People with disabilities including people with mental health conditions continue to suffer stigma and discrimination and other forms of abuses including abuse of their fundamental human rights. To build the capacity of these group of persons to assert their rights and demand justice for the abuse of their rights, Hope for Future Generations, under the Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBC) and stigma reduction for mental health and disability inclusion project with support from Ghana Somubi Dwumadie, conducted a legal literacy session and strategic litigation for 37 members of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled in Ashaiman. This is the first of many sessions for different disability groups in the five project districts in the Greater Accra Region. Similar sessions are running concurrently in five districts in the Central Region and each of the four districts in the Northeast and Savannah regions for the project period.
The meeting held on Saturday 9th July 2022 on the premises of Ashaiman Cluster of Schools aimed at increasing the knowledge of beneficiaries on what the Constitution of Ghana says about disability and some of the provisions of the Disability Act 2006 (Act 715). Mr. Roger Amandi, a lawyer and an Investigator at the Greater Accra Regional Office of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), exposed some of the key provisions of the Disability Act like Transportation, Education, Defamation, Exploitation and Discrimination of people with disability, Medical Treatment for complete disability among others to participants.
Participants at the meeting took turns to share experiences of abuse of human rights they have suffered due to the disabilities. Mr. Amandi provided guidance on how aggrieved parties could seek redress and mentioned that they could present their issues to CHRAJ or Hope for Future Generations to champion their course.
In a second session, members of Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled (GSPD) were taken through stress and its management as part of providing psychosocial support for people with disabilities including people with mental health conditions. Ms. Evelyn Brown, the Counsellor for the day from University of Ghana, explained to the members that stress was part of human life but must be managed. She also mentioned that stress among people with disabilities are high compared to the general population and called for greater care of themselves to avoid the negative consequences of living with stress unmanaged. Participants shared some of the stresses they go through in their daily lives. The counsellor gave them tips on managing stress and booked one-on-one counselling sessions with some of the members.
Ending the day, Levlyn Asiedu, the SBC project officer for the Greater Accra Region, took participants through using positive language in disability discussions to ensure inclusion in the homes, the community, and the Ghanaian Society at large.