By Sefakor Komabu-Pomeyie, Advancing Leaders Fellow 2013, SIT Graduate Institute 2013
Inclusion must begin with education and that is exactly what Empowering and Enlightening People with Disabilities—Africa (EEPD AFRICA) is fighting for by using the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
When we started our campaign, we never expected to make such a huge impact so early. We used media outlets to let Ghanaians know, that if they want persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, the government and other stakeholders must take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access to all facilities and services provided to the public.
In the last few months, our campaign has won the hearts of Ghanaians. It’s very exciting that people are now contacting us directly to learn more about our mission and about how to apply universal design to schools to make them accessible to persons with disabilities. Our television ads and radio discussions have educated them on disability rights and exposed the realities on the ground to them. That was why Ghanaians from around the country nominated our campaign to win first place in the first National Disability Excellence Award.
This award came as a big surprise to us even though we know we were making a difference in the country. We just didn’t know how well known and how respected the Accessible School Environment Campaign had become.
It’s a great joy to be among the history makers who are making a difference for persons with disabilities in Ghana. There is a Bible passage, “Nyatefe ye, nunyui worla fe ta metsina eba me o,” or “Those who wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40: 31). Though this award had no financial attachment, it has added more value to our organization as we are now sprouting.
Expectations are higher now, though. The country is watching and wants to see changes made and as soon as possible. Moreover, we’ve come to realize that we need more funding and more hands on board to accomplish our lofty goals. We are trying to retrofit some schools in the Nsawam-Adoagyiri Municipality in the Eastern Region of Ghana, which we will use as model schools in our subsequent campaigns.
We invite you to help us send a disabled child to school in Ghana. We challenge you invest in making a positive change in Ghana.
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.