Stigma keeps physical challenge indoors–victim

Cynthia Morrison, Gender Minister-designate

Cynthia Morrison, Gender Minister-designate

A 40-year-old physically challenged person, Ms Comfort Dorgbefu, says stigmatisation by the public is a major reason some of her colleagues would prefer to stay indoors than work.

She said some of them were talented and capable of contributing their quota to the development of the society.

The bead maker and petty trader recalled a motor accident 19 years ago which led to her disability and said this had made her the object of public ridicule even among family and friends.

Speaking with the Ghanaian Times on Wednesday, Ms Dorgbefu said she used to shuttle between Tema in the Greater Accra Region and Hohoe in the Volta Region to trade in smoked fish before her accident.

The mother of one disclosed that she was unable to move about after her recovery because she had lost her sense of confidence.

The petty trader said even her fiancé abandoned her to marry another woman because he did not want to have anything to do with a physically challenged woman; hence she had to move out of his house.

She said it took the intervention of the Winners’ Chapel to provide her with a wheel chair several years later to encourage her to pick herself up and move on.

She said disabled persons needed the help of society to embrace them and called on the Department of Social Welfare to support physically challenged persons to integrate into society.

She appealed to other physically challenged persons to desist from begging along the road since that renders them vulnerable to motor accidents and also compromises their dignity.

She commended the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) for supporting her with money from Disability funds to improve her work.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, Ms Matilda Mahamah, advised physically challenged persons to ignore the stigma but work to prove their worth.

Ms  Mahamah said it was heartbreaking to see physically challenged persons begging by the roads, adding that the department was working to change the trend.

 FROM DZIFA TETTEH, TEMA

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