13. Charles

My biggest challenge was that in fact it was my intention to be a professor. But you know, it gets difficult along the line. As you go, you have to fight for yourself or everyone leaves you. Because of the difficulty I faced getting the push from my parents, I did not become what I intended to do. Education – that was my difficulty.


My story started this way. According to my mom, I was about three years old when I fell down. The second I fell down, that was all. I couldn’t walk.

Initially, they carried me to school. Before I could use calipers and the crutches, I was carried to school by my family members.

When it rained, people would not carry me. I could not go. I would be left at home. And the belief was not there in my parents – that I as a disabled person could also make it in life.

People shun away from me but they have their own reasons. Some people think it’s spiritual. Some think it’s medical. Some think it’s natural. I don’t want to use the word, but contamination. That is how people see it. They always turn away from you.

When I was a child, I was sent to an herbal center, and they dug a hole, a big hole, and put me into it and filled it with sand, so that the lower part of me was in the earth. It didn’t work, so we went to church instead and prayed for it and such.

When I finished school after my national service, I was looking for a job. It took five to seven years to get a job. The job I got was by chance. There was a man who was interested in me, and he offered me a job, and when that man left, I lost the job. When he wasn’t there, people didn’t want to pick me up and drive me to work, so they actually pushed me away.

So I was then at home for a long time. Fortunately for me, he came back, and so I went back. I still maintain that job now. It’s not like I sent my application and they gave it to me. It is by God’s grace that this man came to me and became my benefactor. Other than that, I would have been at home up until now.

I met my wife when I went to visit my uncle. I met her there. I developed an interest in her. To marry an able-person, there are a lot of challenges. They look at you and compare you to the able-person, so they become discouraged along the line. I had that problem. She compared me to the able-people. It nearly separated us, but we have children.

Well – let me say. I knew many things. That was how I was able to make so many friends.  If I had been ordinary, I don’t think I would have made any friends. Some would come and ask, “Can you teach me this? Can you show me that? Can you do this for me?”

Could you talk about your most difficult moment?

My biggest challenge was that in fact it was my intention to be a professor. But you know, it gets difficult along the line. As you go, you have to fight for yourself or everyone leaves you. Because of the difficulty I faced getting the push from my parents, I did not become what I intended to do. Education – that was my difficulty.

If another person with a disability comes to you, what advice would you give them?

Well – I would tell them that with education, you can overcome a lot. I usually implore them to look at the side of education. When you want to trade, you need money to start.

What is your hope or dream for people with disabilities in Ghana?

I think one day we will come to realize ourselves that our disability is only a challenge, and with cooperation and determination, we can go higher.

Formally, you scarcely saw people paying mention to the disabled, but now they are trying to pass this disability law on accessibility and things like that. I think gradually it is making impact. There is awareness going on that people with disabilities are members of society and should be afforded the necessary things they need. However, the little that the government is trying to send our way, people are squandering it.


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