Nobody was supporting me so I had to find a way to support myself and put myself in school. I used to do labor work and use it to pay my fees. My friends too came in to support me so I was supporting myself little by little and friends too were giving me a helping hand. Myself and my friends supported me throughout all my education.
When this began, after one week my mom died. So I had no support by then. I suffered this as a result of injection. But I thought maybe I would get any support so that I can be on my feet. Nothing. They did not take me to a hospital, they did not take me to anything, they did not do anything to help me walk again. They just left me. So I was just left alone and I was just growing.
It has been a big blow to my family because my family thought something good can come out of me and they don’t have money to support me with my disability. Had I been an able person I’d be able to do something to help myself and my family, but now that I’m disabled I’ve become a dependent. So it has really been a big blow to my family.
When I reached the age when I first started primary – I started primary when I was 9 years – I had to cater for myself by my own. There was no support. My mom died and my dad was not supporting me. Nobody was supporting me so I had to find a way to support myself and put myself in school. I used to do labor work and use it to pay my fees. My friends too came in to support me so I was supporting myself little by little and friends too were giving me a helping hand. Myself and my friends supported me throughout all my education.
When I was in school I was happy. That was my happy moment. But now I cannot go to school again because I cannot cater for myself through the education. So it’s like I’m stuck in life, like I’m doomed. I wish I could go to school again to continue, but now I can’t continue. The only happiness for me is being in school and since I’m not in school I’m not happy. I had wanted to go to school up to the university level. Even though friends were helping me, friends are not able to help anymore and I cannot combine work and education. I cannot work and at the same time educate myself. If I’m lucky I’ve completed, I have to find something on my own. So my dream is to go to the university level but since there’s no support I have quit school. So it has brought a very bad impact on me.
I’ve been through so many traumas, so many difficulties as a child and working since I’ve been going to school. It’s very difficult even to buy clothes to wear, a school uniform. I could not buy it. Who is buying for me? Nobody. And even food. I have to starve the whole day and even sometimes go to bed with an empty stomach because after school I had to get food to eat. And after school I’m tired; how do I work? I have to remain with an empty stomach. It has really had a negative impact on me. I have suffered so much as a child with my disability.
When I completed school I decided to work, but there’s no work in the village. So a friend of mine invited me to Accra and I’m here to start something doing on my own. I’m here to work because I’m not doing anything. I can’t find any proper job in Volta North so that’s why I migrated into this part, to find something to do.
What do you think hinders persons with disabilities from progressing in life, and what can we do to make sure they keep progressing?
I think that financial difficulty is the biggest barrier for persons with disabilities. That has really hindered persons with disabilities to progress in Ghana.
If persons with disabilities are given education, proper education, their lives would be improved. And those who are not able to go through education, if they are being given the financial facility to start some business, their lives would also be improved. So it’s all about education and it’s all about money.
How do you define disability?
I would define disability as ability because I can sing and I have been able to go through education. I think disability is not inability. I would define disability as part of the able ones. Even though we have shortcomings, I would define disability as a shortcoming but not sickness.
Do you give advice to others who have disabilities? If so, what do you say?
I will advise a person like me to find something doing because I think I have some ability in me. So likewise somebody who is just with my situation, I would advise them to start something doing on their own. Whether they gather support or not, I think they can still start something. But I think that education is the key. If persons with disabilities are educated, they can do exports. But since most of us, in the disability population there is high illiteracy, it is really affecting us in so many ways. So that is why we are always accepting trading and in menial jobs. But I think that we as persons with disabilities can still do something, therefore I would advise them to start something on their own. Even if you are by the road begging and at the end of the day you get something, you should be able to save some and start something with it.
What is your best ability?
My ability is schooling, education, and business – trading.