The center established by an NGO, Society for the Socially Disadvantaged over 60 years ago, trains persons with disabilities in vocational skills and adult literacy for free. However, the facility lacked accessibility features and that was creating problems for the trainees.

The 6 bathrooms, 2 washrooms, and the sales store for their products, either had no ramps or had inaccessible ramps. Additionally, there was an open gutter on the compound that was causing mobility challenges.

Dr. Augustina Naami who said her heart sank the first day she visited the center, provided a solution to the problem.

At a handing-over ceremony on Sunday, December 10, 2023, she announced that she would build five access ramps every year for public buildings to improve access, inclusion, and safety for persons with disabilities. 

The initiative follows a research she did in 2018 about access barriers for persons with disabilities in Ghana. 

The outcome of the research indicates that access barriers impede the socio-economic and political participation, as well as the psychological well-being of persons with disabilities.

Subsequently, she produced an evidence-based manual, aimed at bridging the gap between research and practice. The manual discusses the major physical and transportation barriers that persons with mobility disability face. It also outlines the step-by-step actions to address the challenges.

She later decided to practicalise the ideas. And started with a portable and foldable wheelchair ramp, in 2020. 

In 2022, she constructed six accessible ramps in five public basic schools in the Ga East Educational Directorate, before the Ghana Society of the Physically Disadvantaged project this year.

According to her, the initiative is her little way of contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 11, which urges member states to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. 

Dr. Augustina Naami called on the government and other stakeholders to be intentional about disability inclusion.

“Representation of persons with disabilities in every decision-making arena should increase.  We must move away from tokenism and ensure that the voices of persons with disabilities are heard. 

The government and stakeholders should also ensure that they walk the talk by setting aside budgets for disability inclusion. Persons with disabilities should be part of the solutions to the problems they face. Persons with disabilities are expert knowers of their issues and can help us develop interventions that could address their issues.” She said.

She also calls for financial support to make the environment more accessible to pave the way for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.