Persons With Disability (PWDs), have raised issue with how some persons in society persistently refer to them in derogatory terms.
According to them, some people still refer to PWDs as handicapped and disabled people with some going to the extent of making a mockery of them with local names such as ‘apache’ or ‘ayarefour’.
The PWDs say such names reduce their self-worth and make them feel disrespected, a situation that does not make them achieve their full potential.
This came up at a four-day workshop in the Volta Region which sought to find ways on how the media can amplify the voices of persons with disabilities.
Speaking at the workshop, a lawyer with the Attorney General’s department at Ho, Andrews Dodzi Adugu said using such names for persons with disability is an offence which is punishable by law. She has risen above her challenges to attain higher education, a feat that some persons without any disability may not achieve. Despite this, she says she feels discouraged and stigmatized when people refer to her with certain names as a person with disability.
The sentiment by Patience is felt by the over one billion people in the world particularly in Africa who live with disabilities.
In Ghana, it is estimated that almost three million people have one disability or another. According to lawyer Andrews Dodzi Adugu the law is clear on the use of derogatory names against persons with disability and asked the courts to punish persons who are brought before it for such offences.
Chief Executive of ‘Voice Ghana,’ partners of the project, Francis Asong called for a shift in language to help change perceptions about PWDs and promote a culture of inclusion.