Some 15 persons with disability in the Akrofuom District of the Ashanti Region have been given items ranging from deep freezers, industrial sewing machine, fufu pounding machine, a hair dryer and wheelchairs by the Assembly.
This is to support them to be economically empowered and improve their livelihoods.
The items which amounted to 50,000 was sourced from the Assembly’s share of the disability fund.
As part of efforts to empower Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), the government of Ghana, in 2005, introduced the disability Fund, which is a 3% deduction from the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) for inclusiveness.
The disability fund, among many other things, is to support and equip PWDs in economic and business ventures as well as provide educational/training support and medical/health support to make them functional in life and society.
The Common Fund Administrator after the introduction of the Fund directed that 10 per cent be allocated for education/training, 10 per cent for medicals and assistive devices, 75 per cent for economic and business ventures, and 5 % be for administrative costs.
The Chief Executive for the Akrofuom District Hon. Maurice Jonas Woode in his address during the disbursements mentioned that the district has successfully registered 90% of individuals with disabilities in the district, who receive support whenever the common fund is disbursed.
He said this is the eighth time the district is disbursing disability fund since it was created in 2018 emphasizing that the Assembly has been transparent in its disbursement processes.
Hon. Woode said beyond donating items to the PWDs, the Assembly in the latter part of 2022 organized skills training program for PWDs in the district. He said they were trained in brown sugar, fresh yoghurt, and mouthwash production.
He reiterated the President’s commitment to improving the living conditions of persons with disability hence has directed MMDCES to take matters involving pwds seriously and work to also improve their livelihoods.
Additionally, Hon. Dr. Maurice Jonas Woode revealed that the district has undertaken other measures to support the disabled community, including renewing their national health insurance, paying school fees for students, and many more.
The primary goal of providing the items to them according to the DCE, is to prevent people with disabilities from becoming a burden to their family, community, or the nation at large. He urged the recipients to use the items provided to earn some income and provide for themselves.
Hon. Dr. Maurice Jonas Woode stressed that the items were purchased with funds earned during the second and third quarter of the year, and that inspections would be made to ensure they were used as intended.
The District Social Welfare Officer, Mr. Gideon Osei Poku emphasized the importance of utilizing the items for their intended purpose and not allowing them to go to waste, citing past experiences where some beneficiaries failed to make productive use of the items given.
He further explained that before purchasing the items, the Assembly conducted painstaking investigations and interacted with the beneficiaries to ascertain that the items purchased would be beneficial to them.
The Social Service Sub-Committee Chairman, Hon. Edward Peprah also added his voice to the calls for the items being distributed to be utilized in a proper and effective manner. According to Hon. Edward Peprah, this is not the first time the committee is organizing a program like this, and he emphasized that the items given out have been carefully selected to take care of the specific needs of the beneficiaries.
Hon. Edward Peprah encouraged those who have not yet received such items to be patient and wait for their turn, assuring them that they will be included in future programs.
The Secretary of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled ( GSPD) Miss Josephine Abena Kuukye disclosed to pwds in Akrofuom of the presence of the Obuasi Training and Rehabilitation Center built by Anglogold Ashanti.
She said the centre seeks to provide hands-on training for the physically challenged to enhance their employability through demand-driven skills. She added that the center will provide training in sewing, basket weaving, leather works, Kente weaving, and other highly demanded skills.
She encouraged PWDs to enroll at the center to ensure that they acquire employable skills to be economically empowered and be independent.
A beneficiary, Mrs Sarah Tieku on behalf of the pwds expressed gratitude to the Assembly for the support that would greatly enhance their daily lives. She lauded the DCE and theAssembly for the transparent and prompt disbursement of the disability fund.