The Unified Football for Inclusion, a soccer event, which involved students with disabilities from the various special schools in the country, has been held at the Akropong School for the Blind in the Eastern region.
It attracted six schools including the Akropong School for the Blind, Koforidua School for the Deaf, Mampong Demonstration School for the Deaf, Secondi School for the Deaf, Wa Methodist School for the Blind and the Wa School for the Deaf.
The event was organised by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Norwegian government, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS), Ministry of Education (MoE), the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection.
Addressing the participants, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay said, the event was part of activities to mark this year’s World Children’s Day scheduled for November 20.
That, she said, would promote inclusion and non-discrimination, and give every child the opportunity to thrive in an inclusive, safe and protected society.
“At UNICEF, we believe all children and young persons should have a fair and equitable chance to enjoy their rights, no matter their abilities and today’s football tournament is part of the many activities to celebrate the children. It’s all about ability,” she stated.
She disclosed that UNICEF had supported the Ghana in the implementation of all-inclusive programmes and would continue to ensure equal rights were given to all children including those with disability.
For her part, the Deputy Director for MoYS, who represented the Sport Minister, MsFrancisca Atuluk said students with disability were most disadvantaged in terms of safeguarding their rights, ensuring their proper development through the provision of suitable infrastructure, services, support and care both at home and in communities.
She said such areas of sports activities was one disabled people were not given the necessary attention and support, adding that such shortcomings often led to their exclusion from most developmental opportunities.
The President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kurt Okraku was delighted to join hands with UNICEF and other partners to organise the event and added the tournament was worth it considering the inclusiveness of both able and disabled children.
He donated some footballs and jerseys to the participating teams in the football tournament.
BY AMA TEKYIWAA AMPADU AGYEMAN, AKROPONG