Because of how people see me or look at me, I never thought I could also school to the university level. So currently I’m happy with my status as a university student.
My mom usually tells me I suffered from polio in my childhood. I was not born like this. I think I was about 3 to 4 years when the incident happened. My mother was caring, but when I was a child people normally stigmatized us. Some friends don’t like you to come closer to them because of your disability. It affected me. So these days I don’t mingle with a lot of people because of my disability. People don’t regard us at times as human beings because of our disability. And certain jobs you would like to do but you can’t go there, or if you do go there they will not even permit you to enter or employ you. Stigmatization is something that disturbs us a lot.
The most serious difficult experience I can remember is when I was dating a lady. But the family said that because of my disability they would not allow me to marry that lady. She did not have a problem with it but the parents, the grandmother, they had a problem with that.
My happiest experience… because of how people see me or look at me, I never thought I could also school to the university level. So currently I’m happy with my status as a university student.
What are other sources of struggle for people who have with disabilities in Ghana?
Most of the public institutions are not accessible to disability. They do steps that disturb us at times. Public toilets, public places, when they’re putting it up they don’t take into consideration people living with disability who will also be willing to use that place. So in Ghana in general, when they’re putting up public places, they don’t consider people with disabilities. It’s a big problem for us. I remember when I was in training college, bees came around to disturb us so everyone was running around. They came from nowhere and spread all over the place. So I remember I rolled on the staircase because of my disability.
What can Ghanaians do to make life better for persons with disabilities?
They should consider us as human beings as well. Disability is not inability. Most of my friends, I know they have a lot of talents, but because of the disability they will not even allow you to come out with the knowledge or talent you have. If they can allow us also to contribute in a way, if not physically, knowledge-wise, we can also contribute something to the developmental culture of the country. But because of our disability they will always put us back. We should be involved in decision-making, because disability is not inability.
Does anything come to mind for what the international community can do?
I think they should help us have access to quality education so that in the future we can also be on our own, have something to do to survive. There are people who can’t do anything. When the person taking care of them is dying, they are left to their fate. So the world should put up something or have some kind of organization that is helping us in general.
The government can also do that by giving us a quote. But in Ghana, those things hardly come. It’s there but it hardly comes. At times it will be diverted to do other different things, because we are considered not important, so anything that should be given to us rightfully, at times we don’t even see it. For example, as I’m talking to you now, the government has been giving disability students in schools some kind of support. But those things, they will delay, delay, delay before it gets to you, and they give you something little. You don’t have a say. So there should be a system checking those who are in charge of those things so that the things will reach us at the right time.
If you meet another person with a disability, what would you tell them?
I do tell them disability is not inability. There is something in them that, if they can develop it, they can make it in life.
What is your best ability?
I enjoy singing and drumming.