THE ASHANTI Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Mr. Pascal Osei Twumasi, has charged civil societies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and philanthropists, to contribute meaningfully to ensure the smooth implementation of the People with Disability Act.
He threw the challenge during the presentation of 250 wheelchairs to the Kumasi Rehabilitation Center at Edwenase, by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, observing that the implementation of the Disability Act 715, which gives equal rights to people with disabilities, involves a lot of funds and commitments that the government alone cannot shoulder.
He said it had therefore become imperative that individuals, civil society groups, and other stakeholders complement the efforts of the government, by assisting rehabilitation centers and homes with the statutory provisions in the Act.
The Regional Director noted that when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) assumed power in 2001, it made the care of People with Disabilities one of its major priorities, and introduced a number of directives, including the devoting of parts of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) to support the activities of the disabled.
He stated further that in 2005, the government set aside over GH¢200,000 as seed capital to selected People with Disabilities (PWDs) in Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies through the APEX Bank, adding that presently a number of disabled people in the country were being cared for, under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.
He said notwithstanding this, many disabled people continued to live under strenuous conditions, a situation, which according to him, makes the involvement of corporate bodies and other civil society groups a necessity, in ensuring the implementation of the Act.
The Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare therefore commended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the kind gesture, and noted that the donation would go a long way in integrating the disabled into society and make them self-sufficient.
The Director in-charge of the Latter Day Saints Charities, the body responsible for the donation and distribution of items, Elder Charles Millet, said the donation formed part of the church's humanitarian services offered to the disabled and disaster victims across the world.
He stated that last year, the church provided over 60,000 wheelchairs to disabled people, and responded to disasters in 52 countries, with over 4 million people benefiting from relief items donated by the church.
Elder Millet however pointed out that this was the second time the church was presenting items to disable people in Ghana, as a similar donation of 250 wheelchairs was made last year to the rehabilitation centre.
Similar presentations have also been made in the Greater Accra and Central regions by the Latter Day Saints Charities.