01.06.2005 Regional News

People with disabilities suffer social setbacks in Ho

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Ho, June 1, GNA- About 60 per cent of disabled women in the Ho Municipality do not know that they are entitled to civil and human rights as citizens, a survey has indicated.

The survey revealed that some families, especially mothers- in -law encourage their sons to abandon their disabled wives and children they bear with them.

The Volta Physically Challenged Independent Group (VOLPHIG), a non-governmental organisation for the physically challenged, conducted the survey, which was sponsored by IBIS Foundation-Ghana, under its Good Governance and Human Rights Programme. The exercise, which covered 100 disabled women in 36 communities, said there was public perception that an able bodied man marrying a disabled woman would bring shame and extra financial burden to the family.

The survey disclosed that disabled women in the municipality suffered from high rate of divorce, poor access to public places and services, low wages, marginalisation within families, while most men who impregnate them refuse responsibility. Others are, family neglect and denial of legal rights to family property, unlawful custody of children by husbands and discrimination against their children.

Physically challenged people also attract disrespect in society, lack of attention to their means of mobility and the charging of high lorry fares in respect of wheel chairs and cycles by commercial drivers. In reaction to the findings, presented at a press conference in Ho on Tuesday, Ms Laina Alai, Regional Director of the National Council on Women and Development, said discrimination against physically challenged women were due to ignorance arising out of traditional perceptions. She therefore called on society to protect the interests of the physically challenged because anyone could be in their situation at any time.

Mrs Veronica Afedu, Women Coordinator of VOLPHIG said the group would not relent its efforts to improve the lives of physically challenged persons in the Region.

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