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01.04.2004 General News

"Assist the Disabled to Become Independent"

By GNA

Bolgatanga, March 31, GNA - Action on Disability and Development (ADD), an international NGO with a branch in the Upper East Region, on Wednesday appealed to District Assemblies to include the disabled in vulnerable groups that they assist. "Disabled people are part of the poor and if given the chance to work and generate income, they would not only be independent but also contribute to national development".

Mr. Andrew Naa Dawari, ADD programme officer, made the appeal in Bolgatanga during a one-day workshop on awareness creation on disability organized by ADD for media personnel and organizations that are interested in the welfare of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

The workshop, was to sensitize participants on the special problems and needs of PWDs and also solicit their support in promoting the interest of the disabled.

He said the disabled formed a significant part of the country's population and that their deformities should not be regarded as a tragedy, nor should they be relegated to the background. "When they remain unskilled and forgotten, they would continue to draw on the national resources without being able to make any contribution". Mr. Dawari also appealed to Parliament to pass the Disability Bill, noting that it would not help only PWDs but the government as well.

Mr. James Fankey, Assistant Programme Officer of ADD said PWDs are capable of doing one thing or another but that society continues to make them feel disabled from infancy, which makes it difficult for them to want to do things for themselves. He asked parents and relatives of PWDs to see and treat them as people capable of doing things for themselves and give them the chance to be independent.

"If society could change positively, it will be of great benefit to everybody, for the disabled do not need excessive sympathy which kills their initiatives, rather they want genuine respect," he added. Mr. Fankey called for designs of all buildings to be made disabled-friendly to afford all persons easy access. He suggested to the Ghana Education Service to consider the possibility of integrating disabled children into normal schools, saying, "we don't want to be isolated."

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