Former minister of gender, children and social protection, Otiko Djaba, has berated individuals who, through different means, treat persons with disabilities with contempt, calling for an abrupt end to what she describes as inhumane.
Otiko Djaba whose father battled stroke for 30 years, in an interview on ‘Restoration With Stacy’ said it is repugnant, to say the least, to mete out unfair treatment to persons with disabilities; rather, they should be given the utmost assistance, shown compassion to accomplish their mission.
She noted that it is imperative that the rights of persons with disability are respected, adding that any attempt to deprive them of their rights, must be vehemently resisted by all.
“Being a person with a disability is a challenge but they have overcome those challenges and are able to move forward,” the mother of four said. “It’s just that because of their challenges, they need a helping hand. Let us all stop treating them badly, disrespecting them and behaving as if they are not human beings.”
“People go to the extent to harming them; how dare you!” she fumed with rage.
Otiko Djaba’s father, Henry Kojo Djaba, lived with a stroke for 30 years while in exile. A coup in the 1970s rendered him impoverished but that has been one of the sources of her inspiration.
“It happened so fast,” she said. “You’ll be in school and you’d be called to go home because dad couldn’t pay our fees. It was that bad. The light would go off because we could no longer pay the bills. So, he had a stroke with all the stress and he lived with stroke for 30 years.
“By grace, I was able to develop myself and move out of the childhood poverty to be who I am today. It hasn’t been an easy journey; it’s been very difficult.
“I always had destiny helpers throughout my life and that is also part of who I am. It makes me feel that I need to contribute my quota to support other people who are also in need. Over 30 years in my life, I’ve been doing social work to say to God, ‘Thank You’ for His blessings,” she added.
She said: “Through the Henry Djaba Memorial Centre for Ideas and Knowledge, we’ve trained young girls who have been affected by teenage pregnancy in various employable skills and it’s all for free for them to get alternative skills and income-generating activities.
“We’ve been able to train women and persons with disability in the 2019 District Assembly elections to build their capacity, to go out there and win. We were able to get 20 people to win.”
Aside from the training, some persons with disability, numbering 148, have received financial support from Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) to grow and expand their businesses as well as to enhance job and wealth creation.
“As we are moving along, we also work with the Canada Fund for Local Initiative to train women and persons with disability on how to communicate and also how to be a leader. It’s about breaking down the barriers, setting the trend for persons with disability. Whatever an able person can do, a person with disability can do; they just do it differently,” Otiko Djaba stressed.
Watch the interview below.