Ms Efua Kyere Amponsem, the New Juaben South Chairperson of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled (GSPD), has called for the establishment of a special school for persons with mobility disability.
She said having that special school would facilitate education and empowerment of women and girls with mobility challenges.
Ms Amponsem said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Koforidua on the need to focus more on the physically challenged girl-child during celebrations such as the International Women’s Day (IWD).
The IWD is a global day marked annually to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also to call to action for accelerated gender parity.
Ms Amponsem noted that the absence of a school for persons with mobility challenges had been a huge barrier to their access to education.
“Even though this has affected the education of both the physically challenged girl and boy, it has affected the former the most,” she added.
A distinctive school with facilities tailored to suit their conditions would break the barriers impeding their development and progress, she said.
She cited the schools for the deaf and the blind as examples of special schools tailored to fit specific conditions and needs of the beneficiaries, saying the blind used braille and the death, the sign language.
“People with blindness and hearing impairment are able to go far in education because of this special provision to meet their needs,” she said.
Ms Amponsem, a product of St Roses Senior High School and All Nations University College, said but for her parents who were educationists and the family support, she could not have pursued higher education.
She recalled her days in the secondary school as a boarder with physical disability requiring the use of crutches.
She said it was difficult for her since all facilities – from classrooms to the dining hall, washrooms, assembly hall and dormitories – were not accessible.
Ms Amponsem expressed regret that “many others with my condition have become liabilities to society; begging for alms to survive on daily basis.”
She said people with mobility disability suffered widespread discrimination and stigma as most failed to go to school or learn a trade and secure decent work.
She recalled that in 2016, after her university graduation, she applied for a job but was informed that though she performed better than all the other applicants during the interview, the organisation could not give her the job due to her condition.
Ms Anponsem is now a secretary at Mathew 25 House, HIV and AIDS Care Centre, and as a government appointee at the New Juaben South Municipal Assembly.
She appealed to the Government to put in place systems and measures to ensure the education and empowerment of the physically disabled.
That, she said, would ensure that disability would not be the basis for denial of employment opportunities.
Ms Amponsem called on women, particularly those with disability, to take their destinies into their own hands and break every barrier to become independent and live fulfilling lives.