Members of the Future Life for the Disabled (FLD), a group of Persons Living with Disabilities, broke into singing on Wednesday in appreciation of a 20,000 Ghana cedis donation made to the group by NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo and Running Mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
The donation was made to facilitate the completion of a training centre being put up by the group, but which had come to a standstill for years, after support dried up.
Founder and Chairman of the group, Emmanuel Dzikunu, who received the donation, expressed profound gratitude to Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawumia for what he described as a life transforming gesture.
“I am so dumfounded today. I don’t know the type of office I have not been into in Ghana. But sometimes you are not even given a chair to sit on but I went to this man (Dr. Bawumia) just three weeks ago, and we are already seeing results.
“I have been moving around for the past two years but no support has come. We got to this stage in 2012 when our benefactor was no longer able to support us and since then no one has been able to support us again. I have been to several places including the Presidency but no one came. Sometimes you are not even welcomed with water”, he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel Dzikunu noted that, the huge gesture was life and destiny transforming as the group and all other interested Persons Living with Disabilities can now realise the dream of receiving technical training on which they can also earn a living and build their lives.
“Last year, we gave letters to several big people for a fundraising we organized, not even one of them showed up to support. We had to raise a 1,000 to organize the event, money we took from the Bank, till date the bank is on my neck.
“My biggest surprise was that last Friday, while still on my rounds through offices for support, I got a call from Dr. Bawumia and the encouraging words he gave me nearly forced me to abandon those rounds but I still didn’t believe because we have had several such assurances, with more sweeter words but later, nothing is heard. It hasn’t been three weeks since I went to him, but today, our incoming Vice-President is already here to support. I know our problems are over. This is truly life transforming. Dr. Bawumia and Nana Akufo-Addo have changed our destinies”, he said.
Dzikunu, who virtually came to tears narrating how he had suffered, trying to find support for the project, noted that with such facilities, persons living with disabilities will not have to beg on the highways and in corners before they can eat and cited his own example and that of others to back his case.
“This is a training centre for the future life for disabled (FLD). The disabled don’t have anywhere to work in this country. I will say a little about my life. I didn’t have the privilege of a good family so I didn’t go to school, especially because I couldn’t also walk. So life was miserable until I decided to get training and become a shoemaker/shoeshine.
“One day, I was on my usual rounds in Accra when I met two disabled men just like me begging. Some gave them and others insulted them. I felt sad and immediately, I gave one of them one polish and one brush and taught him how to polish. Truly, when I visited him the following week, he was working and earning something. Today, he is at Kasoa and owns a shop. So that experience gave me the idea to start a group to train people so we can also work and take care of ourselves”, he indicated.
The founder of the group disclosed that when completed, the Training Centre, will train PLDs in various technical and vocational skills including ICT, Shoe Making, Fashion design, Bead Making, Batik, Soap Making, etc. to make PLDs productive and comfortable.
“Despite this initiative, we have struggled so much to get support. I even went to Social Welfare. I also didn’t receive any support from the Assembly. I even had to pay my way out to get a permit to put up this place. We have sent the pictures of the facility everywhere but still didn’t receive support until we met Dr. Bawumia and Nana Akufo-Addo who have changed our destinies. This facility will train people in Shoe making, fashion design, bead making, batik, soap making, ICT etc.”, he said.
Dr. Bawumia on his part disclosed that, a Nana Akufo-Addo government will reserve a quota of government procurement and public sector employment for Persons Living with Disabilities (PLDs), as well as establishing a Training Institution and Scholarship Scheme purposely for Persons living with disabilities as part of other policies that will be instituted to create a fairer society and make life better for the disadvantaged in society.