Girls of the Wa Methodist School for the Blind have called on stakeholders to ensure a supportive social system for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to foster an inclusive and equitable society for all.
They said there was an alarming lack of societal support for PWDs which needed to be address to foster an equitable for enhanced development.
This was contained in a communique read by Miss Memuna Ahmed, a virtually-impaired student of the school, at an event organized by Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD Ghana) to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) at the Wa Methodist School for the Blind over the weekend.
According to the girls, PWDs face a myriad of challenges including limited access to education, employment, healthcare and social opportunities owing the absence of adequate societal support.
They called for an inclusive education system that caters to the diverse needs of all students and ensures that no one is left behind due to disability.
“It is imperative that public spaces, transportation and buildings be made universally accessible, allowing persons with disabilities to navigate the world with dignity and independence.
“We urge the implementation and enforcement of laws that safeguard the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, holding accountable those who perpetuate discrimination or neglect,” they urged.
The girls also called for inclusive healthcare systems and employment opportunities which together would ensure a society that embraces diversity and values every member regardless of their ability or disability.
The commemoration of the IDPD formed part of the strategic campaigns for the empowerment of girls and young women (GYWs) under the She Leads program being implemented by CARD Ghana in the Upper West Region with support from Plan International Ghana.
Miss Ernestina Biney, the She Leads Project Coordinator with CARD Ghana, said the campaign aimed at supporting girls and women-led organizations with funds and appropriate skills to operate independently.
“Lobbying and building the capacity of informal decision makers (traditional and religious leaders), parents and care givers and supporting their initiatives towards transforming social norms that violate the rights of GYW.
“Engaging media advocacy and influence to achieve wider reach, impact and to reinforce the transformed social norms and community accountability towards GYW rights,” she added as some of the strategies for achieving the project goals.
Miss Biney mentioned a host of activities that have been carried out by CARD Ghana since 2021 towards achieving the goal of increased sustained influence of GYWs on gender norms and decision-making.
In a speech read on her behalf, Madam Anna Nabere, the She Leads Project Manager for Plan International Ghana, said inclusion was not just a goal but a shared responsibility that binds the society together.
“By recognizing and valuing the unique contributions of Persons with Disabilities, we pave the way for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world,” she added.
The theme for the 2023 IDPD was “United in Action to Rescue and Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for, with and by Persons with Disabilities.”