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18.10.2005 Regional News

Seminar for the physically challenged held in Sekondi

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Sekondi Oct. 18, GNA - Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of the Interior and Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi, on Tuesday said the government would assist physically challenged people who want to learn some trade through the district assemblies.

This was contained in a speech read on his behalf at a one-day seminar for the physically challenged and pastors of churches at Sekondi.

The seminar was organised by the Foundation for the Physically Challenged (FOPAC) and Joni and Friends, an advocacy group for the disabled based in the United States.

It was under the theme: "Involving the Disabled in the Church and Society: Being an Active Member".

Papa Owusu-Ankomah asked the churches and non-governmental organisations to complement efforts of the government to make life meaningful for the physically challenged.

He said the Disability Bill was before Parliament and cautioned against actions such as careless driving, armed robbery and galamsey operations that could bring permanent disability to persons. Papa Owusu-Ankomah further urged the churches and the society to involve the physically challenged in their activities. He said church buildings and public buildings should be constructed in such a way that would offer easy access to the physically challenged. Mr Benjamin Otoo, Shama-Ahanta District Director of the Department of Social Welfare, said community-based rehabilitation of the disabled was now preferred to institutional training.

He said community-based training offered a wider range of marketable skills than institutional training. Mr Otoo said community-based training involved the government, the community and the family.

Professor David Anderson, Director of Special Education at the Bethel University at Minnesota in the United States, said many churches did not reach out to the physically challenged in their outreach ministries.

He said one objective of the seminar was to offer pastors the means of involving the physically challenged in their ministries and programmes.