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14.05.2005 Regional News

Minister appeals to the blind to form associations

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Sunyani, May 14, GNA - Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, the Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, on Friday urged members of the Ghana Association of the Blind to form groups to enable them to access Common Fund allocations to district assemblies. He said five per cent of the assembly's Common Fund had been set aside to assist the handicapped to establish and to expand their businesses.

The Deputy Minister was addressing members of the association at the inauguration of the Sunyani Municipal branch. He said some loan beneficiaries had refused to pay back for others to benefit and had even dared the assembly to take action against them. Mr Baffour-Awuah stated that the assembly would no longer give money to individuals but to groups that could impress on their members to pay back loans.

Mr. Eleazer Tetteh Plahar, the National President, advised members not to allow themselves to be used by other people including family members to engage in negative practices.

"The physically disabled have power and right to decide on things that can be of benefit to them and to reject attitudes that can destroy their lives."

He urged members of the association to unite and fight for the association's goals and that the association, with branches in 55 districts, was established 40 years ago to educate the blind and work for their integration in society.

Mr Augustine Kwadwo Martey, the Municipal President, expressed concern about some blind people who are still found on the streets begging for arms.

He attributed the situation to financial difficulties as a lot of those on the streets had learnt trades but were unable to establish their own businesses.

Mr Martey said such persons still depended on friends, relatives and the society for a living. "If a person is handicapped, it does not mean he cannot do anything".

He called on NGOs and individuals to support the association to enable members to acquire skills so they could also contribute to national development.

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