Loto Taumafai celebrates International Disability day

Samoa joined in the commemoration of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on Friday with an Open Day at the Loto Taumafai compound in Vaitele on Friday. 

Loto Taumafai is the national society for People with Disabilities. It was established in Apia in 1989. 

Their mission focuses mainly on providing education and quality services that maximise opportunities for people with disabilities to reach their full potential. 

Its main activities include educational services; early intervention and support services and vocational training. 

Friday’s open day was hosted by the organisation’s staff and students.

The event was commissioned with a devotion by Reverend Salesulu of the Vailele E.F.K.S. 

He encouraged parents to continue the caring they were providing to their children and emphasising that disability was something to be visible, not hidden away. 

Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, the Minister of Women, Community and Social Development delivered the keynote address on Friday.

The commemoration coincides with Samoan civil society’s efforts towards 16 days of activism that will conclude on International Human Rights Day on 10 December. 

In his address, Tuitama thanked the Chairman of the Loto Taumafai Society, Tagaloasa Sala Matafeo, and his staff for their ongoing efforts to raise the school’s standards for catering for the needs of Samoa’s children with disabilities.

Parents and distinguished guests were treated to a tour of the school following refreshments and entertainment from the children.

Each room was decorated with the children’s spread of artworks, pot plants, printed fabrics, as well as carved wood by the vocational department of the school.

The day is to be celebrated as an occasion for all to participate in, the World Health Organisation announced in a statement onThursday, with the theme: “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 World”

The theme for this year’s celebration reflects a growing understanding that disability is part of the human condition.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a United Nations initiative that was begun in 1992. 

It is observed with the stated aim of raising awareness of disability issues and mobilising support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with a disability. 

In the lead-up to the day the Tiapapata Art Centre ran a training programme focusing on drawing and design for members of the national Persons with Physical Disabilities Association.

The programme focused intensively in teaching arts and crafts and was part of the activities leading up to Thursday's comemoration. 

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