The Jomoro Municipal Assembly in the Western Region has supported over 100 people living with disabilities.
This comes as a result of the NPP government 2016 campaign promise to increase the Disability Fund Component of the District Assemblies Common Fund, from 2 per cent to 3 per cent.
The donations were in such categories as financial support, medical support, education support and items and income generation.
The items included deep freezers, sewing machines, shoe machines, wheelchairs, stamping machines, shoe filling machines, cooking pots, piglets, electric machines, fufu pounding machines.
The rest of the items included flour and sugar, P.A system, knitting machine, toughing machine, hair dryers, base, rollers, learners head, power amplifiers, and physical cash.
Delivering the items to the beneficiaries at Half Assini-Takoradi Lorry Station over the weekend, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the area, Mr. Ernest Kofie said the government and for that matter, the Assembly had the desire to alleviate the challenges of the physically challenged and make life bearable for them.
According to him, about 3.2% of the population in the Municipality is disabled and there are slightly higher disabilities among the females than the males.
He added that these segments of the population are confronted with several challenges such as poverty, discrimination, and inability to access proper healthcare and public services.
“Today, the many worries and anxieties associated with disability of most of our brothers and sisters will reduce”, he assured.
He emphasized, “This kind gesture is an evidence of an avowed response by the NPP Government to solve the problems and the needs of people with disabilities in Ghana”.
The MCE revealed that the NPP government led by President Akufo-Addo is poised to address some concerns of the disabilities in Ghana and urged the gathering to pray hard for President Akufo-Addo and the NPP government to enable them keep the disabled in mind.
“Today’s event is a clear demonstration that government is poised to ensure that people with living with disabilities have a good stand in society and the family. Let us pray for God’s guidance along the part of truth, justice and to enable the President and the NPP Government to acquaint themselves with you, more than we are seeing today”, he said.
He revealed to the gathering that the disbursement is in line with the guidelines of the District Assemblies Common Fund in which a percentage of the total amount transferred to the Assemblies is allocated to persons with disabilities.
“The Nana Akufo-Addo led government has fulfilled its campaign promise of increasing the Disability Fund Component of the District Assemblies Common Fund, from 2% to 3%. The beneficiaries, who applied to the Assembly for support to embark on various forms of economic ventures, pay their medical bills and undergo surgical operations, pay their school fees and settle vocational training cost will be catered for today as first batch beneficiaries under the new arrangement. The Assembly is still receiving applications. I, therefore, call on all those who are disabled and have not applied to do so to enable them benefit from the fund”, he explained.
He used the occasion to commend the Social Welfare Department and the Fund Management Committee of the Assembly for the thorough work done to select the beneficiaries and ensure that the funds were disbursed to the right people.
Mr. Kofie advised those who found themselves in various schools sponsonsored by the Assembly to study hard in order to be successful in various professions in the future.
He said, to those who are in the skills training section to be humble to their masters and mistresses and to be trained and come out successfully.
He also urged those who are in income generation to use the monies given to them judiciously in order to expand their businesses and employ other people to work with. “Be less dependent,” he charged them.
The MCE entreated the beneficiaries to do exactly what they requested the money for and also urged them to fall on the Assembly for any technical advice or support in case of challenges.
He used the opportunity to remind them that there would be intensive monitoring exercises to see how they were faring with the support received.
“A team from the Assembly will be visiting the beneficiaries in this light. Applicants who used their share of the fund different from what they applied for will not be spared”, he warned.
Speaking to GhanaWeb’s Western Regional Correspondent after the ceremony, the MCE called on the Assembly members and all people in the area to assist the Assembly to generate more revenue for developmental projects.
According to him, “the Assembly will soon embark on education and subsequent embossment of motorbikes, tricycles, cargo cars, Aboboya and other items. The Assembly seeks maximum support and cooperation of all”.
The Western Regional President of Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations, Mr. Samuel Quansah thanked the Assembly and government for supporting them with cash, items and educational assistance.
He also thanked the MCE for being truthful to them and asked God to bless him abundantly.
He also urged them not to squander the money and desist from sitting on the streets and beg for money for survival and encouraged them not to be discriminated.
Mr. Samuel Nyansu, the Jomoro Municipal Social Welfare Director applauded the current government for this initiative to help the persons living with disabilities to live a better life.
He revealed that in the past, government only gave the money to the disabled in physical cash which allowed them to squander the money.
“In the past we give the money to the beneficiaries in cash without encouraging them to use the money judiciously and always their lives do not improve but today this government has done well for initiating this program which will not allow them to squander the money and in fact this unprecedented, it has not happened before, I thank the government and MCE Ernest Kofie for this move”, he said.
Mr. Nyansu who is also the Financial Secretary for the Fund Management Committee cautioned the beneficiaries to use the money to achieve its intended purposes and said the Committee will go round to monitor the disbursement.
On the part of the beneficiaries, the Chairman for Jomoro Municipal Disabled Association, Mr. Kwesi Owusu Nsiah expressed his profound gratitude to the government and the Assembly for the kind gesture.
He promised the Assembly and government to make good use of the items and the money to achieve its intended purposes.
He advised the disabled to not see themselves as social rejects.
He beseeched the general public to desist from seeing them as people who are not important in the society.
He asked to the government to involve the disabled in its decision making.
The Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Paul Essien who was represented by Jomoro YEA Monitoring Team Officer, Mr. Alswel Quarshie thanked the NPP government for honouring its 2016 campaign to improve the living conditions of the disabled.
He revealed to the gathering that the MP had been supporting the disabled people in the Jomoro Constituency.
He said the MP last year bought some wheelchairs for some disabled people and promised to buy more wheelchairs and crutches for them.
The occasion was very colourful and was graced by the Chiefs and people of the Assembly, the staff of the Assembly, NPP Constituency Executives led by their Chairman, Mr. Simon Amoah, the media among others.