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18.10.2005 Regional News

President of Joni and Friends to visit Ghana

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Accra, Oct.18, GNA- Mrs Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and President of the US- based Joni and Friends, a global charity organisation that supports the rehabilitation of disabled persons, would pay a six-day official visit to Ghana.

The visit of Mrs Tada a disability advocate, who became a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair as a result of a diving accident in 1967 spans Wednesday October 19 to Monday October 24, 2005. She championed the passing of US disability law when she served on the National Council on Disability for three - and- half years. Mrs Tada is also collaborating with Echoing Hills Village, Ghana, a 32-bed residential facility at Okpojo in the Greater Accra Region that supports disabled people.

Mr William Doe Agbeti, Executive Administrator of the Village made this known during a press soiree in Accra on Monday. He said Mrs Tada would pay a courtesy call on President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday October 21, and Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, Minister of Manpower Development and Social Welfare.

She would address a forum of about 500 disabled people in Accra on Saturday October 22 and Pastor's and Seminary Students Conference on Monday October 24.

Mr Agbeti said Mrs Tada a Painter and Author had supplied over 6,000 wheel chairs to disabled persons in Ghana free of charge. He said Echoing Hills Village; founded 10 years ago had been provided with a medical centre and equipment by Lions and Rotary clubs, two international charity organisations for the upkeep of residents. The Executive Administrator expressed the need for Ghana to speed up the promulgation of the law on disability to facilitate structural and other appropriate means of catering for the disabled. Mr Agbeti said there were about 650 million disabled persons worldwide with two million of the figure in Ghana.

"People with disabilities can form the biggest country in the world besides China and India and in Ghana they can form the biggest region. This shows that the situation we are dealing with is not a joke." Mr Buddy Busch, President of Echoing Hills International, said the visible infrastructural development in Ghana should have a positive impact on the upkeep and care of the disabled and people working to make that possible.

He said his organisation is a Christian organisation that seeks to bring hope for the hopeless and prepare them for eternal life. 18 Oct. 05