The Charismatic Evangelistic Ministry (CEM) last Sunday, launched an $85.4 million dollar housing project for Persons living with Disabilities (PWDs).
The project dubbed ‘CEM Ability Village’ to be executed on a 2000 acre land at Tsopoli in the Ningo-Prampram District is expected to house about 6,690 PWDs.
When completed, the facility would have between two and three bedroom apartments, schools, a police and fire station, farms, a 1500 sitting capacity church, green parks, a hospital, and an industrial hub to provide job opportunities for the inmates.
The event attracted several distinguished personalities including Former President John Dramani Mahama and representatives from sister churches and the PWDs.
The founder of the Church, Reverend Steve Mensah, said the initiative was born out of compassion for the PWDs and destitute.
According to him, his evangelical mission nationwide over the past 30 years had exposed the serious financial and social challenges the PWDs faced, hence the need to provide a permanent place of abode to keep them away from the streets and make them part of society.
“It is rather unfortunate most churches are no more showing compassion to the needy and the poor, we at CEM refuse to tow that line and would ensure that our unfortunate brothers and sisters have a decent place to lay their heads as well as undertake decent jobs to become the breadwinners of their families,” he added.
Rev. Mensah bemoaned the state of some PWDs after a visit to some communities with a team of doctors revealed harrowing scenes which PWDs go through in life.
He appealed to corporate institutions and philanthropists to support the idea and help bring the project to fruition.
Former President Mahama, who commended the church for the initiative, said the project, when completed, would bring some transformation in the lives of the beneficiaries.
PWDs, he stated, could perform creditably well if given the necessary support and urged parents to send their children with disabilities to school for them to get the same opportunities as their fortunate brothers and sisters.
Mr Mahama called for an end to the stigmatisation of PWDs and lamented that some employers ignore PWDs when recruiting, a situation he said did not auger well for a country like Ghana, adding that most government building were also not disability friendly.
The Minister of Gender and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, pledged support for the project to come to fruition.
The Project Director, Mr Fred Nuer, said despite progress made in recent years, people with disabilities continued to face numerous barriers to the full inclusion and participation in their communities.
“Insufficient identification, treatment and support can mean a disability is a complete challenge to participation in local society,” he added.
The CEM, Mr Nuer explained, was initiating the Ability Village project to institute social and economic interventions to remove all barriers to the realisation of the full potential of PWDs.
“This leap is momentous, but with your support we shall attain the goal, let us leave no one behind because we all matter,” he added.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU