Persons with disabilities in Ghana continue to lag in education. The 2010 Population and Housing Census found that 20% of children with physical disabilities do not attend school.
This menace continues to be on the rise even today. In 2006, Ghana passed the Disability Law, Act 715, which aimed at ending the discrimination against people with disabilities, a 10-year moratorium given by the Act for old buildings to be renovated to disability-friendly status has undoubtedly not been met.
This is because, like Jeremiah, there are many students with disability who are desperate to be in school despite their conditions but are however out of school due to the inaccessibility of educational facilities in our country.
Joy Learning, Ghana’s first educational Television Channel in a documentary filed by Irene Adubea Aning dubbed ‘A Slipping Dream’, reveals the sad story of Jeremiah Badu Junior, a student of Adabraka Basic School, who was born with a defect that resulted in him being stationed in a wheelchair.
He exudes a great sense of defiance to the limitations physically challenged persons face in their educational pursuits.
The 17-year-old describes how he uses his hands and feet as a scale of mobility through and from the boundaries of his school and home.
Despite having many difficulties, this did not stop the boy from attending school on a regular basis.
Jeremiah suffered from a fall while descending the stairs a few miles from his classroom, scabbing him with swollen feet and hands, his already challenged situation was aggravated after this fall.
Jeremiah Badu’s daily reminders of the fall are swollen reddish feet and hands that are constantly filled with pus subjecting him to excruciating pain routinely.
He is forced to quit school due to his inability to scale through the several steep stairs and narrow walkways in school with his marred hands and feet.
“It is hard for me to go to school, I have to use my hands and legs or sometimes my classmates carry me,” he recounted.
In his never-given-up spirit and his love for art, Jeremiah finds solace in drawing action figures from the cartoons he watches and cuts them out as play dolls, after he painfully bids his siblings farewell to school.
Despite having dropped out of school Jeremiah admonishes persons with disabilities to strive for academic excellence looking beyond the veil of stigma and self-pity.
“I learn my English language in the cartoons I watch on TV, I want people to know that though they have disabilities they can still do a lot.”
Jeremiah is appealing to the general public to offer any form of support that could aid him in returning to school to pursue his dreams of becoming a vehicle architect.