Caritas Freetown commissions toilets and water well in Grafton
By Mohamed Konneh
With funds from Tzu Chi Foundation, Caritas Freetown has in collaboration with Healey International Foundation and Lanyi Foundation commissioned ten VIP Toilets and a water well in Grafton Community. The project which will serve mostly disable persons was conceived by the consortium “Partners to Serve Humanity comprising Tzu Chi Foundation, Healey International Relief Foundation, Lanyi Foundation and Caritas Freetown.
The commissioning witnessed the handing over of the facilities to the Polio Challenge Association at Grafton who have been suffering as a result of the lack of such facilities.
Giving the rationale of the project, Caritas Freetown Programme Manager, Ishmael Alfred Charles, said the consortium was very pleased to officially commission and hand over the submersible well to the Polio Challenge Association and the entire Grafton community because of the of the need for such facility.
He stated that the consortium had previously engaged members of the Polio Challenge Association, during which members requested for toilets and water facilities, adding that the consortium took up the request, discussed it and later agreed to reach out to their partners who later provided the funds for the construction of the said facilities.
He said the funds came from Tzu Chi Foundation while the project implementation was led by the Chief Executive Officer of Lanyi Foundation, Mrs. Philomena Yumkella.
Charles noted that the Sustainable Development Goal 6 is about "safe clean water and sanitation for all”, noting that there should be availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
“Statistics have shown that less than 3% of the world population has access to clear drinking water. It is against this backdrop that we are undertaking this project which will not only benefit the Polio Challenge Association but residents as well within the Grafton community,” he said.
Executive Director of Caritas Freetown, Rev. Fr. Peter Konteh, said the consortium, which is partnering to Serve Humanity Consortium, doesn’t discriminate between disable or able individuals as their focus is entirely on everyone who needs help, especially vulnerable and marginalized groups in society.
Father Konteh told the gathering that commissioning and handing over the water facility with three taps and 10 VIP toilets is just the beginning of big things to come.
“This is just the beginning of beginnings and I encouraged you to make good use of the facilities provided,” he said.
Chairman of the Polio Challenge Association, Ibrahim I. Kamara, expressed appreciation to the consortium for providing the facilities.
“These facilities are important and timely as we will make the best use of it. I would say I am the happiest man today for the simple fact that we now have this facility is our midst,” he said.
Mr. Kamara said it was difficult for them as physically challenged persons to have access to proper toilets and water facility as some of the toilets they used to have are now in dilapidated status.
“As persons living with disability our voices must be heard, our presence must be felt and our contribution must be recognized in society. We want assured the consortium that the facility will be taken care in order to enhance its sustainability and durability.”
Headman of the Grafton Community, Julius Mansaray, also joined the Polio Challenge Association to shower praises on the consortium for the gesture, noting that over the years the community has been challenged in terms of having standard toilet and water facilities.
In his keynote address, Director of Social Welfare at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Francis Kabia said the voice of disable persons must be heard, while applauding the consortium for the provision, which according to him, will complement government’s effort in giving disable people access to proper sanitation and safe drinking water.
He expresses happiness and added that both the toilet and water facilities are disabled friendly.
“This is good as in most cases the physical environment makes people living with disable feel the pain as most of the facilities are not disable friendly which prevent them from accessing those facilities of which he said persons who are physically okay have already rule out people living with disable to access those facilities,” he said.
He said the Ministry is very committed in addressing issues affecting vulnerable groups in the country especially people living with disability.