Mr Albert Asmah, a member of the Ghana Federation of Persons with Disability Associations (GFPD) has appealed to the public to ensure environmentally friendly systems to help Persons with Disabilities to fully participate in the country’s developmental agenda.
He said there was the need for a paradigm shift in reforms to break barriers in societal systems, and attitudinal and environmental hindering the growth and improvement of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Mr Asmah made the appeal at a two-day training workshop organised by The PyskForum in collaboration with Hope For Future Generation (HFFG), with funding from UKaid through the “Ghana Somubi Dwumadie Programme”
The workshop was organised for selected members from Self -Help Groups (SHGs) and Disability Organisations (DPOs) including people with mental health conditions in five selected districts within the Central Region.
The selected districts are Ekumfi, Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese (AAK), Komenda -Edina Eguafo- Abrem (KEEA), and Awutu Senya East and Akumako- Enyan- Essiam (AEE).
He called on Ghanaians to appreciate, protect and support PWDs as a failure of society to recognise their efforts and potential contributed to their inability to contribute to national development.
“Society has to appreciate their potential and provide them with the opportunities to help to achieve their capabilities and become economically independent.”
Nana George Frimpong, the Central Regional President of GFPD urged participants to strengthen coordination among themselves, provide regulatory oversight, work closely with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) and other relevant state institutions to ensure compliance with the existing legislation and benefits of PWDs
Article 12(2) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana, he noted, guaranteed the fundamental human rights and freedom of individuals including PWDs.
Also, Article 29, spells out the rights of PWD and in pursuance of the constitutional provision of the Republic, National Disability Policy was formulated in 2000 and the Disability Act (Acts 715), was enacted in 2006.
Nana Frimpong noted that people tend to infringe, molest, and discriminate against them because they were unaware of their rights.
Ms Vivian Ama Aubyn, a Board Member of The PyskForum said the training was to equip the participant’s requisite knowledge to advocate and champion the course of their members effectively.
It also sought to create a positive culture of support to allow people with disabilities including persons with mental health conditions to reach their full potential.
The workshop would help increase the use of positive disability and mental health language in the country.
Ms Aubyn said the training formed part of a three-year project embarked on by some organisations to help reduce stigma and discrimination to enhance mental health and disability inclusion (Ghana Participatory SBC).
She charged disability and Self-Help groups to effectively champion the course of their members to actively push the agenda of eliminating discrimination among persons with disabilities forward.
Touching on legal provisions on PWDs and the role of stakeholders in protecting and promoting their rights, she noted that, PWDs participation and inclusion remained crucial elements in adopting rights-based approaches to development.
She stated that PWDs had the opportunity to raise issues and hold decision-makers accountable to ensure their rights were protected and not infringed
Through inclusion, PWDs become more visible and persons without disabilities have the opportunity to learn and change from the experience of PWDs and vice versa.
Ms Aubyn educated the participants on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) adding that the purpose was to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights.
Fundamental freedoms by all persons living with disability, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
The convention she mentioned was a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension.