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As Amputees get Office… 1,138 war victims to get social security allowances

Excerpts from Awoko newpaper.

It was at the official opening of the newly built and first of its kind office yesterday at Aberdeen Road, when information of social security allowance about to be ditched out to amputees was received with thunderous applause by amputees who suffered the brunt of the 11 year civil war.
Amadu Bangura who is NaCSA’s Programme Manager for Reparation while making a keynote remark in addressing the conditions of the amputees has said that the government, in its effort to actualized recommendations made in the Truth and Reconciliation Report, is mapping out ways to ensure that amputees receive pension or social security benefit starting next year.
While according praises on the ultramodern structure put in place by the Norwegian Friends of Sierra Leone, the Programme Manager said that they as government parastatal working to ensure the social livelihood of the amputees will use the avenue to reach out to programmes, especially those that are geared towards the welfare of amputees in the country.
He said they as stakeholders are seriously concerned with their welfare bearing in mind the deplorable conditions of the amputees since the war came to an end. He said the benefits will be given to enable them address their domestic problems of various sort.
Mr. Bangura added that while they remain committed to addressing those issues that led to the 11 year war, they are not equally oblivious of those who face its brutality, and will always do bring programmes that will appease their plights.
Earlier on, Mr. Bangura explained, the amputees and war wounded received some assistance in the sum of Le 300,000 each in 2009. He said in 2011, they specifically gave the amputees Le 9,040.500 each and starting from June this year all those who had not received before are going to benefit in the sum of Le 300,000 each. But he noted that they have been addressing other needs of the amputees including health, removal of bullets, attending to gynecological problems and proving other facilities. The Country Director of Norwegian Friends of Sierra Leone, Ms. Elise Schanke while commending the government for “the collaborative role” it has played over the years, declaring that seven hundred houses have been handed over to members of the Amputees and War Wounded Association.
Handing over the “special house” Ms. Schanke declared, “Today, a special house, an office, is going to be handed over to the association; and the office is a gift from the board of the Norwegian Friends”, adding, “now I have the board and the donor with me, I wish that this office can serve as a platform for peace and reconciliation.”
As a way of motivating the amputees for their tolerance and perseverance over the years, Ms. Schanke noted that from the first day of the project, the amputees have always been involved and that she does not look upon the beneficiaries as war victims but survivors, considering the fact that they have been able to manage their lives and fight for their rights, against violence where the need arises since the end of the war.
The President of the Amputees and War Wounded Association Edward Conteh said that he was overwhelmed with the facilities provided for them as, according to him, the project has been his aspiration since he was elected.
He maintained that the office would be used as a place to strategize their activities specifically those that are geared towards development, addressing the concerns of the membership and reaching out to local and international organizations for assistance.
Mr. Conteh revealed that processes leading to the construction of the office were not an easy task; taking into account meeting the demands of the donor and securing documents that are of relevance in putting up an office. The office therefore, upon conclusion, has three rooms, a conference room three toilets, a store, a kitchen store and a kitchen.
However, the ceremony yesterday was attended by amputee group representatives from all over the country who expressed delight over the new structure they have acquired. But concerns were made clear on their time frame of their social security allowances which they loudly stated is too long. Some of them, while Mr. Bangura made mentioned of their benefits said that the government has been given them false dates for their benefits. But they all expressed hope that the date this time around would be one to reckon with.
By Poindexter Sama