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17.03.2006 Regional News

Areeba donates 130 tricycles to the disabled

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Accra, March 17, GNA - Areeba, Ghana's largest mobile phone service provider, on Friday donated 130 tricycles and fixed line phones, worth 120,000 dollars to members of the Disabled Society of Ghana to operate as mobile communication centres.

Each of the phones was filled with 600,000 cedis worth of units and the disabled operators were expected to only refill their phone after the units were used out and keep the profits entirely to themselves. The 130 beneficiaries were selected by the Ministry of Employment and Manpower.

Mr Ahmed Farouk, Managing Director of Scancom Ghana Limited, operators of Areeba, said the company did not intend to recoup its initial capital from the beneficiaries but would expect them to manage the business properly and to continue to refill their phones regularly. "The business is entirely for them, we are not going to monitor them because they have become entrepreneurs and they must manage it themselves," he said.

Mr Farouk noted that Areeba was not satisfied with being the number one corporate organization in the Ghana Club 100, but was also eager to be number one in giving back to the society what it took from it. He said out of the 130 tricycles, 18 would be given to disabled persons in Kumasi, 15 each in Accra, Ho and Koforidua, 10 each in Tamale, Takoradi and Mion; nine in Sunyani and seven each in Bolgatanga and Wa and the remaining 14 would be distributed to other parts of the country.

Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communications and Technology, who presented the tricycles, noted that it was a gesture that gave the disabled an urge not only to be independent but also to contribute to the development of the country through the use of ICT. He said the Ministry had commenced drafting a special policy document entitled "Enhancing the Disabled through ICT", intended to enable players in the ICT sector to strategically plan to address the needs of the disabled in their product and service development.

Mr Kan-Dapaah appealed to major players in the ICT industry to emulate Areeba and come to the aid of the disabled in society by creating a website for them to easily access job opportunities and knowledge online instead of practically labouring around for jobs. "I wish to propose that others come to the aid of the disabled association, which is a well organized association, to help them to create a website where they can interact among themselves and the rest of the world," he said. The Minister said the Government had resolved to pass the Disability Bill, which was currently before Parliament and continued to receive inputs from stakeholders.

Mr Isaac Tetteh Adjorvu, Chief Director of the Ministry of Employment and Manpower, said the Government would ensure that the disabled in society were properly taken care of. Mr Joseph Adu Boampong, Financial Secretary of the Disabled Society of Ghana, told the GNA that the society would monitor the beneficiaries to ensure that they did not squander their capital but rather reinvested them in the business to keep it running. He said the society had a draft plan to ensure that part of the profit each beneficiary made was put into the coffers of the society to undertake its monitoring duties effectively, adding, however, that the well-being of their members was paramount.