Mr Alexander Kojo Tetteh, President of the Ghana Chamber of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities (GCED), has urged families to support persons living with disabilities (PwDs) to undertake business ventures instead of pushing them to the streets to beg for alms.
He said, “We are fighting against pushing PwDs into begging. PwDs can also do business and be sustainable. It is dignifying for PwDs to be able to do business, have money, and therefore can also be part of decision-makers in the family and society.”
Mr Tetteh, who gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tamale, said PwDs had special skills and talents, which if given the needed support, could be unleashed to better their lot and contribute more to the development of the country.
Whilst PwDs require a lot more support to undertake various activities, they do not get such support from the state and their families, he said.
In view of this, many of them are unable to unleash their full potential, resorting to begging and other dehumanising activities to make ends meet.
Mr Tetteh said, “Support for businesses of PwDs is not there. Most of the time, we are an after-thought. We are not part of the development stage of policies and programmes and interventions. So, support for us is very minimal.”
“That is why we cannot access entrepreneurial support services. That is where GCED comes in to advocate that PwDs should be supported to do business because we are looking at the near future; between five to 10 years, we should have millionaires, who are PwDs so that they become role models for other PwDs to strive and be successful in business.”
He said, “One big achievement of the GCED is the mobilisation and the awareness that PwDs can do business. We have branches in all the regions. PwDs want to do business.
“All they need is the opportunity. Give them a level-playing field. If you are giving support to everybody within the space, PwDs will need a lot more because of their situation.”
He added that “I am in a wheelchair. I am aided by an assistant. So, this is what policy-makers need to realise. If you want to support PwDs to participate in the space, you need to provide disability compensation to enable them to be able to participate.”