Tuesday, February 26, 2019

New GFD President calls for an enhanced inclusive education system

Mrs Mawunyo Yakor- Dagbah, Newly elected President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organization has called for an enhanced inclusive education system that caters for all children with disabilities

She said “pre-school education in Ghana does not make room for children born with disabilities to successfully participate in pre-school education.”

“This primarily denies the child the opportunity of building some crucial fundamental knowledge and skill sets before commencing basic education.

Mrs Yakor _Dagbah, outlining her vision to the Special Mothers Project said the GFD will engage with the Ghana Education Service and all other relevant regulatory bodies to make provisions in the entire preschool system for children with disabilities

She said, the GFD will pay attention to the overall development of children with disabilities.

“The GFD will pay attention to the development of parents support groups, will engage parents of children with disabilities and reactivate sports for children with disabilities in the various regions.
She said her team will also establish a common platform for women with disabilities.

Madam Yakor-Dagbah also called for the re-profiling of the various categories of disabilities beyond the traditional forms of disability.

“A very careful analysis of the definition of Disability in Act 715 gives a clear indication of a high concentration on those with severe disabilities, resources, programmes and various interventions are therefore made to often target those with pronounced or severe disabilities, leaving out those with mild to moderate forms of disabilities,”

Mrs Yakor-Dagbah said the re-profiling of persons with disabilities will lead to an equitable access to goods and services among all duly recognized persons with disabilities.

Department of Social Welfare commends SAFFTYD for Rehabilitation efforts

The Department of social welfare has commended the Simon Agbotsu Foundation for the Young Disabled (SAFFTYD) for their efforts to rehabilitate and train young persons with disabilities.

The SAFFTYD is a charity organisation poised to change the negative perception on disability in Ghana and empower young persons with disabilities who find themselves begging on the street to do something more meaningful

Mr Joseph Attigah, Deputy Director at the Department of social welfare told the media  that the department was happy that SAFFTYD was making efforts to help persons with disabilities in Ghana become self reliant and increase their quality of life.

He said  Non-Governmental organisations were expected to do their bit to enhance the lives of the vulnerable in society and called for more collaboration between the department and SAFFTYD to enhance the lives of the vulnerable especially persons with disabilities.

Mr Felix Agbotsu, Founder of SAFFTYD, had an accident just two years into his serving in the British Army which got him paralysed from the neck down and now a wheelchair user.

He said “once in a while, I get depressed, knowing that at one point as was able and now disabled.”

Felix Agbotsu’s foundation, SAFFTYD organises events in Ghana with the aim of gathering persons with disabilities to socialise, feast and to be empowered by some inspirational people, but most importantly to stand up to the stigmatisation they faced within society.

He said the SAFFTYD was hoping to grow disability sports in Ghana.

The organisation also has plans to start a computer training programme for persons with disabilities.

“We also want to establish a production Centre, where persons with disabilities involved in small to medium business such as soap making, tailoring, various crafts and other come together to produce and market under a strong brand,” he added.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities looks “useless”

Staff of the National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities have been warned never to grant media interviews or be open to the media.

An official who made this known to the media said they work under severe harsh conditions but it seems no one cares because children  or persons with disabilities are not given any attention by governments

None of the staff who spoke to GNA’s Hannah Awadzi gave their name, they all pleaded anonymity saying, “we have been warned not to speak to any media personnel nor invite the media here for anything, we are told to be tight lipped.”

One of them said “Madam, you can see for yourself, we can not talk to you on our conditions of service or what pertains here but I will be happy if you write about it.”

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, a journalist with the Ghana News Agency and also the Founder of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme on Cerebral palsy issues had gone to the Centre to have an assessment done for her daughter who has Cerebral Palsy.

She said “when I got there, I engaged the staff in a conversation, knowing the frustrations most parents go through to have their children assessed with no efficient results.”

Most children with Cerebral palsy assessed at the Centre are not placed in any school with the excuse that they are not toilet trained, parents pay so much for psychological test and the assessment but in the end the whole process seems useless so most parents are reluctant to go  through the assessment process.

Most children with Cerebral palsy are kept at home, some locked up when the parents are going to work and some killed because schools in Ghana do not admit children with Cerebral palsy.

The National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities is under the supervision of the Special Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service. Its primary function is to assess children with disabilities throughout the country and place them in appropriate schools.

Usually even after the assessment, children with Cerebral palsy are refused admission even with a letter and an assessment report from the Centre.

The Centre was established to provide avenues for early identification and detection of childhood disabilities and transfer them to Special Schools to gain education.

Ghana adopted an Inclusive Education policy about six years ago, the policy states among others that no child should be rejected or refused access to education based on disability.

However, only about one percent of children with Cerebral palsy are lucky to have access to education and even the one percent pays about thrice what a regular child pays to access education, even though on paper children with disabilities are supposed to have free education.

A contract to build a new National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities was awarded to Rock Everest Company in 2012 after media reports on their dilapidated wooden structure which posed danger to both the staff and patrons of the place by the Ministry of Education through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND)

The building which was scheduled to be completed in six months have been abandoned by the contractor.

The staff work from an uncompleted building where hawkers also come to rest for shelter when they are tired. Currently, there are no windows and the staff hang rubber mats to protect themselves from the sunlight.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

DESO Supports Special Mothers Project with wheelchairs

The Disabled Equipment Sent Overseas (DESO) a UK based organization that collects and recycle disabled eqiupment to Ghana has donated wheel chairs  to some mothers of children with cerebral palsy

The wheel chairs  given to the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme on cerebral palsy that also serves as a parents support group for children with cerebral palsy is to help enhance and make life a bit easy for the parents

Ms Mavis Hyde, Founder of DESO, during a presentation ceremony said her organization collects  and recycle  disabled equipment  that ordinarily would be disposed off and send to Ghana where persons with disabilities lack basic mobility equipment

She said some of the wheel chairs where a donation from some families raising children with disabilities in the UK whose children have outgrown the equipment

Members of the Special Mothers mainly from the Volta region benefitted from the gesture

DESO also presented a laptop to  Mr Yorn Emilson, an 18 Year old gentleman with cerebral palsy who has never been to school but is able to write and type with his legs

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Founder and Executive Director of the Special Mothers Project, who recieved the equipment, expressing gratitude, called on the government to pay attention to the needs of families raising children with cerebral palsy

She said: "Elsewhere hospitals will have been equipped  to provide families with the needed mobility equipment and other necessary support services and systems, in Ghana families bear the total burden of care, catering  for a child with Cerebral palsy or disability for that matter."

Mrs Awadzi said society has a role to play in enhancing the lives of families raising children with cerebral palsy