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Opinions of Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Columnist: William Lantei Lamptey

Know me for my ability not disability

Disability is not inability they say, but how do you overcome when the systems itself is designed to make you “unable”.

Over the years, people living with disabilities generally have not been treated fairly, from the engineer who failed to include the walkway to their structural development to the one who took their public slots to a large extent, have discriminated against persons with disability.

Access to good and safe support is of great importance for people living with disabilities, as it helps them become independent and gain human rights.

In Ghana, most persons living with disability have been left in their fate to battle life’s challenges and make it work no matter what! forgetting, we need each other to become better but life indeed they say is a great struggle.

According to the Ghana Federation of persons with Disabilities, it is estimated that, 5 million out of the total number of 2.8 million Ghanaians, live with disabilities Poverty many at times increases the risk of disabilities through malnutrition, healthcare, unsafe working conditions, lack of potable water and sanitation. But for the kind of zeal, perseverance, immovable and undying devotion of some persons with disability who are not perturbed about discrimination but committed to changing one’s world and making an impact, is my inspiration for this piece. For me, once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.

Ivor kobina Greenstreet is an astute lawyer, writer and publisher called to the Ghana Bar and English Bar Association and a politician who was hugely voted for, to become the 2016 flag bearer of the Convention People’s Party defeating daughter of the first President of Ghana Samia Nkrumah. Greenstreet wasn’t born with a defect or cripple but due to some mishaps which bedeviled him, led to his current state which left him in a wheelchair.

In spite of his situation, Greenstreet is psyched to brightening his corner with hope and the spirit of “YES I CAN”. Even though he didn’t win the 2016 elections, he made remarkable strides in pushing his agenda christened “GHANA GOES GREEN” by bringing to fore reasons to rekindle our minds as Ghanaians to embrace agriculture as a way to develop Ghana our beloved country.

Host of LIVE-CHAT with Paul on ETV Ghana, Paul Anomah Kordieh is another stupendous and jolting presenter with so much flair and panache. That is why Martha Navratilova said, disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you are needed by someone.The visually impaired presenter, who is an inspiration to our generation on his show, seeks to engage entrepreneurs, creative, innovative and extraordinary personalities who are using their creativity and intelligence, positively to impact and brighten the world of others and this indeed is a perfect definition of “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME”.

Personally, I think Paul Anomah is a gem who needs to be acknowledged to boost the morale of others who have similar aspirations and ambitions of becoming beacons of hope not burden to families.

Thomas Edison once said, our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. And yes! the visually impaired singer and rapper of TV3’s season 8 Talented Kids reality show contestant, Christian Morgan, who for several times tried to make his way into the reality show but was eliminated at the audition stage, never got tired to be a part of the history in the making of Talented Kids.

The 12 years old pupil of the cape coast school for the deaf and blind in the central region justified his stay to the judges and audience with a jaw-dropping performance when he performed, Kofi Kinaata’s “TIME NO DEY”. Though many people have attributed his good performance to his song selections which is mostly geared towards inspiring and giving hope, others also think his uniqueness and creativity is the secret.

For me, disability is a way of getting some extremity, some kind of very difficult situation that throws an interesting light on people. Even as we celebrate Ghana’s 60th anniversary, there is the need to mobilize all and sundry especially the youth for Ghana’s future. As a nation built on blood and toil, we must make it a point to instill in every Ghanaian hope, love and patriotism as we mark this important mile stone, not to discriminate and stigmatize against people living with disabilities, for everything is achievable.

Sometimes, we turn to forget that people with disabilities were also born by women just like you and I. But until our lives begins to take a nosedive we would barely appreciate the life of the vulnerable.

Twellium Industrial Company Limited producers of Verna Mineral Water is one of such companies who are doing amazingly well with their VERNA CHANGING LIVES Program which focuses on giving a total make over to people living with disabilities on the Street.

It is high time we stopped creating the impression that, people with disability are only a form of burden to their families. But , if all hands will come on deck and help in the fight against discrimination against people living with disability, then we would all be citizens and not spectators as said by President Akufo Addo and no one would be left on the street begging for arms.

Robert M. Hensel once said, “We the ones who are challenged needs to be heard, to be seen not as a disability but as a persons who has and will bloom. To be seen not only as handicapped, but as a well intact human being like you and I. And the only disability in life is bad attitude”.

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