The Founder of Klicks Africa Foundation, an advocacy organisation for children with Autism and other intellectual disabilities has urged Pastors in the country to endeavour to preach acceptance of persons with disabilities (PWDs) to their members.
Mrs. Mary Amoah Kuffour believes that that would go a long way to discourage stigmatisation and discrimination against persons with disabilities in churches.
All the negative treatments persons with disabilities in Ghana are subjected to, happen in the churches too.
The Christian faith is blamed for being one of the major sources of negative perceptions about disability. It is very common to see pastors attempting to either “deliver” or “cast out demons” from children with disabilities, as they often associate disability with evil spirits, with some claiming that such children are demon-possessed.
Such pronouncements and actions have led to church members stigmatising and discriminating against persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities.
Consequently, many PWDs and parents of children with disabilities are forced to stop going to church to avoid embarrassment.
Mrs. Mary Kuffour who has a teenage girl with autism and intellectual disability, shared personal experiences of derogatory comments and name-calling at church, resulting in her and the family deciding to start their own church at home at some point.
In an exclusive interview with DisabilityNewsGH, Mrs. Mary Kuffour notes that, if the church which is supposed to be a place of hope ends up becoming a source of pain and sorrow, then the church is not serving its purpose.
She argues that all human beings are equal in the eyes of God, therefore, it is wrong for the church to make some people feel that they are worthless.
She spoke about the need for children’s service teachers especially, to be educated on the acceptance of children with disabilities and to treat them with love and care.