63. Rita

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My happiest moment was the time I learned my own business. I was put into apprenticeship and I’m a seamstress now. That was my happiest moment because formerly I was just staying idle. I wasn’t doing anything, there was no improvement in my life, but today I’ve been able to learn sewing and I’ve gotten some skills as a woman.


I was just one year old when my condition started. There was a time my mommy carried me on her back, then she found out that I had a fever. I was very hot and they tried bringing me to the hospital but when I got there I was very weak and feeble, so as the doctor attended me, after it I couldn’t walk – I was paralyzed. But according to the doctor, they couldn’t find anything wrong with me so they think it might be some spiritual cause. I was also taken to a fetish priest because they think my condition is something pertaining to spiritual aspects, so I was taken there but the discovery was that the woman who took me from my mommy was the cause of my predicament. And what she has done could not be reversed. And I myself grew up to meet that woman, though she is dead I met that woman.

During my childhood I was in the village and there was no school around. So my mom had to migrate into this area so I could get education. So I was brought here and enrolled in primary school. I couldn’t walk and I had no wheelchair at that time and I had to crawl for a distance to go to school. But due to financial constraints I was able to reach only class five and I quit school. When I quit school, I was just there being taken care of. But later I was put into a sewing apprenticeship by my parents.

My disability affected my childhood and my family tremendously, even my friends. I feel rejected by my friends and my family. I suffered verbal abuse on the part of my friends and the community and it has also brought some kind of rejection into my family, because nobody wants to come near my family. When I was put into apprenticeship, the seamstress, the Madame of the shop, refused to admit me simply because of my disability and she thought I was incapable of learning that particular trade.

But my happiest moment was the time I learned my own business. I was put into apprenticeship and I’m a seamstress now. That was my happiest moment because formerly I was just staying idle. I wasn’t doing anything, there was no improvement in my life, but today I’ve been able to learn sewing and I’ve gotten some skills as a woman.

Is sewing your best ability?

My best ability is prayer and singing and also my sewing business. I am a chorister so I sing.

If another person with a disability came to you for advice, what would you tell them?

I would try to encourage them not to feel unhappy, or not to be emotionally hurt, due to their condition. But I would advise them to also do something with their hands, learn some skills, so that their lives can be improved.

What do you want to happen in Ghana so that the lives of persons with disabilities are improved?

I think that which will make our lives likely to be improved is that the government should come in and empower persons with disabilities financially. If we are financially empowered, our lives can be improved.

What can the international community do?

I want the international community to help me establish my shop because I’m a seamstress and I don’t have my own shop to operate my business. So I think it’s about time that the international community comes in to establish us, persons with disabilities, who are artisans, who have learned some trade. I think the international community should come in and support us financially to establish our shops.


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