Persons With Diabilities

In some of my earlier posts I have dealt with issues that are dear to my heart but none is more dear to me than the issue of persons with disability (PWDs).

The politicians always irk me but hey, I don’t care because inasmuch as people sit on air to rave about the corrupt practices from one government to the next, nothing will really be done. This is because politics is now the focal point, and festering ground, of getting rich quick in our black continent of Africa, Ghana being no exception.

However in the case of persons with disability, it is obvious that when you fight for them, you see visible changes in their situation and that alone is good enough knowing you have contributed to another person’s well being.

Why do you think corporate entities roll out programs costing large sums of money to give to disadvantaged people in society. It is not only their social responsibility but also it helps them win compassion from their intended clients. A person will feel better knowing that part of his/ her money will later on be used to cater for disabled people in some community somewhere thus patronising a particular corporate entity.

So I find myself sitting in at a workshop on community development especially with regards to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the community. At the worship, PWDs are sensitized that like any other person they have rights too and they can demand for their rights. They have a rights to legal aid, police protection, any public utility or facility and a whole lot more like any other cirizen.

A resource person stressed that community and therefore national development shouldn’t exclude PWDs. To this effect, social facilities and amenities should be provided for PWDs. In other articles I have expressed the lack of ramps and other facilities in public buildings to cater for the disabled. This is worrisome and it is important that city engineers take note and make amends.

It was stressed at the workshop that education is very important. PWDs should try to get themselves educated so that they know what is going on in society and be able to make informed decisions about issues relating to them.

In the Sagnarigu District in Tamale, most of the schools are located. The Education Ridge, which hosts almost all levels of education in the region is located in the district and as such PWDs in the district should take advantage and sign into available education programs.

Disability is not inability!

A very important lesson learnt was that global development in recent times is about linking people who will provide development and those who will receive development amenities. It is a time not to be selfish but development now involves sharing resources. Resource persons reiterated the importance of PWDs coming together as a force, through their association to demand for disability rights.

One resource person called for PWDs to “Raise Your Voice” for yourself.

The resource person stressed that advocacy is perseverance and persistence. The Disability Association needs to find ways to get itself heard at committee levels or high profile meetings where all the stakeholders are usually present.

Personally, I think this is a lesson that doesn’t apply only in this situation but I have adopted it into my proposal writing lifestyle. Perseverance and persistence are the keys to success.

There were other resource persons at the workshop on various topics including loans for business ventures, the district common fund and how it applies to PWDs and how they can assess it and many more.

Generally, it was intriguing seeing persons with different disabilities – blind, deaf, dumb and lame – and managers sit in one hall to have an interactive session on the way forward.

In the wake of Madiba’s funeral, with all the signing going on, (for the deaf) I had a smile on my face the whole time just wondering how much of it was fake and if any of them was schizophrenic. Obviously with the intensity of signing away all around me, well, who is to say.

Disability has always been an issue very dear to my heart and sitting in a program like this – even though it’s partly in dagbani – makes my heart skip with joy. There should be more programs like this nationwide and I do commend whoever organized it to keep it up.

Furthermore, it is high time stakeholders took notice that PWDs are part of the community and development should involve them.

Politicians! They have thumbs too! Watch out!



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