22.09.2004 Regional News

GNTF presents equipment to disabled

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Koforidua, Sept. 22, GNA - The Ghana National Trust Fund (GNTF) has presented assorted equipment worth sixteen million cedis to ten physically- challenged persons at Koforidua on Tuesday. The items included sets of carpentry, dressmaking and shoemaking tools to the beneficiaries, who had completed training in those trades, which were sponsored by the Fund.

A board member of the Fund, Mr Ben K. Johnson, who made the presentation, said the rationale behind the Fund was to support the physically challenged persons in society to be self-employed to ensure their living conditions as other Ghanaians.

He said similar presentations had been made to about 60 physically challenged in the Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong-Ahafo, Central and the Volta regions in the effort to get them out of the streets begging.

Mr Johnson who expressed concern about reports that some beneficiaries abandoned their tools or sold them for no other reason than to get back to the streets for begging, charged the Social Welfare officials to help check those abuses.

He noted that most of the physically challenged persons were on the streets because despite the efforts of the Fund in trying to improve their standard of living, the public was not monitoring them, saying "if those we had provided with skills and capital over the years, had been monitored, it would have changed the perception of those still on the streets".

The Regional Director of Social Welfare, Mr Michael Quaye appealed to the public and the media, especially, to put a searchlight on those beneficiaries to ensure that the intended purpose for the donations was achieved.

He advised the beneficiaries not to look down upon their own ability to utilize the skills and training they had benefited to enhance their economic well-being.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Francis Osafo-Mensah assured the physically challenged of government's determination to pursue their cause under the community-based rehabilitation programme so that they could lead normal life as the physically well to do.

He, therefore, advised the beneficiaries to put their skills and tools to good use and not return to begging on the streets, which he said, would cast a slur on the aim of the programme.

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