A Psycologist has urged stakeholders promoting the well-being of Persons with Disability (PWDs) to advocate a change in derogatory comments and discriminatory attitudes towards PWDs and Persons with Mental Health Conditions.
Miss Vivian Ama Aubyn, a Board Member of Psykforum, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), said that would help create an all-inclusive society that overrode physical differences, ensured equality of opportunities and encouraged people to accept PWDs and Persons with Mental Health Conditions (PWMHCs).
She was speaking at a Stakeholders’ consultative meeting to outdoor the ‘Social and Behavior Change, Stigma Reduction and Disability Inclusion Project.’
The three-year project, sponsored by the UKAID through the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie Project, intends to create a positive culture of support to allow all PWDs and PWMHCs to reach their full potentials and increase the use of positive languages in addressing them.
The project, expected to end in 2023, was conceived after a research in 2020 found that there was so much derogatory language usage and discrimination against the disabled.
Ms Aubyn called on all to help raise the self-confidence of PWDs and help them 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 PWDs as their equals, they will grow knowing their worth as equally important as all,” she said.
She urged parents having children with disability to send them to school or encourage them to learn a trade in order to gain the needed respect and appreciation.
Mrs Yvonne Kwarah, the Head of the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District Social Welfare Unit, said it was prudent for the society to identify PWDs as individuals and not by their condition.
“As social workers, we expect the society to accept people as they are, for them to 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, the President for the Ghana Disability Organisation Federation, said it was about time PWDS and PWMHCs accepted their condition and not feel intimidated by some actions or discrimination by the larger society.
“My preferred choice is to call me blind without fine-tuning your words or language. I find some words deceiving and as though they want to pity you, I know I am highly capable and so I don’t allow myself to be intimidated,” he said.
“We don’t need your pity, we need you to embrace us to make us feel a part of the larger society because we cannot forever live at the mercy of people.”