On 21st March 2020, the Dorothy Springer Trust (DST) conducted interviews of applicants for the Basic Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Level 2 program. It was a marathon event, starting at 7:30am. 16 candidates travelled from across the Sierra Leone to attend – from Bo, Makeni, Moyamba, as well as the capital Freetown. Candidates have a range of different types of disabilities: mobility, visual hearing impairments, kyphosis and amputee.
All this happened in the midst of the growing global threat of COVID-19. DST took all the necessary precautions and carefully followed Government guidelines. It brought back memories of DST delivering training to people with disabilities (PWDs) during the 2015/16 Ebola epidemic.
Ten candidates were successful. They will be given training in hardware and software, with life skills in internet and social media, and employability skills training. This training is completely free of charge, and DST will also provide candidates with funds for the duration to cover expenses such as travel to the training and other necessities. The training is planned to commence in the first week of April.
DST has a proven track recorded of supporting PWDs through training and advocacy for them to gain employment or further their education. Over the past ten years, we have trained 80 people, with 75% now in employment or full-time education. This is a great success rate, in a country where at best only 30% of people with disabilities have any form of income.
It will cost around £250 to train each student. Can you help support this? You can donate easily via our Virgin Money Giving account, on the ‘Get Involved’ page of our website.
Our Freetown Office DST ‘Opportunities House’ is being put to great use as a base for a community-based rehabilitation project, supporting 115 children with disabilities and their families from across Freetown and surrounding areas. Activities include the provision of health equipment and medication, learning materials, funding and transport to schools. DST are also supporting the delivery of specialist vocational skills and IT training, readying young people with disabilities for the workplace. The rehabilitation project is funded by the Lilliane Foundation, in partnership with the Freetown Cheshire Home and One Family People (OFP).