Monday, May 20, 2013

DISABILITY IS NO INABILITY VIDEO, A GREAT ONE THERE!

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DISAILITY IS NOT A BARRIER. WATCH THIS GREAT VIDEO

GREAT VIDEO Y MUST WATCH!

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This video is a campaign tool being used by PROMOAFRICA to all persons with disabilities across Africa to show them that disability is not a barrier but with the can do spirit and right attitude we can make the difference for ourselves and the society.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

GHANA ICT TRAINING PROJECT FOR THE DISABLED


 
Story:Seth Addi
The President of Ghana H.E John Dramani Mahama said his government was committed to providing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills to people with disabilities so as to contribute their quota to national development.

He said under the senior high school computerized project, some of the graduates would be integrated into the mainstream as ICT instructors or trainers while others would be maintained to repair broken down computers.

President Mahama said this at the maiden graduation ceremony of Persons with Disability ICT Project and distribution of Better Ghana laptops at the Accra International Conference Centre under the auspices of rlg Communications Limited.

He said it was not worth enrolling people with disability and the youth in schools without providing them employable skills to fit well into the world of work and ICT.

He said persons with disability should no longer associate themselves with tokenism and pettiness that sought to undermine their dignity, respect and self-esteem.

President Mahama said government had repositioned itself to preparing persons with disability and students across the educational divide with skills in ICT as part of government’s commitment to building a Better Ghana through technology and innovation.

He disclosed that in phase one of the project 60,000 laptops have been distributed to teachers and students in basic and senior high schools, nursing training colleges, colleges of education, polytechnics and universities to promote teaching and learning in ICT and research.

President Mahama added that while in phase two additional 100,000 would be distributed to basic and second cycle schools as well as tertiary institutions, 400, 000 would be circulated in the next four years.

He appealed to Ghanaians, especially the youth and other stakeholders, to work cordially with the security agencies to have successful elections to make Ghana the model of Africa.

Mr Roland Agambire, Chief Executive Officer of rlg Communications Limited, explained that rlg, in partnership with the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, launched the Persons with Disability ICT Project aimed at equipping them with ICT skills for the contemporary world.

Mr Agambire challenged the youth to follow their dreams, saying: “dream and you will succeed; the only disability in life is bad attitude.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DISGRACEFUL STORY ABOUT A DISABLED PERSON IN GHANA

24 year old physically challenged turns to hunting to survive

It is a common thing to see able bodied men go into the bush to hunt for animals.
However, it will shock you to learn that 24 year old physically challenged Mclean Atsu Dzidzienyo who lives in Dodowa in the Dangbme West District of Greater Accra and crawls, has taken to hunting as a means of survival.

Atsu, as he is fondly called, also rears grass-cutter and has over 40 of the bush meat at his farms but goes to hunt for more to make ends meet.
He just completed an Accounting course in one of the Polytechnics, currently doing his national service with the Centre for Employment for Persons with Disability, a local NGO.

Mclean Dzidzienyo is one of 20 PWDs sponsored to undertake a week’s training in free range poultry production at the Youth Leadership Training Institute in Afienya, by Tycriss Live Stock Farms in partnership with the National Youth Authority.

Atsu who is also a member of Ghana’s contingent to last year’s All Africa Games in Maputo, revealed that he usually goes on the hunting expedition with his friends.

“They chase the animals towards my direction and I clock my gun and shoot at them. There is no mountain here in Dodowa that I haven’t climbed or hunted on. One day I caught a pregnant grass-cutter alive and I took it home and kept it in a cage till it delivered. I also caught a male and took home to keep in the cage and now I have 45 of them that I keep with the help of my mother,” Atsu told Adom News’ Jerry Tsatro Mordy.

He also demonstrated how he sometimes climbed tall trees to scan the bush and tell his friends where the animals may be hiding.

He said he is motivated to do many exploits to encourage others in similar condition that they should not let their situation limit them.

“I do everything myself, I walk about 400 metres to my farm in Dodowa and I can carry two buckets of water at the same time to some distance. I don’t want to see myself being a burden to my mother”, he stressed.

He disclosed plans to do a documentary, as a way of encouraging other PWDs particularly those begging for alms on the streets to acquire some skills and make life better for themselves.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

ARTICLE

CAN PERSONS WITH DISABILITY LIVE ON PARADISE ON EARTH? (1)
By: Amoah Kwaku Addi, back from Germany

Can persons with disabilities live on Paradise on earth? If this question was put to me somewhere last year 2011, my answer will be a definite NO, taking into consideration where I come from, Ghana, where persons with disabilities were the poorest and live in total misery and lacks opportunities.
But my recent visit to the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel in Bielefeld in Germany, I can answer the affirmative and said, yes with the right support, commitment, will from government, good social welfare system like what pertains in Bethel , persons with disabilities can live on paradise on earth.

Bethel has the believe that if you put community into practice, Healthy or ill, disabled or not they are convinced at that all persons can live, learn and work together in their diversity as a natural fact of life.
However, many persons depend on assistance, accompaniment and support so that they can live a self-determining life of dignity to the greatest extent possible. In this Bethel community they have more than 15,000 employees committed to the welfare and upkeep of persons with disability.

Every day, they put the Christian mandate of brotherly love into practice in Berlin, in Bielefeld and at many other locations where a paradise was created for persons with disabilities.

The word “Bethel” is derived from Hebrew and means “House of God”. This name forms the basis of the agenda at the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel in its capacity as Europe’s largest Christian social welfare services facility with a annual budget of 900 million Euros derives from donation, support from individuals, sales from donated items, collection and sales. of stamps.
Bethels assistance programs for persons with epilepsy are one example of Bethel’s endeavor, from its founding to the present, to develop advanced services for persons in need, i.e. persons in need who were previously left alone to fend for themselves.

Bethels main fields of work, in addition to the treatment of epilepsy, cover care for disabled individuals, senior citizens’ care, assistance for young people, assistance for the homeless, work and rehabilitation, psychiatry and providing medical care at hospitals for the acutely ill. They have recently expanded their range of services to include persons with acquired brain damage, therapy programs for persons with autistic disturbances and hospice work. A total of approximately 180,000 persons are treated, supported, trained or counseled each year via Bethel’s range of services.

Bethels desire is to offer the greatest degree of self-determinant living to persons who rely on their assistance and support. Expanding the range of out-patient services is therefore the predominate goal at the Bethel community. The communities still remain intact, and they offer to many disabled persons an optimal environment for living, working and simply being human.
Bethel was established in 1867 as a home for children and young people suffering from epilepsy. Pastor Friedrich von Bodelschwingh took over the home’s management and expanded the small institution in Bielefeld into a differentiated and broadly diversified offer of assistance. Bethel is indeed unique in terms of the diversity of its fields of work. Yet it is primarily the support of many friends and supporters that makes wide range of work possible for people who need help and create a place they can call home.

HOW THIS PARADISE WAS CREATED FOR PWDS

The Bethel Institution, officially call the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel is a diaconal i.e. Protestant charitable hospital for the mentally ill in Bielefeld, Germany.
This paradise came about during the Nazi Germany era, staff at the institution was mainly in opposition to the National Socialist party's T-4 Euthanasia Program. In 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered the gassing of all mental patients.  

But the director of the hospital, pastor Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, resisted, saying "You can put me into a concentration camp if you want, that is your affair. But as long as I am free, you do not touch one of my patients. I cannot change to fit the times or the wishes of the Fuehrer. I stand under orders from our Lord Jesus Christ."

This statement by pastor Friedrich Von Bodelschwingh gave birth to the Bethel community that live in a colorful society composed of young and old, healthy, ill or disabled persons. Bethel’s facilities and services provide professional competency in many sectors; so that each person receives the kind of assistance that he or she needs till date.

Friedrich von Bodelschwingh wrote in 1882: “It is always more merciful to give work to a person capable of working than to give him alms; the former lifts him, the latter dishonors him.” From this train of thought the v.Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel has developed an impressive array of assistance programs for work, occupational rehabilitation and promoting skills in various occupations.
Individuals with disabilities and persons with mental or social impairments as well, will discover opportunities in the Bethel Workshops for training, employment and rehabilitation. Specialized integration services place disadvantaged persons on the general job market. Long-term unemployed persons may participate in occupational qualification programs in their workshops.

Bethel assumes a special role in assisting persons with epilepsy via its special rehabilitation hospital and its vocational training center. The clinic was the first of its kind in Germany in 1997, and the vocational training center continues as the only facility that has specialized in training younger persons with epilepsy. Disabled persons and individuals with mental illnesses are also being admitted to the center and also for training to gain employment in the community.
Bethel has established a range of services for elderly retired persons with disabilities.  They often have difficulty in keeping themselves busy, developing hobbies and maintaining social contacts after their working life has ended. We also have senior citizen day centers that enable elderly persons to enjoy a fulfilling life within the community.

Bethel and its range of services for work and occupational rehabilitation are present in the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Bremen, Berlin and Brandenburg.  More to come

The Author is the President of the Network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (PROMOAFRICA), and Managing Editor of the EVENING TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER.
Contact:Promoafrica@gmail.com

 

Friday, October 28, 2011

JOURNALISTS TO UNDERGO AN INSTITUTIONAL STUDY TOUR TO GERMANY

The  v.Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel Dankort Bielefeld Germany, has invited the executives of the Network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Dsabilities in Africa (PROMOAFRICA) for a study tour to their facility, from 9th to 16th January 2012. 

The Promoafrica delegation which would be in germany for one week will be led by its Presiedent Mr. Amoah Kwaku Addi and the Executive Secretary Mrs.Nyarkoah Amponsah Mariam.

The v.Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel was established in 1867 as a home for children and young people suffering from epilepsy. Pastor Friedrich von Bodelschwingh took over the home’s management and expanded the small institution in Bielefeld into a differentiated and broadly diversified offer of assistance. Bethel is indeed unique in terms of the diversity of its fields of work.

The PROMOAFRICA study tour and institutional learning, which is being sponsored by the National Council on Persons with Disability and Vista Finacial Services based in Dansoman in Accra, is a v.Bodelschwingh Foundations contribution toward PROMOAFRICA,s preparation to advocate for the passage of the Ghana Mental Health Bill from March to July 2012, under the DANIDA Flex Fund mini grant project to the Ghana Federation of the Disabled.

According to the invitation PROMOAFRICAs competencies to handle such a project cannot be over emphasized, as it has track records in similar events with a proven record of advocating for the passage of the National Disability law, Act 715 and the formation of the National Council on Persons with Disability in Ghana.
“We believe this opportunity would assist you, as journalists and lead advocates for persons with disabilities to have the full knowledge and competences to lobby the Parliament of Ghana to pass the Ghana Mental Health Bill into law in order to benefit patience with mental illness in Ghana and Africa”

The Bethel have recently expanded its range of services to include persons with acquired brain damage, therapy programs for persons with autistic disturbances and hospice work. A total of approximately 180,000 persons are treated, supported, trained or counseled each year via Bethel’s range of services.

With a desire is to offer the greatest degree of self-determinant living to persons who rely on our assistance and support and also offer to many disabled persons an optimal environment for living, working and simply living.

It will recalled that Mr. Addi together with the President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled Mr. Yaw Ofori Debrah, were the guest of the German Central Library when they attained World Braille Congress at Leipzig, from the 27th to 30th September at the Leipzig University, when Mr. Addi delivered a paper on the human rights abused of children born with disabilities in Ghana in Hannover, Bielefeld and Frankfurt.

Monday, October 17, 2011

DEFORMED CHILDREN ARE BEING KILLED IN GHANA

Three-year old John the Baptist, who hails from Gnani, a community in the Yendi Municipality of the Northern Region, was born with a vein defect.



At the age of two, John’s parents wrapped him in white cloths and left him beside a public refuse dump. His condition was bad because his neck and legs were fragile and could neither sit nor stand due to the vein defect.



John’s situation was not different from four-year old Makpato whose parents decided to kill her due to her inability to talk at the age of three.

What John and Makpato passed through is unfortunately the ordeal many children who are born with defects are subjected to in communities such as Saboba, Wodando, Zabzugu, Tatale and Bimbilla.



The common belief among some communities in the North is that children born with deformities are “spirit children” who are evil or a taboo to be sheltered and catered for.

A painstaking information gathered by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) indicates that such babies have distinguished features like, beard, pubic hair, double sex organs (hermaphrodites), protruding eyes, abnormally large head or inability to talk and walk after they hit three to six years.



Other children who bear societal stigma are those who constantly bite their mother’s breast during breast feeding, are born during famine or whose mothers die during delivery.



It is alleged that most of these children are killed or abandoned to their fate. In some instances, poisonous concoctions are forced down their throat after which, they are abandoned in a grove or forest to die.



The parents and relatives of these children have no say with regards to the killing of these children because it is a communal belief which needed to be complied with.



Asked about the cause of such deformities, Dr Anthony Amankwah Amponsem, Paediatric Consultant at Tamale Teaching Hospital said genetic factors, congenital maternal disease and infections, age of a mother, radiation as well as social habits like alcoholism could affect the development of a fertilised ovum.



Most the deformities occur during the first three months of the pregnancy during which most of the body organs are formed.



Birth defects could happen even if partners have no such history in their families or had given birth to healthy children in the past.

These defects, Dr Amponsah said could be prevented while some could be corrected if spotted early.



At the turn of the century, Ghana, along with 189 UN member countries adopted the Millennium Declaration that laid out the vision for a world of common values and renewed determination to achieve peace and decent standards of living for every man, woman and child.



Our nation was the first West Africa country that rectified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 with article 49.



Article 23 clause one, the convention mandates States Parties to recognise that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child's active participation in the community.



The clause two states that, “States Parties recognise the right of the disabled child to special care and shall encourage and ensure the extension, subject to available resources, to the eligible child and those responsible for his or her care, of assistance for which application is made and which is appropriate to the child's condition and to the circumstances of the parents or others caring for the child”.



The third paragraph also explained that “Recognising the special needs of a disabled child, assistance extended in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present article shall be provided free of charge, whenever possible, taking into account the financial resources of the parents or others caring for the child, and shall be designed to ensure that the disabled child has effective access to and receives education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child's achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development, including his or her cultural and spiritual development .



On the national front the Sub-Part I – Rights of the child and parental duty of Ghana’s Children’s Act 1998 Act 560 enacted by Parliament spells out how a disabled child should be treated by the parent or care takers.



The section 10 clause (1) and (2) says: “No person shall treat a disabled child in an undignified manner. A disabled child has a right to special care, education and training wherever possible to develop his maximum potential and be self-reliant.”

The punishment for offenders of the regulation is that, “Any person who contravenes a provision of this Sub-Part commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding GH¢5 million or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.”



A study conducted by the GNA indicates that these laws are either not adhered to or implementation is weak.



An interaction with the parents of one of the deformed victims at Wodando, a community close to Wapuli in the Chereponi District with the GNA revealed widespread belief in the long held tradition that if a “ spirit child” is not killed the entire village would suffer a curse.



This custom emboldens parents to harm their deformed children, says Rev. Fr Cletus Akosah who runs a charity for rescued children.



A girl who was the 13th child of her parents could not alter a word when she was growing up compelling her mother to seek both medical and traditional means to deal with the situation.



“When I took her to Wapuli clinic the doctor who diagnosed her said she has frenulum between her tongue and the floor of her lower jaw, which hinder her speech. This has to be removed before she can speak.



“The doctor said my child is normal. There is nothing wrong with her,” she said.

She said after all efforts have been made to cure her child had failed, people were claiming that they see her in their dreams trying to harm them.



“I had to yield to the community’s tradition that my child is a spirit child and need to be killed or else my family would be banished from the community.”



Rev. Fr. Peter Jabaab Aoyaja of the Gnanie, Good Shepherd Rectorate, told the GNA that he had often threatened people who wanted to kill these children with police arrest.

Within six weeks he was able to rescue about four children from his area saying, “It is becoming alarming. The issue of killing children with defect is serious; government should partner religious bodies and non-governmental organisations to curtail these practices as early as possible”.



Mr John Ankrah Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, in an interview with the GNA described the issue as child molestation and right denial.

“This is the first time am hearing of this issue and is not good in this 21st century. Even if children are deformed, they have the right to live.”



He said his outfit would source funding to embark on social education in the various communities, adding “my office does not even have a vehicle to go to the field”.

Mr Abdul-Razak Alhassan, Acting Regional Director of the Department of Child, reiterated that it is a criminal offence under the Child Act 560 and the UN Convention on Right of a Child for a parent, persons or group of persons to kill a child with defects in the name of beliefs and practices.



He called for synergy between the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Department of Social Welfare, Department of Community Development and Department of Children that have the oversight responsibility of child protection to work effectively.



With regards to child’s growth and behaviour, Mr Alhassan Mustapha, a Psychology lecturer, at the Medical School of the University of Development Studies told GNA that children who have deformities could exhibit signs of aggressiveness and may hate their parents and strangers as they grow.



“This is because the communal bond with the family was cut off from such people throughout their life.”



About 30 of the social outcasts have been rescued and temporarily housed by one Rev. Sr. Stan Therese Mario Mumuni, at Sang, 70 miles from the Regional capital, Tamale.

She told GNA that, unfortunately, the home was almost full to capacity and there is little hope that many more children may be accommodated in the foreseeable future.



“The children are brought almost every two to four weeks”. I think no child must die because of crude custom but must live for Christ,” she said.

Chief Inspector Ebenezer Preprah, in-charge of DOVVSU in Yendi told GNA in an interview that the act of killing deformed children is a serious offence under the section 46 of the criminal code, which constitutes murder.



He said a person or any group of persons who flout this law commit a criminal offence punishable by death.



“We have not had any official report yet and if we do an arrest will be affected,” he warned.



Worldwide, physically challenge persons such as Miss Jessica Cox, a pilot and world acclaimed motivational speaker, Mr Ivor Kobbina Greenstreet, of the Convention People’s Party, had excelled in their fields of endeavour and continue to make meaningful contribution in their countries.



Should the authorities therefore look on as talented children are killed because they are deformed or in the name of traditional believes?



God has a plan for everyone in this world and every human being counts.


PRESS RELEASE

GOVERNMENT, THE DISABLED AND THE NEW FOOT BRIDGES
The Network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (PROMOAFRICA), wish to draw  Governments attention of the omission of its commitment to provide the necessary structures to aid persons with disabilities with regard to the various new footbridges being constructed from the Tetteh Quashie Roundabout to Mallam Junction.
A fact finding mission carried out by PROMOAFRICA led the President of the Network, Mr. Amoah Kwaku Addi, executive members and reporters to  Abofun , Akweteyman, Nyamekye junction, Kata Hostel, Kwashieman and Mallam junction indicates that the accessibility, welfare and concerns of persons with disabilities and persons with old age were not taken into consideration in construction of these new facilities. Hence they are not accessible to this category of persons.
Promoafrica sees it very strange that the NDC government that prides itself with social democratic philosophy, (the mantra of being pro-poor) will ignore or exclude persons with disabilities in such a simple issue as accessibility and freedom of movement.
We are hereby, through this press release, appealing to the president, H.E John Atta Mills and the Minister of Roads and Highways to take urgent steps to correct the anomalies and factor in the concerns and wellbeing of persons with disabilities in future development projects since this category of citizens constitute ten percent of the population and plays active part in the developmental processes of this country.
Amoah Kwaku Addi
President-PROMOAFRICA
Contact 0267457253

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SOCIAL AND SEXUAL AWARENESS, THE PERSPECTIVE OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Social and Sexual Awareness, the Perspective of Persons with Disabilities


By: Amoah Kwaku Addi

Sexual awareness is normal. Sexual feelings are normal, and there are many ways of expressing one's sexuality. If a person has a disability, it does not change any of this. What often changes is the socialization that provides the foundation for sexual identity.

In Ghana , persons with disabilities are sometimes oppressed and treated as less than someone without an identifiable disability. This can have a profound impact on the individual's self-identity. Often, people with developmental disabilities feel they are bad or that something is wrong with them. By extension, they can feel that their normal sexual feelings are also bad or wrong. Humans' sexual drive is a primary drive; it is not optional. We have a sexual drive as long as we have enough to eat, drink, and sleep; and we are not under undue stress.

Many of my of my disabled friends have told me in confidence that having sex with someone is the only time they feel normal. They have a job that they know a "normal" person would not have. They cannot drive. They are not free to go where they want, when they want. They always have to tell someone where they are and who they are with. They feel like they are treated like a child.

Children with disabilities, in the early years, we give them information on being a boy or a girl. It is also helpful to give them correct names for their body parts including penis, vagina and anus. These terms should be taught using relaxed and open language.

Whatever words you choose, they will best serve a child by imparting the notion that sexual feelings are wonderful and very personal. Bath time is also a good time to teach body awareness including the need to treat one's body with respect. Based on my experience, I believe this can be taught, regardless of the identified level of disability.

If we allow the child's disability to keep him from teaching these concepts, then we will leave him/her vulnerable. Just as children learn to eat, drink, sleep, and deal with fear, they can learn to express their sexuality. In fact, children need appropriate support to express themselves sexually; and this support includes information about appropriate boundaries and various ways to show regard for one's self.

Teenagers and Adults with disability, by the time they move into their teens, they will experience changes in their bodies that are reflected in their sexuality. They will begin to experience orgasms. They will grow pubic and underarm hair. Overall body hair will change. A young man's voice will change. A young woman will begin to menstruate. Imagine going through these changes without knowing the names of body parts, without the preparation of anticipating change, and without the awareness that someone trusted is available if he/she has any questions. This type of information helps these individuals know that they are not "falling apart" and that they can ask questions. It is not enough to just wait and then tell someone "oh, by the way, ask if you have questions."

After a young woman begins menstruation, she is old enough for regular vaginal exams. Many will be terrified of these exams. Women with disabilities often need training on how to breath during an exam, how to relax the vaginal muscles, and how to be assertive with the physician in order to go through exams without being medicated. Women who do not speak can be taught to use gestures to tell the doctor to "stop" or "wait."

Women are abused sexually at alarming rate, however, women who have a disability appear to be abused even more. While accurate statistics are difficult to obtain, it is certain that all women and men with disabilities need to be aware of their healthy sexual options; and they need to know what to do if faced with sexual abuse or sexual contact that makes them uncomfortable.



Unfortunately, some people are victimized sexually because they value the feeling of sexual activity. If we can recognize the power of an abusive relationship because of one’s sexual feelings, we will be better able to support people in developing ways to discriminate respectful relationships that can grow and benefit both people.

Adult men and women who have disabilities may or may not be aware of their own attractiveness and how they present themselves to others. Women who have a disability may want to shave their legs in the summer. Men may want to experiment with hairstyles. Both may want to decide what looks best on them. This may seem trivial, but it is important; it allows them to deal with the world.

Some individuals with disabilities may need specific instructions about social expectations. Some manners, ways of conversing, or sexual mores may not have meaning for them in the same way a person without autism might experience them. For these individuals, it is important to provide them with ample information about social rituals and boundaries. Role playing, discreet reminders when in public, and lots of practice are helpful.

People are sexual beings. It is not a choice or an option. It is a truth. The best sex education is a full awareness of social skills, boundaries, sexual expression, and expectations.

The author is the president of the network of journalists for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa (PROMOAFRICA), email:promoafrica@gmail.com Tel:0233 267457253