Friday, December 14, 2007


Sixty-two years after its establishment, the Akropong School for the Blind had its first Braille Legislation that spells out their basic human rights, last Tuesday.
The Braille version of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Act 456, was launched and a thousand copies donated to the school at a ceremony that was also used to launch the Human Rights Week.
The launch of the Braille version, according to the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, was to “make it easier for the visually impaired to read and understand the provisions of the Act and to help equalise accessibility to human rights protection for a better tomorrow today”.
He said the launch of the human rights week and the Braille version of the CHRAJ Act had added some significance to the country’s celebration of 50 years of independence and championing African excellence.
Apart from that, the day coincided with the International Day of the Disabled.
Mr Quayson said the theme for the human rights week, “Human Rights and Social Justice in Ghana at 50: Have we come of Age?” was to take stock and ask if 50 years on, the country had gained maturity in human rights practice.
He pointed out that human rights had been affirmed by the human race as the most potent instrument for developing nations, ensuring the dignity and worth of the human person and promoting social progress, among other things.
Quoting the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan, he said no development could be possible without security, no security could be enjoyed without development and neither could be enjoyed without the respect of human rights.
Mr Quayson expressed his appreciation to DANIDA for supporting CHRAJ in its work. A representative of DANIDA, Mr Lauge Bechshoeft, was present to join in the activities.
The Headmaster of the school, Mr John Stanley Annor, said attaining “quality of life” enshrined under Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution for persons living with disabilities required empowerment.
“But before they can be empowered they need the right to information. To get the right to information, one has to be literate enough. But to be literate, the visually impaired need to have Braille literacy,” he pointed out.
He, therefore, made an appeal that a Braille version of the new syllabi under the educational reform, textbooks and the 1992 Constitution be produced.
Mr Annor said the school also needed a Braille embosser, for copying Braille material for students, a photocopier with large print for students with low vision, Braille sheets and computers with speech software, among other things.
He also appealed to the Ministry of Health through the Minister of Education to restore the system where school nurses were attached to special schools to cater for the needs of people with disabilities.
He explained that since teaching went on concurrently with medical care, there was the urgent need for school nurses to handle the health conditions of the students.
Mr Annor also asked for decent accommodation to be built for teachers at the school as some lived as far as Accra and commuted to the school each day.
He said that would also enable them to provide a 24-hour special care and service to the visually impaired, who were easily prone to injuries.
The Minister of Education, Science and Sports (MOESS), Prof. Dominic Fobih, whose speech was read on his behalf by the Chief Director of the ministry, Mr Kwamina Acquah, called for concerted efforts from all Ghanaians to ensure the enjoyment of rights by all.
The District Chief Executive, Mr Adu Aboagye, who also represented the regional minister, said the District Assembly was collaborating with the school to produce a Braille version of the Disability Act.
CHRAJ also donated a mower to the school.


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