Founder and C. E. O. of Up and Shine Foundation, Rev Dr. Richard Nii Amartey Adesah, is appealing to government to create a special fund for children with disability to ensure their holistic development.
Rev Adesah, immediate past President of the Federation of Africa Amputee Football, who made the appeal in his New Year message in Accra, expressed hope that such a fund would change the narrative of disability in the country.
“A fund that would sustain the development of these special children, would automatically lead to a change in the behaviour of persons with disability (PWDs) and eventually the narrative bout disability,” he stated.
“I, on behalf of the Foundation and those in the disability sector, wish to appeal to government to consider such a fund to help raise the children to become responsible adults,” he said.
Up and Shine Foundation , a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) aimed at the holistic development of children with disability, later last year, embarked on an awareness creation exercise to draw attention to the need to give holistic education to children with disability.
The children, numbering about thirty and led by Rev. Dr. Richard Nii Amartey Adesah, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Foundation, went on a walk through the principal streets of Nsawam and the Nsawam Market, interacting with the market women, while drawing attention to special care for children with disability.
The main focus of their campaign was for parents to be careful not to bring about disability to their children through negligence, one of the major causes of disability among the children.
Rev. Dr. Richard Nii Amartey Adesah, in an interaction with the mothers, recounted how some of the children in the Foundation’s Academy, became Persons with Disability (PWDs) as a result of their parents lack of attention.
He narrated how Ella, a double amputee, lost her limbs because her mother left her, then at 1 and half years, together with her 3 year-old sister in a room with a lit candle. The candle led to the burning of her feet and for the timely intervention of a passer-by, she would have lost her life.
He further told the story of another child who lost a part of the arm at a corn mill when he put his hand into the mill to ease passage of corn, when the mother lost focus on him.
Rev. Dr. Adesah admonished the mothers, who spend more time with the children to be extra vigilant with their children, to avoid preventable disability, warning that they could be even prosecuted for child neglect if they allow such incidents to happen.
He encouraged those with children with disability, not to keep them indoors or consider them as cursed children, but rather bring them to the Academy located at Kwakyekrom, near Nsawam, to be developed holistically into responsible adults.
“Our Academy is interested in the holistic development of children with disability because we believe they can become responsible adults like any other person if given the right upbringing and training from the tender age,” he disclosed.
He added that, one of the reasons some Persons with Disability (PWDs) become beggars is the inability of their parents or society to give them the right upbringing to become self-reliant and believe in their ability to contribute to the development of their country.
Rev Dr. Adesah, who is the Immediate Past President of the Federation of Africa Amputee Football (FAAF), reiterated his conviction that, just as some amputee football players are earning a living through sports, the children with various forms of disability, could be nurtured to become great men and women of their generations.
The children had earlier been guests to Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the last Akwasidae of the year, at Mahyia Palace, as part of their campaign for the holistic development of children with disability.
They were first hosted by the Mamensehene of Ashanti, who pledged his support towards the Academy’s efforts, calling on all and sundry to support the vision of the leaders of the Academy.
Their campaign was supported by the John Kinney Foundation, which pledged to join in the vision to change the narrative of disability.