We need opportunities, not charity—Disability Board Chairman Insists
The chairman of the Governing Board of the National Council on Persons with Disability has stated that persons with disabilities do not need sympathy or charity from the public, rather, they need opportunities that would enable them to exhibit their potential.
Mr Yaw Ofori-Debrah said, "persons with disabilities need opportunities, not charity. They need understanding, not compassion. They need equality and equity, not consideration".
Mr Ofori-Debrah made the statements on Thursday, December 3, 2020, during the Maiden Disability Inclusion Summit to mark this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
He noted that "the days when disability was associated with doom and gloom are over; the days when persons with disabilities were considered as burdens on their families are no more".
According to the Board Chairman, persons with disabilities are acquiring higher education, while others are learning skills that are making them independent, with many of them being the breadwinners of their families.
He called on the public to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are recognized, accepted and respected.
Delivering the summit address on the theme, "NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE: building standards for disability inclusion and sustainable post COVID-19 Ghana", the Executive Secretary of the National Council on Persons with Disability, Lawyer Esther Akua Gyamfi, announced some activities the Council, with the supervision of the Hon. Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison, are undertaking.
They include, developing a disaggregated database on persons with disabilities. She explained that, the reliable data collection will inform policy formulation and policy direction.
The others are, reviewing the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), to reflect the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is at the drafting stage; following up on the disbursement and management of the 3% common fund for persons with disabilities with the Disability Fund Management Committees at the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
She also disclosed that the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) is being refocused to include persons with disabilities above the age of 60; and resourcing the staff strength of the Council to enhance its work.
Lawyer Akua Gyamfi further mentioned that, all the United Nations groups are seriously mainstreaming disability matters into every area of their work, because they have adopted the Disability Inclusion Strategy.
She stated that, the sustainable developed goals cannot be achieved without disability inclusion. She, therefore, called for the constant support of the disability community to contribute to the development of policies and strategies that will ensure that disability is mainstreamed at every level of development.
In a speech read on his behalf, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, acknowledged that, persons with disabilities are often marginalized and abused, adding also that their contribution to national development is not given the needed attention.
He assured that Government is committed to ensuring that persons with disabilities enjoy to the fullest, their fundamental human rights, as enshrined in the 1992 constitution; as well as ensuring that their well-being and dignity are held high in society.
Touching on the theme for the summit, President Akufo-Addo charged state institutions, organizations and individuals to consciously employ proactive measures to include persons with disabilities in every facet of the sustainable development goals; thus, educationally, economically, socially and politically, to make life more dignifying for persons with disabilities, during and after COVID-19.