The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFID) has launched a Disability Endowment Fund, an initiative to raise funds from public institutions, corporate entities and individuals to support the activities of persons with disability (PWD).
The fund is meant to sustain inclusive programmes being undertaken by the GFID for PWDs in the areas of education, health care, advocacy and capacity building.
Some state institutions and corporate organisations, including the National Communications Authority (NCA), Christ the King Catholic Church, GCB Bank, Blue Skies and Access Bank, have already contributed undisclosed amounts as seed capital to the fund.
A Transactional Lawyer, Mr Kimarthi Kuenyehia, pledged GH¢5,000 to the fund at its launch in Accra last Tuesday.
The launch of the fund is against the backdrop of getting a sustainable source of funding for the programmes of PWDs in the wake of signals of a phasing out of external support.
Over the years, the GFID had thrived on donor funding with the major support coming from the Disabled Peoples Organisation of Denmark, through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
The GFID has other sources of support such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), STAR-Ghana, Business Advocacy (BUSAC) Fund, and the Australian Aid.
However, the support provided by these entities is mainly programme based. The launch of the Disability Endowment Fund is, therefore, a major step towards self-mobilisation of money and the management of proceeds of the GFID, to be able to carry out its programmes more independently.
The Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Area in the Western Region, Nana Kobina Nketsia IV, who graced the occasion, urged corporate Ghana and individuals to donate to the fund to help develop the potential of PWDs.
He emphasised that disability was not inability and pointed out that PWDs were endowed with talents that could be valuable for national development.
“Physical disability is not what draws this country back but intellectual disability so we should not underestimate the abilities of PWDs,” he added.
The President of GFID, Mr Yaw Ofori Debrah, lauded the contributions made by the various international organisations and institutions towards building the capacity of PWDs over the years.
He said the GFID’s programmes in the areas of advocacy, education, health and empowerment had lifted the image of PWDs for which reason there was the need to sustain those programmes, even if the donors pulled out.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Kuenyehia underscored the need for the government and other stakeholders to prioritise issues of disability.