Friday, 22 April 2016

How would you describe time well spent?

They say procrastination is the thief of time, I have managed to stall the writing of this blog till it was virtually impossible to postpone it anymore because deadline date had caught up with me. It was just but a week ago that we were seated in the resource center waiting for our team leader to tell us what was next on the agenda for the day, but like an air plane on the runway we have finally taken off with jet speed.

The audit team comprising of myself and Jack had the herculean task of picking up the pieces from where the previous cohorts had left off. They conducted an audit of forty (40) public places and open spaces in the Tamale Metropolis to determine how accessible they are to persons with disability, we on the other hand had the task of furnishing these places with the completed audit reports and also administer a follow up questionnaire. Let me be quick to add that most public buildings in Tamale are not accessible to persons with disabilities, despite the directives in section six (6) of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 Act 715 which states that the owner or occupier of a place to which the public has access shall provide appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by a person with disability.

We did not let the scorching sun discourage us from delivering the reports and pointing out to owners of these buildings the recommendations they have to apply to make their establishments more accessible. I was particularly overwhelmed when the branch manager of Ghana Commercial Bank revealed that he was actually looking forward to include the recommendations of the audit report to the up-coming renovations of the bank.

International Service ICS volunteers
conduct a radio sensitisation
I teamed up with Wumbei and Marley to do a radio sensitization at radio savanna on the rights of persons with disability. Roughly ten percent (10%) of Ghana’s twenty (20) million citizens are persons with disability. Even though their rights are defined both by Ghana’s Constitution and by international conventions, in reality these provisions have offered them very little actual protection against stigmatization. It is in light of this that the resource center through volunteers seek to educate the general public by increasing awareness, so that more people with disability will begin to demand the rights to which they are legally entitled.

It was my first time on radio and I was very tense but with help from Wumbei and our able team leader Fuseini the programme came off without any glitches, it is anticipated that thousands of listeners who tuned into the programme across northern Ghana have a change of heart towards persons with disability and stop the stigmatization against them in addition to treating them with respect and dignity.

So if you ask me what time well spent is, I would say time spent with new friends/teammates in getting owners of public buildings to make their spaces more accessible to the minority population, also period spent on air(free airtime I must say) propagating the rights of people with disability and appealing to the conscience of the public on their responsibility towards the vulnerable in society and the need to stop the stigmatization against such people as well as giving everyone equal opportunity to thrive. Time spent in making this world a better place for all is time well spent to me.

Abdul-Muhsin Jackson, ICV Ghana

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