Stakeholders urged to advocate change in discriminatory attitude towards PWDs

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Disability

Miss Vivian Ama Aubyn, Board Member of Psykforum, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has urged stakeholders to advocate a change in derogatory remarks and discriminatory attitude towards Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and Persons With Mental Health Conditions (PWMHCs).

This would help create an all-inclusive society that overrides human differences and ensures equality of opportunities as well as values and acceptance and appreciates PWDs and PWMHCs.

Ms Aubyn made the appeal at a Stakeholders’ consultative meeting to launch the Social and Behavioral Change, stigma reduction and disability inclusion Project.

She indicated that the three-year project, sponsored by the UKAID through the Ghana Somubi Dwumadzi Project, intended to create a positive culture of support to allow PWDs and PWMHCs to reach their full potentials and increase the use of positive languages in addressing them.

Miss Aubyn, who is also a Psychologist, said the project expected to end in 2023, was conceived after research made in 2020 suggested that there were so much derogatory language usage and discrimination against the disabled.

She underscored the need for all to help raise the self-confidence of PWDs to harness their abilities to benefit society and the nation as a whole.

“This stigma we talk about every day starts from the family and we believe if these families embrace and see them as their equals, they would grow knowing that they are worth it and equally important as we all.”

“Take them to school, let them learn a trade, this way others would also learn to respect and appreciate them, let’s give them the social and financial support they need, we are diverse people and not all are able to withstand one’s disability,” she added.

Mrs Yvonne Kwarah, the Head of Social Welfare Unit at Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese (AAK) district, said it was prudent for the society to identify PWDs as individuals and not by their condition.

“As a social worker, we expect the society to accept people as they are so that they would be able to coexist, integrate and relate well with all and sundry, get to know their names and address them as such,” she added.

Mr George Frimpong, President of the Ghana Federation for Disability Organizations, said most times, people decide to fine-tune words and names to make them feel better but to no avail.

He said it was about time PWDS and PWMHCs accepted their condition so that they would not feel intimidated by some discriminatory actions of the larger society.

“My preferred choice is to call me blind without fine-tuning your words or language because I find some words deceptive and as though they want to pity you. I know I am highly capable and so I don’t allow myself to be intimidated,” Mr Frimpong said.

“We don’t need your pity, we need you to embrace us and make us feel a part of the larger society because we cannot forever live at the mercy of people,” he added.

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