Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has cut the sod for construction work to begin on a 2,000 acre, 9,000-home Integrated Community and Empowerment Centre for Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) at Agortor-Kope in the Ningo-Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region.
Known as the CEM Ability Village, it is the brainchild of the Charismatic Evangelistic Ministry (CEM), through the Church’s Ability Village Charity, to support and empower persons with disabilities skills training and specialist healthcare to promote their full participation in all facets of society.
Work on Phase One of the project, to be situated on 500 acres, begins immediately while the charity continues to solicit funds and equipment to undertake the entire project in record time.
Vice President Bawumia, a passionate supporter of the cause of PWDs lauded the leadership of the church for conceiving and undertaking such a major project, saying it is a reflection of the Church’s response to the call to help humanity.
“For many years, I have followed with keen interest your efforts in providing assistive devices, medical care, and other essential items for this vulnerable group across the country by organizing the “Day of Help” for persons with disabilities, which is commendable”, Dr Bawumia hailed Rev Steve Mensah and the leadership of the Church and the Charity.
People with disabilities face a variety of social, attitudinal, physical, educational, transportation, and communication barriers in their everyday lives, which affects their full inclusion in our communities. These barriers result in negative consequences such as social exclusion, physical and mental health challenges, discrimination, stigmatization, low self-esteem, and financial difficulties, Dr Bawumia noted.
“Consequently, persons with disabilities are more likely to live in abject poverty than persons without disabilities. Unfortunately, our society’s actions and inactions continue to create barriers to their integration into our communities.
“It has become expedient to tackle these issues head-on with concrete actions that will deal with all these prejudices and barriers impeding the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in our communities. Therefore, CEM Ability Village shows that we do not have to wait for the Government to do everything. We are all responsible for our fellow brothers and sisters living with a disability.
“We all need to put our hands on the plow and work to remove all obstacles facing our brothers and sisters. Let us tap into our human nature and give out our resources to lift persons with disabilities from this quagmire of despondency.”
“We have to do a lot as a Government, and we are committed to addressing these challenges,” he stressed.
Dr Bawumia, who is Patron of the Ghana Lepers’ Aid Committee and whose care and philanthropic activities with persons living with disabilities are well documented, pledged his commitment to the success of the project, and urged all to do same.
“I must admit that this initiative to support persons with disability is dear to my heart, and I will offer all the necessary support for realising the CEM Ability Village. The Government will also do its part in the realisation of this project. Supporting the CEM Ability Village is our civic and moral responsibility. Let us all rise to the occasion for every life matters, and we should not leave anyone behind.
“This groundbreaking is a call to action; Ghana must stand with persons with disabilities. I will encourage Corporate Ghana, the donor community, development partners, Associations and groups, religious organisations, and individuals to give generously to this laudable project. Technical assistance from development partners and construction materials and equipment donations for the skills training facilities and the hospital are welcome,” he emphasised.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, thanked the chiefs of the area “for releasing such a large tract of land for such a laudable project”, and pledged the Ministry’s “absolute support” to ensure its speedy completion.
The CEM Ability Village
The CEM Ability Village is programmed to be an inclusive and empowerment centre to help address some of the challenges facing persons with disabilities.
The Village will provide: a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and other skills training to address PWD employment challenges.
More also an ultra-modern hospital to cater for the specific needs of persons with disability. Among others, the hospital will also serve as a referral centre for PWDs to provide restorative surgery, aids and appliances, training and serve as a research facility.
Additionally, a technology Centre to focus on software development and hardware assembly and repair and provide advocacy, counselling, guidance, and information services for persons with disabilities across the country.
And lastly, provide assisted living and affordable housing support as well as support persons with disabilities to venture into agriculture and other business ventures in collaboration with development partners and corporate organisations.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD