His Excellency Dr. Morie Komba Manyeh, Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, graced a Gala & Dinner event hosted by Disabled International UK/Sierra Leone (DIF- UK/SL.), an organisation which is engaged in building schools and supporting orphanages in Sierra Leone and which has, over the years, won several international awards.

The fundraising occasion, which was also a celebration of the 25th anniversary of DIF-UK/SL, was held in the glitzy halls of the Rafayal hotel, on the idyllic banks of London’s Thames River. It attracted guests from different parts of the United Kingdom as well as from Europe and the United States of America.

Dr Manyeh, in his capacity as Distinguished Grand Chief Patron on the night, praised “the relentless efforts” of the DIF- UK/SL in “helping to strengthen our better national narrative”.

Dr. Manyeh paid special tribute to Madam Imambay Kadie Kamara, the President and founder of the DIF- UK/SL, for staunchly and consistently championing the cause of the disabled, and he expressed delight at noticing the close alignment of the driving themes of the occasion- Education, Healthcare and Agriculture- to the established vision of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio.

The High Commissioner maintained that when President Bio underscores the values and virtues of Human Capital Development, “the works of Sierra Leoneans like Madam Imambay Kadie Kamara gives breathe and depth to this vision “.

The High Commissioner further pointed out that “true development only comes about when a country is blessed with a healthy collection of people who decide to step forward and be counted, for the right reasons.”

The High Commissioner hailed the level of self-sacrifice involved in dedicating one’s life to helping “people with different abilities” and fighting to better the lives of those who happen to be less fortunate in society.

Dr. Manyeh ended his speech by encouraging the audience to support “societal champions” like Madam Imambay Kamara, in their passionate quest to help others.

Among the distinguished guests present were Cllr. Doris Jiagge, Mayor of Enfield; Dr. Robbie Motter, Chairman GTS; Prof. Caroline Makaka, President of Ladies of All Nation’s International; the Sierra Leonean film Director, Producer and Actor, Mr. Collins Archie-Pearce; and Mr. Hassan Krayem, CEO of Jumbo UK Limited. Mr. Krayem, who was born in Sumbuya, Southern Sierra Leone, reminded the gathering that disability covers not just physical but mental and psychological challenges, the latter of which, he insisted, runs far deeper. He however encouraged the public to “look beyond the disabilities and see the person”, insisting that people should completely discard the negative labels unfairly attached to certain sectors of society and offer help instead of displaying dismissive attitudes or outright condemnation.

The spirit-lifting occasion also marked the grand launching of a book by Madam Imambay Kamara. ‘In the Footsteps of My Mother’ is a sobering work of prose dedicated to the author’s late mother, reflecting on the virtues she garnered from her life and how that experience informed her own world view and still directs her actions.