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14.12.2005 Education

Government urged to compel Education Ministry to buy chalk from physically disabled

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Accra, Dec. 14, GNA - Members of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled on Wednesday appealed to the Government to compel the Ministry of Education and Sports to buy the chalk their company produced. According to them they ventured into the production of chalk as a means getting their colleagues off the streets to learn a vocation, but their efforts to get the Ministry to purchase their chalk for the public schools had proved futile.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Alexander Tetteh, National Administrator of the Society, said marketing their products had been a headache after the Ministry had rejected them. "People have been speaking ill of us when they see our people begging on the streets but what do see now? We have tried hard to get ourselves a job but we do not have people to buy our products to enable us make an income to survive." Mr Tetteh noted that the chalk they produced was of good quality, which had been tested and approved by Ghana Standards Board.

"We entered into a bid by the Ministry of Education and lost and the excuse given us was that the chalk we produced was sub-standard and that we could not also meet the required quantity to be produced in a day, which is about 30,000 packets and this is ridiculous. We even asked them to give us only 10 per cent of the supply but that was also turned down." Mr Tetteh said the factory, with staff strength of 14 physically disabled, was able to produce 240 packets of chalk a day with each box containing 100 pieces. He said the factory had five locally made machines specially designed for them to produce 100 pieces but had also acquired a bigger one which could produce about 1,500 pieces at a go. Mr Tetteh said when manufacturing chalk, one had to take into consideration the health of workers. "We use edible oil to lubricate our machines whilst others use diesel which is more harmful to human health since some school children are found of chewing chalk in class". He said efforts were being made to get some private schools to buy their products but "they also have their traditional suppliers and we are just trying hard to make a headway".

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