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03.11.2008 Social News

Benefits for persons with disabilities

Benefits for persons with disabilities

The government has initiated measures to ensure that persons with disabilities get adequate benefits from the District Assembly Common Fund.

As part of the measures, the government has directed that two per cent of the Common Fund be set aside for education and advocacy purposes to serve the needs of persons with disabilities.

The Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Nana Akomea, disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf at the 50th anniversary and graduation ceremony of the Ghana Society of the Socially Disadvantaged at the weekend in Accra.

He said the initiative was as a result of complaints received by the ministry about problems encountered in accessing the facility, adding that consultations were still ongoing to streamline access to the facility.

"Since 2005, micro-credit facilities to the tune of one billion has been extended to almost 950 persons with disability in 20 pilot districts throughout the 10 regions," he said.

The minister added that plans were far advanced to disburse more money to the rest of the districts and stressed that "this is aimed at creating equal employment opportunities for persons with disability to enable them to live in dignity".

Nana Akomea said the government implemented the National Social Protection Strategy to support and empower the extremely poor and vulnerable groups like persons with severe disabilities to access opportunities being created as a result of the growth of the economy.

According to him, the government was committed to the formulation of policies, implementation of programmes and activities geared towards the socio-economic integration and empowerment of persons with disability.

He added that the ministry, through the Department of Social Welfare, had played a supervisory role over the centre through the secondment of trained social workers, provision of technical instructors to

head institutions and also train students.

Nana Akomea said the ministry had taken keen interest in ensuring that the centre had the requisite manpower to enable it train persons with disability effectively.

He said the National Disability Council had been constituted, although it was yet to be inaugurated by the President.

The minister advised the graduates to work hard since the country's job market had become more competitive.

He called on Ghanaians to stop paying lip-service when it came to issues pertaining to disabilities and rather offer more resources to support persons with disabilities in order to enhance their well-being.

The centre, which was established in 1956 for the physically challenged who were undergoing medical rehabilitation, has since been transformed into a centre for training persons with disabilities to acquire skills and support themselves economically.

In his welcome address, the Centre Manager, Mr Eric Ohene Adjei, said the centre had trained more than 181 people, who were mostly men, in shoe making batik and tie-dye and computer literacy.

Mr Adjei said the centre, with a population of 25 trainees, was being funded by the Ghana Trust Fund and benevolent groups and individuals in society.

He expressed appreciation to all organisations and churches which were supporting the centre and said despite the assistance from donors, the centre still had few challenges and therefore called on individuals and NGOs to come to their aid.

Mr Adjei advised the graduates to use the equipment which had been donated to the centre judiciously.

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