An idea conceived some 8 years ago by Rev. Dr. Steve Mensah, Founder of the Charismatic Evangelistic Ministry (CEM), to build an empowerment village for persons with disabilities in the country is becoming a reality.
On Saturday, June 24, 2023, a colourful groundbreaking ceremony led by the Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, was held at the project site at Agortor in the Shai-Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region, to kick-start the project.
CEM Ability Village is a charity focused on empowering persons with disabilities (PWDs) to live a more fulfilling and dignified life in society.
The objective is expected to help eliminate stigmatization, raise awareness of their needs and provide the requisite services to enable them to integrate into society.
The vision of Rev. Mensah is for every person with a disability to live a fulfilled life by enjoying full equal rights and being included and playing active roles in all facets of society.
He envisions a society where there is no discrimination against PWD throughout Africa, no matter their gender, race, religion or age.
The CEM Ability Village will provide programmes that will help PWDs to live in dignity by providing access to housing, economic activity, health care, and specialised services and initiate projects throughout the country to help PWD to integrate into the Ghanaian society and promote cultural change about attitudes towards PWD.
The 2000-acre project is estimated to cost $389,380,400; with the first phase, costing US$85.3 million on a 500-acre land.
Its key areas of focus include:
Accessible & Affordable Housing Units
The CEM Ability Village aims to provide over 9,000 accessible and affordable housing units, accommodating more than 69,000 families. This initiative will ensure the independence and dignity of persons with disabilities.
Quality Inclusive Education
The village will offer inclusive education for over 10,000 children with disabilities, providing individualized support and assistance to help them reach their full potential.
Accessible Health & Social Care
A world-class specialist hospital with 100 beds will be established, equipped with specialized care for persons with disabilities. The hospital will offer services such as physical therapy and rehabilitation.
An industrial hub within the village, named after the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, Hon. Naa Torshie Addo, will create employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, fostering an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive.
The Technology Hub
A Technology Hub, also named after Vice President Bawumia, aims to bridge the digital divide and ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to the opportunities offered by the rapidly evolving technology industry.
The facility will provide relevant technological skills training in programming, robotics, and other emerging fields to individuals with disabilities.
Vocational Education & Training
Skilled instructors and industry professionals will provide hands-on training and mentorship to the residents.
Residents will learn practical skills, acquire industry-recognized certifications, and gain valuable work experience through internships and apprenticeships.
The village will establish a state-of-the-art agricultural program, offering the latest technology and equipment to empower persons with disabilities in the agricultural sector.
For ten years, Rev. Dr. Steve Mensah holds “A Day of Help”, an annual charity programme to share assistive devices, food, and other essential items with persons with disabilities across the country.
The CEM Ability Village project represents a shift from the once-a-year “Day of Help” initiative to a sustainable, integrated, and empowerment-driven community for persons with disabilities.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Rev. Mensah appealed to traditional leaders in the country to give out lands for the construction of similar projects across the regions, so that persons with disabilities would not have to travel long distances to access the services of the village.
He also called on corporate institutions and individuals to come on board. He promised that any department they would sponsor to build, would be named after them.
The first phase of the project is expected to start in July, 2023, while the church continues to seek financial support for the rest.
A fund-raising campaign, “10 for Ability” was launched to encourage individuals to donate 10 cedis or more every month for 12 months.
This campaign aims to create awareness and generate support for the CEM Ability Village project. By donating, individuals can play a significant role in transforming the lives of persons with disabilities, empowering communities, and creating a more inclusive society.
To contribute to the “10 for Ability” campaign, visit the official website at www.cemabilityvillage.org/donate.