The Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation (HDMF) has taken the initiative to organize the first-ever Ability Fair in Ghana for Persons with Disability (PWDs), vulnerable girls and children with special needs to showcase their unique talents, artifacts, products, goods and services.
According to the Executive Director of the Foundation, Dr. Otiko Afisah Djaba, the need for the Ability Fair has become necessary to facilitate the display of talents and provide marketing and self-employment opportunities for the persons with disability.
It is also to give them access to business opportunities, access to training and job opportunities, assistive devices, technology, ICT and other services.
Speaking at the media launch of the 2021 Ability Fair held in Accra, Dr. Otiko Djaba hinted that the Ability Fair would be organized every year in order to collectively plan for a secure, independent and sustainable future for the persons with disability “with good support systems and networking opportunities locally and internationally”.
She said that the Fair would seek to reduce the huge barriers, challenges and misconceptions about the ability of individuals with disability, energize them, increase awareness and knowledge about their capabilities and promote disability inclusions among others.
Dr. Otiko Djaba, who is noted for her consistent efforts in promoting the wellbeing of PWDs, vulnerable women and children, said: “PWDs are in a minority, they are marginalized, isolated, ignored by society, living in poverty, are dependent on charity, handouts, begging and pity. The COVID-19 pandemic has collapsed their businesses and made it more difficult for them to engage in small scale enterprises and petty trading. On a daily basis, they face discrimination, stigmatization and even their goods and services are not purchased because of their disability.”
She indicated that PWDs were just differently-abled human beings with human rights, just like non-disabled persons and therefore, they required amongst other things; education, healthcare, employment, and building of their capacity and financial independence.
The first Ability Fair, being organized by the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation in partnership with UNFPA, is scheduled for 30th and 31st July 2021 and will be held at the forecourt of the Mikaddo Pharmacy, formerly Kama Conference Centre, Osu, Accra between 9am and 4pm each day.
The theme for the Fair is: ‘Creating Opportunities for Persons With Disability’.
Dr. Otiko Djaba therefore implored the media to support the identified champions, partners and ambassadors to whip up the public interest and participation.
The popular Kumawood movie superstar and TV personality, Nana Ama McBrown, top hiplife musician Okyeame Kwame and the immediate past President of MUSIGA, Bice Osei Kuffour, were appointed as the official ambassadors of the first Ability Fair.