The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have jointly handed over essential assistive devices and basic screening materials worth USD $100,000 to the government for use in assessment centres in all 10 regions across the country.
It took place at the flagship assessment centre in the Central Region, located within the Cape Coast School for the Deaf/Blind, a statement issued by UNICEF Communication Manager and External Relations and Fundraising, Eullete Ewart said.
The equipment, include assistive devices (child-sized wheelchairs, crutches, complete spectacles, and hearing aids) and basic screening materials (including snellen charts, tossing rings, tennis balls, drums),
It is expected to provide the much needed support for thousands of children with mild to moderate disabilities in Ghana to have greater access to mainstream schools especially pupils and students with special educational needs.
UNICEF, with funding support from USAID, is working with the Ghanaian Government through the Ghana Education Service to support 20 districts in the implementation of Inclusive Education.
“It is encouraging to see that all children especially those with special needs now have a chance to learn in an inclusive environment,” Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF representative in Ghana, said in the statement.
“Inclusive education is a particularly strong priority for USAID,” USAID/Ghana Mission Director Andy Karas said, adding “I have seen first-hand the power of these efforts to not only open up opportunities for children with special needs, but to help all children receive a better education.”
Despite the commitment made by the government in its Inclusive Education policy, children with disabilities are still at risk of stigma, misunderstanding, and discrimination particularly within their local communities.
Such discrimination hinders a child’s chance to receive quality education. UNICEF will therefore continue to support the Ghanaian Government, through the Ministry of Education/Ghana Education Service,
“Children with disabilities will never be able to achieve their full potential unless they are given a fair chance to learn like any other child,” Ms Ngongi said
“While Ghana’s Inclusive Education policy plays an essential role, we need greater collaboration with family members, communities, development partners, civil society, and all stakeholders to allow every child a chance to thrive.
“The UNICEF and USAID partnership is a demonstration of what can be achieved when we work together,” the UNICEF Representative added.
By Times Reporter