of eggs a day, five days a week, he/ she obtains a commission of 25 USD weekly and 100 USD monthly.

 

However, getting and administering drugs/ medications and acquiring imported feeds or layers have been some of the challenges faced by the poultry project, though there is a huge market for the sales of eggs in Liberia, considering that almost 90% of the Liberian population are consumers of eggs, which is disproportional to the few businesses that are involved in poultry and piggery activities in the country.  Our sales of poultry eggs have now attracted many consumers including embassies and other businesses, who receive weekly supply of fresh eggs from our Poultry.   

 

NASCORP GIVES CAB ACCESS TO THE INTERNET

The National Social Security and Welfare Corporation has provided internet services to the National Resource Center for the Blind to ensure that blind students have access to the internet.  Having seen the need for the blind to have access to information technology at the resource center where education and rehabilitation services are being provided to blind persons from around the country, the president of CAB made an appeal to NASSCORP and in response to this the Director, Hon. Francis Karbah consented to provide CAB's center with internet facilities (cable and wireless) for a period of one year.

 

This kind gesture on the part of the corporation will never go forgotten as CAB will forever remain grateful  to the management for giving the blind the chance to carry out research, connect with the rest of the world and network with partners.

 

The Resource Center for the Blind is currently a home to over 30 blind and partially sighted persons being trained in orientation, mobility, ADL, braille reading and writing skills including other basic moral teachings. Most of the students are between ages 5-15 and it remains a challenge to provide feeding for the kids as some of them are dumped on the administration of the center with little or no support from parents and guardians.

The administration has over the period under review done its best to maintain the facility with the little support and income it has been able to generate.

 

There is a staff of over 15 with a majority being volunteers, while the others are paid by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Liberia. CAB also runs computer training for the blind, which still needs a lot of support.   

CAB COLLABORATES WITH WAEC AND USAID

In continuation of our strive to improve the living standard and conditions of the blind and provide them quality education and rehabilitation opportunities in Liberia for their full social inclusion, the Liberia Christian Association of the Blind on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Aid Agency for International Development (USAID)- Liberia and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), respectively to collaborate in the implementation of a one year expanded initiative project aimed at enhancing the education and rehabilitation of the blind and visually impaired.

The US $76,000.00 proposal funded by USAID is to sustain the Association's collaboration with WAEC to among other things ensure the provision of materials and equipment such as Braille Embossers and computers to revamp our Braille Press for the transcription of educational texts and materials in Braille that will enable blind and visually impaired persons to access and write the national exams annually administered by WAEC.

WAEC-Liberia is the independent examination body responsible to administer West African Exams to students in Liberia, which is a prerequisite to obtaining university/ tertiary education anywhere in West Africa.

At the end of the project, the following amongst other things would have been achieved:

h         CAB's capacity would have been built to increase mainstreamed educational programs opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons in Liberia, and expand its participation in USAID-funded programs;  

h         5 CAB staff would have been employed full time to produce educational materials in Braille;

h         CAB staff will be able to properly communicate via phone, internet and written word, through the use of modern and appropriate technology designed for the blind;

h         CAB will be able to create and maintain partnerships aimed to advocate for and mainstream the visually impaired through targeted outreach and communications activities.

 

We wish to commend Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador accredited to Liberia for her interest in the wellbeing of the blind and visually impaired in Liberia. Her closeness to this association has come a long way in enabling us to qualify for this award.

   

CAPE MESSURADO LIONS CLUB RENOVATES CAB'S DORMITORY

The Cape Mesurrado Lions Club on Saturday, December 18, 2010 turned over the renovated dormitory of CAB at the National Resource Center for the Blind.

Former Monrovia City Mayor, Ophelia Huff Saytomah, cut the ribbon to the building and made remarks. She said that CAB's President Mr. Beyan Kota should honestly consider running for the 2011 national elections, because disabled people need a voice in parliament. She praised him for the level of work done and informed him that he should continue his good works.

For his part, Mr. Kota said that the institution was grateful for the renovation done to the boy's dormitory, but there was more that was needed to be done as there exists other projects at the Center.

The President of the Club Dickson Doe said the renovation cost about 10,000.00 USD and explained that Lionism is about service to humanity and society and as such the club had to step in having seen the deplorable state of the building before the renovation.

Lions Club was also instrumental in finding a solution to the erosion problem facing CAB. She liaised with the Ministry of Public Works to ensure that trucks of dirt were brought to the site to fill up to huge hole.  

Thanks to the Cape Mesurrado Lions Club for this great support to CAB.

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks and sincere appreciation to God, first of all for His goodness and bountiful blessings through the year.

 

Our commendation is also paid to Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the National Commission on Disabilities, the African Union of the Blind (AFUB), Mr. Guillermo Aguirre and his wife who have supported CAB's program. CAB also lauds the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation under the management of Mr. Francis Karbah for providing internet connectivity service to CAB,  which has ensured that we have full access to the internet.

 

The National Commission on Disabilities in Liberia under its institutional support program made financial contribution to CAB, paid two of its employees and provided five security personnel at the Resource Center, who are currently in charge of the maintenance and security of the facilities.

 

The Association also wishes to acknowledge the extra financial contribution of some of its members in persons of Mr. Robert K. Williams, who currently serves as Acting Executive Director of the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD), Mr. James Williams, Mr. Beyan G. Kota and Mrs. Fatu C. Kota for undertaking the payment of some the employees and support staff of the Association.

 

Special thanks is extended to our teachers at the National Resource Institute for the Blind, our hard working support staff including our cooks, drivers, securities and janitors for their level of commitment to serving humanity.    

 

We also extend thanks to Mrs. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador accredited to Liberia and the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) for approving a 75,000.0 US project which will ensure that the blind have access to print materials for their social integration.