The Director of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU), Peter Obeng Asamoah, has appealed to government, corporate institutions and philanthropists to consider investing in the needs of blind children to help them attain a better future.
He said there were many disability children across the country, especially blind children who could not get access to basic education due to the lack of necessary equipment to train them.
Mr Asamoah made the appeal at an event to hand over a braille version of a human rights protection protocol manual to the GBU by the leadership of the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), a CSO, in Accra on Thursday, November 23, 2023.
The presentation was done by a solicitor for CEPIL, Mr Alhassan Iddrisu. The manual contains the nature of human rights and protection of human rights defenders.
Mr Asamoah said: “I want the government and corporate institutions to take a second look at the needs of blind children in the country. I want philanthropists and well-meaning citizens to hear about this call to invest a little more in blind children”.
“Right now, there is technology for teaching blind children and we have made several appeals to the government to invest just a little in securing some of these equipment for the children.
“If the government is printing textbooks for children in schools, why can’t they put some of these books in braille or digital form for blind children,” he queried.
Mr Asamoah further said more emphasis needed to be placed on value rather than cost and added that “education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty”.
He said other major challenges facing his outfit included raising of funds for activities since the union had run out on donations.
“We have been in existence since 1951, yet we don’t have any source of reliable funding and this makes it very difficult to run the union,” the director said.
Mr Asamoah commended the leadership of CEPIL for the support.
“A lot of times, these manuals and reports come out but we don’t get access to them. So giving us this document in an accessible format is what we call inclusion, and until our society is totally inclusive, our development goals will continue to elude us.
“We are most grateful to CEPIL and we hope that other sectors will emulate this example,” he added.
For his part, Mr Alhassan said his outfit undertook the initiative to influence public institutions to produce public documents in braille format to enable the blind to also get access to information.
“The essence is to influence every public institution to be able to produce public documents in braille form to enable these people get access to information. Government institutions should start making their reports, for instance the recently read budget, in diverse forms for people who cannot see and others who cannot even read English so that the information will be available to all Ghanaians,” he said.
He called for an end to discrimination against persons with disability since it was no fault of theirs to be born blind.
“A person becomes blind not by choice. It is creation of God and they did nothing wrong to be blind so that person should not be discriminated in any way. Discrimination against blind people must change and this must change because these things draw us back as a people.”
“We must do whatever we can, through sensitization and maybe through legislation to stop this. There is an ongoing effort to amend the disability act and I believe the input they are seeking will address some of these issues. I am sure we will have a law that avoids discrimination and considers the specific needs of persons with disability because they are part of the society,” he added.
He mentioned that this was the first time that CEPIL was making a donation to the union saying: “We intend to make more copies and we will go to the regions, as far as our resources will permit, to donate these reports and future reports in braille form to other blind associations. There must be universal dissemination of information and accessible to as many people as possible.”