New funding disability advocates' 'dream'

New financial assistance for people with disabilities in the Government’s new budget is a blessing but also the fruit of many years of advocacy, the General Manager of Nuanua o le Alofa (N.O.L.A) says.

(N.O.L.A. is the country’s premier organisation for advocating for the rights and equal opportunities of persons with disabilities in Samoa.)

During the Government's response to the budget debate, the Minister of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D), Leota Laki Leota, said the new Government's focus would be to provide development assistance to the social sector.

The statement of intent was backed up with other grants provided by the new Government for the disability benefit, totalling $3 million this fiscal year.

The N.O.L.A General-Manager Mataafa Faatino Utumapu told the Samoa Observer on Wednesday the new funding announcement was a dream come true for the organisation.

"And it is actually a fruit of many years of advocacy to ensure that persons with disabilities can access social protection measures," Mataafa said.

"However I cannot comment on the budget allocation though because it has not been decided yet as to how the funding will be distributed."

She said that they have been heavily involved in the design of social protection through other projects.

"And it is indeed the same model that we will base our advice on and given the rising increase of persons with disabilities as a result of other communicable and non-communicable diseases, let alone those who will all of a sudden come on board as a result of the social protection mechanism that will be attached by being a person with a disability," she said.

 

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