58. James


Whenever I celebrate my birthday, I become very very happy that I’ve added one more year to my age!

My mother told me I was six months when I fell sick. I was taken to the hospital and unfortunately I had injection upset when I was given an injection. And before my mother could realize, the leg in which I was injected became paralyzed.

I had so many challenges due to my disability, especially during my schooling. I had to travel from my house to the school at a distance, so I had it very tough. There was nobody to look after me. In those days we paid school fees. So it was one of my aunts who volunteered to support me up to the middle school level. I would have further reached but there was nobody to help me. Those are some of the challenges that I have so far.

My difficult experience is when children, especially young children, see me moving around. Then they try to ridicule me, they talk about me. In fact, when I get those things I become very embarrassed and because they seem to be my children, they don’t feel for me, but they rather say things against me. I have faced so many discriminations in society. Even in my family right now, I’m one of the grown-ups. But when a family matter comes, in which they gather all the family members to deliberate over it, they will not call me. They say, “After the discussion you will hear it”. Whereas I am older than some of the people who are invited in. But they will not invite me. So I see this as a very discriminative attitude. I cannot tell why they don’t normally invite me, that is why I have the perception it might be due to my disability and that is why they don’t call me.

Aside from the discrimination, what is the biggest barrier for persons with disabilities in Ghana?

The greatest barrier that I can say now is where the able-bodied people can go sometimes are not accessible to us so we will stay behind when they will go there.

I think the Ghanaian community and international community and then the Disability Needs Foundation should help to make almost all places accessible to the disabled so that we can be free to do everything.

What advice would you give to other persons with disabilities?

I would advise him or her that as he or she sees herself here today, she should go somewhere and she should see that hers is even better than that one. That person shouldn’t think he or she is the most disabled person in Ghana.

What is your best ability?

I do so many things. I go to farm, I cook, I do all house chores, I wash. So there is nothing that I can say that I don’t do. I do everything in addition to my shoe-making. But I’d say the shoe-making is my best ability.

What is your happiest experience?

Whenever I celebrate my birthday, I become very very happy that I’ve added one more year to my age!

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