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Disabled Persons Call For Level Playing Field

Editor's Note: This article is reprinted from Ghana Web, Africa, September 9, 2005.

Cape Coast (GNA),Mr. James Boakye Mensah, the National President of the youth and students wing of the Ghana Association of the Blind (GAB), has said the visually impaired have been denied a level playing field to enable them to develop their potentials to contribute to nation building.

He said, although about 0.5 percent of employment opportunities in every establishment was supposed to be reserved for the disabled in general, this has not been implemented because no legal backing has been given.

Mr. Mensah said this at the opening of the 13th annual delegates congress of the youth and students wing of the GAB at Cape Coast under the theme "challenges faced by blind and partially sighted youth towards nation building".

He said he was hopeful that such difficulties would be overcome when the Disability Bill is passed into law and called for more public education on the bill to ensure that all persons with disabilities are brought abreast of its provisions.

Mr. Mensah gave the assurance that the association was poised to "clear all impediments" in the way of its members to enhance their contribution to national development.

Mr. Philip Bediako, the National Vice President of the GAB, said some visually impaired persons were shying away from society because they viewed their situation as "hopeless" and therefore failed to acquire any education or skill.

He said there was the need for them to discard this notion and endeavour to acquire the requisite education and skills to contribute to the development of their communities and of the nation.

Mr. Bediako said negative public perception about the disabled and lack of educational and social infrastructure to facilitate their development also hindered their development.

Mr. Joe Mantey, National Youth Council coordinator, said the International Labour Organization and the Department of Social Welfare were working on job creation programmes for people with disabilities and urged all such persons to avail themselves when the programme takes off. Mr. Jonathan Asare, the chairman of the Central Region branch of the youth and students wing, appealed to district assemblies to ensure that the disabled easily access the five percent of their common funds, which has been stipulated for them.