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Bolga Centre for PWDs Holds Forum

2006-11-29 23:05:40
This article has been read 792 times.

Inadequate sensitisation among Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) on the recently passed Disability Act, the apparent exclusion of PWDs from the Youth in Employment Programme and the low number of PWDs appointed to District Assemblies were some of the major concerns that came up at a forum organized by the Bolgatanga Resource Centre for Persons With Disabilities on Tuesday

Themed: "To develop and Tap the Potentials and Talents of Persons With Disabilities for an All-Inclusive National Development", the forum was held in collaboration with Action on Disability and Development, a British NGO, to deliberate on issues hindering the full participation of disabled people in decision making at all levels of society.

In a keynote address read for him by Mr. Sharif Mumuni Billey of the Regional Co-ordinating Council, the Regional Minister, Mr. Boniface Gambila, said the recent passage of the Disability Act was an indication of Government's commitment to effectively address issues pertaining to the rights and dignity of PWDs in the country.

"A Government that ignores the disabled in its development agenda cannot be said to be human-centred or pursuing an all-inclusive policy agenda," said the Regional Minister.

He indicated that Government had moved further to introduce programmes that would enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities, citing the establishment of Crafts Centres for the disabled, Special Schools for educating the visually impaired, and the deaf and dumb such as that of Gbeogo in the Talensi-Nabdam District.

Mr. Gambila announced that the Regional Coordinating Council had so far contributed more than 200 million Cedis towards the extension of electricity to the Gbeogo School for the Deaf.

He added, "through its District and Municipal Assemblies the RCC has continued to provide sponsorship packages including the payment of school fees and catering for the transportation needs of PWDs in the Region to enable them to attend school without let or hindrance."

He also announced that two PWDs had won elections in their respective communities during the just-ended District Assembly polls, and expressed the RCC's satisfaction over efforts being made by PWDs in the Region to live independent and dignified lifestyles.

Mr. Isaac Kute, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ADD who had travelled over from the Organisation's headquarters in London to witness the forum, expressed delight in the realization that the Government of Ghana had moved ahead to legislate a Disability Act, an example he urged other African countries to emulate.

He observed that most governments all over the world only gave verbal recognition to the problems of persons with disabilities but did not do much to address those concerns, and commended the Ghana Government for its directive which mandates District/Municipal Assemblies to set aside 5 per cent of their Common Fund allocation to support programmes for the disabled.

"At any given time, resources would always be limited in society so what the disability movement has to do is forge ahead in a united front," the CEO pointed out. He stressed the need for the leadership of the disability movement to be strong to enable it to make government's live up to their responsibilities towards PWDs.

Mr. Andrew Naa Daware, ADD Regional Programme Officer, said even though the passage of the Disability Act was good news, PWDs could not realize its benefits unless Government showed real commitment in the full implementation of the provisions of the Act.

He urged Government to spell out clear guidelines that would channel the 5 per cent Common Fund allocation for PWDs in the district through existing Organisations working with the disabled such as ADD, to ensure that the money actually got to the intended target group.

In a welcoming speech, the Chairmen of the Bolgatanga Resource Centre for Persons With Disabilities, Mr. Richard Atia, urged Government to institute measures to ensure that PWDs were adequately catered for under the Youth in Employment Programme.

He commended the Regional Minister and ADD for their immense support to PWDs in the Region, and urged District Assemblies to appoint more disabled persons to the House.

Mr. Christopher Babooroh, Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, chaired the function. He said Government would always give priority consideration to issues of the disabled because problems of PWDs were a responsibility of the entire society.


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