67. Felix


Me, I can do almost everything. I can climb the tree. I can ride a motor bike. I can do almost everything.

I was around five years old when I was injected when I had a polio infection. I was crawling. I remained paralyzed on the ground for over ten years. The injection made me not able to walk so I was just lying on the floor. So it was ten years before I could walk. There was a traditional or native doctor who was preparing concoctions and local medicines for me. So he made me heal.

It affected my education. When I was around six, I was supposed to start going to school. But because of the sickness, the polio infection, I was not going to school so I was just in the house for over ten years before I started going to school.

When it happened my family was not attending to me. My colleagues, my peers who were kids with me, they were not coming closer to me anymore. For a long time. People who see me and then give me verbal attacks and then people don’t even want me to come closer to them. When I started walking then people started coming to me. The same as the entire family.

I was ten years when my father died. That time too I was suffering from this disability issue. And since then, nobody was there to cater for us. It was only my mother who was attending to me. And the economic hardship and everything has affected me seriously. And my schooling, too, delayed. Nobody, no relatives, were able to attend to me.

What is holding back persons with disabilities from progressing?

Most of them don’t think of getting any work, or working for self-independence. Always they want to stay by the roadside and beg for alms. Most persons with disabilities in Ghana always want to beg. They don’t want to involve themselves in any work to make some money for themselves.

Some actually have made up their minds not to do any work. They don’t want to work at all. But me, for instance, I’m a cobbler, I’ve been mending shoes for people. So at the end of every day I get something small to buy food for myself. But some, they just don’t want to work. Even if you give them capital, they will not want to invest it; they will still like to beg at the roadside.

What advice would you give to others who have disabilities?

The only advice I would give to a person with a disability is that he should try and be self-reliant, get some job doing and be getting the daily bread every day.

Aside from your advice, what can be done to improve this situation for people with disabilities?

I think already part of the Common Fund is supposed to cater for persons with disabilities. I think if this money comes, they should make allocations for persons with disabilities so that at least each person with a disability will have presented part of the money to establish him or herself so that they can be a bit elevated from poverty.

Would international aid be beneficial?

I think the international body should send delegation to Africa or Ghana so that they can see the reality on the ground concerning people with disabilities. There are problems. And then when they go back, they can make a package for persons with disabilities.

What is your happiest experience?

Anytime I wake up and work comes and I get a reasonable amount of money in my pocket, I feel happy.

What is your best ability?

Me, I can do almost everything. I can climb the tree. I can ride a motor bike. I can do almost everything.

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