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16.08.2005 General News

Govt provides ¢1 billion for People With Disabilities

GNA

Manpower, Youth and Employment minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, says the Office of the President had provided ¢1 billion through the Department of Social Welfare for a micro-finance scheme for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in 20 selected districts in the country.

He said the Ministry was making additional ¢1 billion from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Fund available for the improvement of the infrastructure at various rehabilitation centres throughout the country.

The minister was speaking at a stakeholders meeting on National Disability Policy and Bill at Dodowa.

The meeting was aimed at making inputs into the Persons With Disability Bill and to outline processes needed to have the Bill passed into law.

He said the Department of Social Welfare was currently running vocational training programmes for PWDs in nine regions at 11 training centres to make them independent economically.

He said PWDs could be made productive to contribute immensely to national development, adding: "We have in our midst a number of persons with disabilities, who have made giant strides in their lives and are now contributing immensely to the national development."

Mr Adda said societies had had erroneous impressions about disability and PWDs had, therefore, been wrongly regarded as incapable of engaging in gainful employment, and observed that some belief systems continued to consider person with disabilities as objects of sympathy and pity.

He said data based on research conducted by the Department of Social Welfare indicated that the prevalence rate of disability in the country was about six per cent and explained that it was a significant proportion of the population, which the nation could not ignore.

The Minister urged families that had children with disabilities not consider that they were accursed and to stop keeping them in obscurity but rather bring them into the open to enable them to avail themselves of opportunities for healthy growth and development.

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