The Head of Guidance and Counseling Unit of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Gifty Sekyi-Bremansu, has called on stakeholders in the education sector to fully support persons with disabilities (PWDs) in society to enable them to maximise and realise their full potentials in life.
That, she said, was because the societal stigma of disability was a major barrier to people with disabilities, thereby preventing them from getting the support they needed to succeed in their daily lives.
“The stigma is so widespread that many people with disabilities feel isolated, uncomfortable or even ashamed of their abilities. There is strength in disability,” she said.
Mrs Sekyi-Bremansu said this yesterday at the Adwinsa’s Children Show as part of the 20th Ghana International Book Fair in Accra.
Dubbed “Disability is not Inability “, the event was held to create awareness of abilities and capabilities of the disabled and sensitise the public that there was no disability in any child.
The show also saw the launch of a book titled “Wings for Legs” by Naomi Adjei which had the braille version for the blind, especially, for them to be able to read the books.
“We believe that all children have abilities in different ways. It is the society that has the erroneous perception that disability is inability,” Mrs Sekyi-Bremansu said.
In harnessing the potentials of children with disabilities, Mrs Sekyi-Bremansu urged the public to desist from discrimination and stigmatisation, and that members should provide the needed psychosocial support for the disabled individuals in the society in order for them to thrive and function effectively in the society.
She also appealed to civil society organisations, community based organisations, faith based organisations and traditional authorities to provide the necessary support in terms of moral vision and infrastructural needs of disabled individuals in the society.
The CEO of Adwinsa Publication, Kwaku Oppong-Amponsah, said the theme was also to promote the all-inclusiveness of all children regardless of the challenges they faced to create the environment where the disabled would feel safe and included in the involvement of the society.
“We don’t have to leave them out, especially in the development of books and in our society.”
“We don’t have to let them look down on themselves and we also don’t have to look down on them, he said.
Mr Oppong-Amponsah urged the government and various stakeholders to aid in publishing more braille version books so that the blind would also be able to read.
The Founder of Clicks Africa Foundation and President of Inclusion Ghana, Mary Amoah Kuffuor, appealed to book writers to minimise and eliminate instances of stereotyping distanced persons in their content creation.
“Let us be advocates for the vulnerable .We have seen the evidence of what persons with disability can do,” she said.
Mrs Kuffuor said that individuals with disability had something to offer the society if they were given the right support and opportunity.
“Let us all help build an inclusive society,” she said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on persons with Disability, Esther Gyamfi, commended Adwinsa Publications Ghana Limited for the initiative, and for including learners with disability in the publishing space since disability was part of human diversity.
She said that there was a need to collaborate with state agencies and the private sector to ensure that the Nation’s agenda for inclusive sustainable development was achieved.