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07.01.2006 Business & Finance

Large quantities of locally manufactured chalk lying idle

By GNA

Accra, Jan 7, GNA- An approach made by the Ministry of Manpower, Employment and Youth last year, to the Ministry of Education to give a standing order to schools to buy a quota of chalk manufactured by the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled has gone unfulfilled. Large quantities of the chalk, duly certified by the Ghana Standards Board, are therefore lying at the Accra Rehabilitation Centre. Mr Peter Obeng-Asamoah, Programmes Officer of the Ghana Society for the Blind, said the case about the chalk defeated the fundamental issue of providing a way to keep People with Disabilities (PWD's) off the streets and to give them a chance to contribute to national development.

Mr Obeng-Asamoah made the point in a paper on: "Recognising and Utilising the Capabilities of People With Disabilities for National Development," at the 57th Annual New Year School, organised by the Institute of Adult Education (IAE), and taking place at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Participants at the School, an annual extra mural training programme of the IAE, are broadly discussing the development of the Ghanaian human resource in the acceleration of national development. Mr Obeng-Asamoah said PWDs were ready to be developed, and it was necessary that Government and the private sector created the enabling environment within which the PWDs could realise their full potentials.

He lauded the National Disability Bill, as a move to bring all section of the population on board to contribute their quota to national development.

Mr Obeng-Asamoah called for serious investments to be made into the development of the PWDs, stressing appropriate training, adequate technical aid and necessary support services to increase their capabilities to deal with the tasks and challenges in life in a dignified manner.

Mr Charles Appiagyei of the Ghana Federation of the Physically Disabled, said about 10 per cent of the Ghanaian population were PWD's as a result of physical impairments, diseases and malnutrition. Mr Appiagyei called for a change in attitude towards PWD's to give them social recognition and acceptance to enable them enjoy their fundamental rights to employment and easy access to buildings. He proposed a National Disability Solidarity Week, an initiative from Mali, to create a platform for discussion on issues affecting the disabled, and urged the actors working on the Disability Bill to expedite action on it.

Mrs Frema Osei-Opare, Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment, said last year, Government implemented a one billion- cedi micro credit scheme for PWD's, piloted in 20 districts in all the 10 regions.

She said the amount was likely to be increased up to five billion cedis to cover all the 138 districts.

So far 400 persons with disabilities were accessing the facility through identified rural banks in the selected districts. The Deputy Minister said her outfit and its relevant social partners had almost completed a National Social Protection Policy, meant to prevent and provide mitigation into situations that made people disadvantaged excluded and vulnerable.

The Ministry had also included the study of disability in the curriculum of all Nursing Training Colleges and other health training institutions.

The Deputy Minister challenged parents to accept their wards with disabilities and give them the necessary attention. Mrs Osei-Opare expressed concern about the lack of data on disability and announced that the National Identification Authority had initiated a process to include all persons in the national registration exercise.

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