With growing concern over increasing trend in the world’s disabled population, the thought that 80 percent of that figure live in developing countries presents even greater worry, giving the fact that persons with disabilities are most discriminated against in Ghana. Persons with disabilities across the world a known to attract less attention as far education, health, economic and social participation are concerned and therefore are poorer and disadvantaged society.
Ghana’s 5 million disabled population have their fair share of this negative phenomenon- they constitute an impoverished and marginalized group, characterized by a lack of access to important public amenities and social protection system.
They are often denied their right to be included in the general school system, unemployed, stigmatized or excluded in sports and cultural activities among other things.
This segment of society is also subjected to violence or rape, and less likely to obtain police intervention, legal protection or preventive care. Women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to this kind of abuse.
The urge to empower people living with disabilities and remove the barriers which prevent them from participating in their communities on equal footing as their able counterparts gave birth to the Hopepal project – an integrated approach that promotes gender equity and equality to reduce their vulnerability and make their voices heard.
HFFG has been working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Starr FM (EIB Network) in building on the positives of the one-time pen pal clubs designed to promote literacy skills and cultural diversity amongst schools in the 1990s – this time bringing persons with disabilities (PWDs) together with individuals, families, institutions and organizations to improve and enhance the general well-being of PWDs.
The project’s flagship a sporting event with special schools, HopePalympics was held for the first time at the Senior High Technical School for the Deaf, Mampong – Akuapem during which participants were mentored and lectured on various career guidance programmes, and discussed menstrual hygiene, puberty, and other sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues.