Ahead of the Workers Day celebration on Sunday May 1, stakeholders in the disability sphere convened a forum to find ways of making Persons Living With Disability (PWD) gain employment on the Ghanaian labor market.
The forum took place in Accra yesterday, and was hinged on the theme: ‘Highlighting the Poor Representation of PWDs on the Labor Market.” It was put together by Extra Helping Hands Foundation, in collaboration with Centre for Employment of Persons with Disability (CEPD).
Some key organisations which contributed to the discussion were representatives from the Centre for Employment of Persons with Disability, Ministry of Trade, Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFDO) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Takyi Duku Anaman, Director, Extra Helping Hands Foundation, said his organisation convened the programme because it had noted that PWDs had been sidelined in the employment and labor market for far too long, and said this was very evident in the celebration of May Day.
He said it was trite knowledge that laws had been put in place to ensure the proper representation of PWDs in some spheres of human endeavour, including employment, but these laws had not been enforced, hence, the discrimination that was being witnessed, therefore, the need to bring stakeholders together to find a solution to it.
The President of CEPD, Mr. Alexander Tetteh, who also spoke at the function, admitted that some few institutions were doing well when it came to employing PWDs, but majority of them were adamant to the existing laws, and described the situation as very pathetic.
He noted that what his organisation and other sister organisations intended to do was push for an Act of Parliament that would compel corporate Ghana to ensure that they gave a quota of their employment opportunities to PWDs.
The Executive Directive of GFDO, Mr. Alexander Williams, said the reason the employment of PWDs had become challenging and tough was because the government had not put a strategy in place to employ such individuals.
He noted that there were PWDs with higher levels of educational qualifications and skills, and yet, were unemployed, because of lack of strategy. He said there were others who even wanted to go into the sale of consumable goods, but the finance and space where they could even sell their products was also another challenge.
He said another reason this was happening was because the capacity of employers had not been built to view PWDs as people who could contribute immensely to productivity, and advocated that employers must be given that orientation and be made aware of how PWDs could be a critical part of the labour force of every organisation.
Speaking on the role of industries in PWDs employability, Madam Stella Akosua Ansah, a representative from the Trade Ministry, said that government relies on data and research to formulate policies, and noted that there was little data on PWDs, which made it difficult for it to formulate extensive policies.
She beckoned stakeholders to work hard to get good data on all PWDs in the country, so that they could be factored well in government policies.
Madam Naa Ayele, a representative from the Trades Union Congress, who assured the PWDs of her association’s support, said that PWDs should formalise their businesses, so that they could get access to funds.