By Sefakor Komabu-Pomeyie, Advancing Leaders Fellow 2013, SIT Graduate Institute 2013
Despite many obstacles, including my own poor health, my partners and I have at last officially launched the Accessible School Environment Advocacy Campaign.
Enlightening and Empowering People with Disabilities Africa (EEPD AFRICA) has captured the airwaves these few months in Ghana. We have made a pledge that all Ghanaians will wake up and dance to our tune “if we talk about equality and equity, make the schools’ environments accessible for all.” Only education can help people with disabilities develop their potential and contribute to the development of Ghana’s economy and commitment to human rights.
Though our campaign focuses on Ghana, we believe our message transcends the country’s borders. The Accessible School Environment Advocacy Campaign acknowledges the plight of all people with disabilities around the globe, and our board members are making every effort to bring our message of inclusive and accessible education to radio and television stations, newspapers, and online media outside of the country.
School inaccessibility is not unique to Ghana or unique to Africa; it is a global issue. In just the last couple months, you may have seen headlines “Development Goals for Disabled People” and “Poverty and Disability: Why those on the Margins Can’t be Left Behind?”
But as one supporter from Nepal stresses, “It doesn’t have to be this way. Small changes to infrastructure design such as providing ramps and wide doors with handrails that people can use to support themselves can make an enormous difference. Helping people with disabilities be more independent can increase their contribution to society, so everyone benefits. Infrastructure and services that are accessible for those with disabilities should not be thought of as charity, but as part of providing basic human rights to everyone.”
So many people are ensuring the success of this campaign – the Municipal Director of Education, the Municipal Chief Executive of Nsawam, the Department of Social Welfare, the Officers of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities. We at EEPD AFRICA are equally grateful for the commitment of the disabled community in Nsawam. Yes, the change will come from nobody but from us, people with disabilities!
Join the Advancing Leaders Fellows in making a difference by donating to the Fellowship program. Your support changes the lives of our alumni and the communities they serve. And be sure to follow Sefakor on Twitter and on this blog as she develops her project in the coming months.