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Opinions of Monday, 2 February 2015

Columnist: Atchulo, Joseph

Tamale rehabilitation centre needs your help

The idea of the Tamale Rehabilitation Centre started in 1959 when the prime minister Dr Kwame Nkrumah drew the attention the then government about the state of disablement in the country, he pointed out that urgent action was needed to be taken to remedy the situation, as a result a committee was set up to investigate about the state of disablement in the country. As a result of the committee’s recommendation the rehabilitation division was formed in the then social welfare department in the 1960s.

The objective was to give vocational training to the physically challenged and visually impaired persons in Ghana, over the years the government of Ghana use to support in giving funding, training materials and staffing to train the physically challenged, visually impaired and other forms of disablements in the institutions. But as the years went by the source of funding began to dwindle. As time went on the Tamale Rehabilitation Centre was in great difficulty in terms of feeding the inmates not to mention the provision of training materials since the government seemed to have neglected the institution.

It was then that one catholic priest Father Martin Barnabas came to support the institution close to over 20years; he renovated the facility since it was first constructed. Sometime ago a rainstorm ripped off the whole roofing structure of the facility and once again he came to their aid. In addition he provided the Centre with water storage systems and an underground water tank in addition to a monthly feeding allowance because funding was not forthcoming from the government.

Also when the trainees were passed out or successfully completed their training program there was the need to provide them with tools and materials to enable them start a business on their own. Government initially used to provide these items but however stopped along the line, the national trust fund took over and unfortunately also stopped along the line. It was then that Father Martin Banarbas took over the whole project of providing the facility with tools and materials depending on the various trades that they have learnt.

Very unfortunately Rev Father Martin Barnabas was knocked down by a vehicle in 2012 where he met his untimely death. That was when the woes of the Rehabilitation Centre compounded.
One catholic priest promised to take over but gave out funding for a short period and also stopped. Currently there are still some outstanding students who have passed out from the facility but have been unable to get training materials and therefore are still hanging on, eagerly waiting for the generous support of well-meaning stakeholders like you and I to come to their aid.

The Tamale rehabilitation Centre gives vocational training in dressmaking and needle work for females, tailoring for males and rural craft which includes weaving of camp beds, doormats and arm chairs for males and females but especially for the visually impaired, shoe making and leather works for males, batik and tie dye for male and female, catering for females but has however been halted due to financial constraints.
It is however sad to note that the rehabilitation Centre has gone on an indefinite vacation since 15th December 2014 till further notice due to lack of funding or financial constraints. The center is however expected to reopen latest by 14th February 2015. The inmates have been calling periodically to find out the actual date of reopening but have constantly been told to hold on since it is not safe to reopen with little food supply in stock.
Previously the rehabilitation center used to give the physically challenged and the visually impaired foot sowing machines and other tools to males as well as hand sowing machine to the females upon completion as well as other tools and materials to begin life with.
The institution is however compelled to give out some few materials and tools to the other department like the leather and hand work department since there are no machines for them.
The state of the physically challenged and the visually impaired in the Republic of Ghana is indeed very disheartening since they have constantly been marginalized and discriminated against. However these are the very people who need all the love, care and protection we could never think about.
It is in light of this that Jehovah Jereh Ministry an upcoming NGO in Tamale in Dec 2014 provided the center with a signboard to make it more visible to the general public and other well-meaning stakeholders.
However this funding is not enough since the institution is going through tough times at the moment and perhaps at the verge of collapse and therefore the Centre would want nothing more than your generous support in aid of a worthy course in providing some relief items in terms of food and training materials to the inmates of the Tamale rehabilitation center.
Written by Atchulo Joseph
Email: atchulojoseph@gmail.com
Cell: +233245942348