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05.12.2007 Business & Finance

Cultural factors undermining development of disabled

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Persons with disabilities in the Jirapa/Lambussie District have identified superstition and lack of education as some of the cultural factors that had compelled them to develop dependency syndromes.

Similarly, negative attitude and behaviour of able bodied persons towards them had also made some of them to look inferior, develop a sense of resignation, have a feeling of isolation and exclusion from the society.

These challenges have undermined the overall development of persons with disabilities thereby making it difficult for them to live better and decent lives.

Mr. Clement Bawellepuori, Chairman of the Resource Centre Steering Committee of the Organisation of Persons with Disabilities made these known at this year's United Nations International Day celebration of the Disabled at Jirapa.

The Day was on the theme: "Decent work and job opportunities for persons with disabilities in Ghana".

Mr. Bawellepuori called on traditional authorities and non-governmental organisations to work towards addressing these negatives cultural practices to pave way for disabled persons to develop their full potentials and contribute to national development.

He urged government to give its full commitment to United Nations Conventions to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, pointing out that the millennium goals for the eradication of poverty would not be achieved if disabled persons were not involved in that process.

He said exclusion of disabled persons had led to their suffering from chronic poverty with little opportunity of breaking through the poverty cycle.

Mr. Bawellepuori called on authorities at the Jirapa/Lambussie District Assembly to open a separate account and put their two percent share of the common fund into it to benefit its members.

Mr. Bamuah Tahiru, Upper West Assistant Programme Officer of Action on Disability and Development, an NGO expressed regret that the inclusion of disabled persons in the policy making process had not changed the attitude and perceptions of some stakeholders in the country.

He said some stakeholders had often overlooked disabled persons in the mainstream development work and treat them as recipients of welfare services rather than as people with equal rights to participate and contribute to society.

"We view disability equality in a similar way to a gender perspective. The rights and needs of disabled children and adults need to be considered during programmes design, implementation, and review," he pointed out.

Responding to the theme, Mr. Tahiru said disabled persons are always seen to best fit as baby sitters, family security or receptionists. Parents prefer to invest in their able children's education or livelihood skills to the detriment of the disabled children.

He called on government to implement the disability law and establish a national council on disability and give serious consideration to the representation of disabled persons at all levels of decision-making.

Mr. Justin B. Dakorah, District Chief Executive for the area assured them of the assembly's support for them to benefit from government's interventions to enable them contribute their quota to national development.