The Bongo District Assembly in the Upper East Region on Monday disbursed GH₡ 47,112 to 64 Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the district.
The amount came from the three percent allotment from the District Assemblies' Common Fund that is set aside to help improve the lives of PWDs to enable them to become active players in society.
The District Director of Social Welfare and Community Development (SW-CD), Mr. John Azam, disclosed that GH₡ 35,682.00 was disbursed to 25 beneficiaries in aid of income generation activities while educational support got a GH₡3,158.00 allocation covering five recipients. He added that apprenticeship trainees also received GH₡3,512.00 and those that required assistance to seek medical services got GH₡4,250.00.
According to Mr. Azam, part of the money was used to procure one motorbike for the President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations for administrative purposes. Meanwhile, two sewing machines, one industrial sewing machine, a digital recorder for a student beneficiary and 66 ruminants were also distributed.
He noted that the Disability Fund Management Committee (DFMC) often received huge volumes of applications that mostly exceeded the quantum of money in the Fund and so, the Committee had to do a meticulous evaluation of applications before approvals could be made. He, therefore, appealed to PWDs in the area to remain patient after submitting their applications to the DFMC.
Bongo District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga, for his part said under his administration, items and issues were not imposed on the PWDs but rather, discussions were held with them especially, the executives to know their peculiar needs or proposals for the use of their money.
The DCE said while some beneficiaries requested for start-up kits, many others received cheques ranging from GH₡200 to GH₡ 2000 based on the assessment done on their needs.
He explained that as against the old practice where cash was counted on the table and paid to beneficiaries with issues of wrong payments and missing money, the assembly had introduced the cheque disbursement system to forestall such occurrences. The cheque system brings the beneficiaries into the formal banking system to be able to access banking products such as loans.
For his part, Bongo District President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, Mr. Clement Mba, thanked the Bongo Assembly for the timely release of funds to aid PWDs to live decent lives and to conduct some businesses that make them relevant in society. He also commended President Akufo-Addo for living up to his pledge by increasing the fund allocation from the previous 2% to 3%.
The GFDO president disclosed that his executives and members of the DFMC spent about GH₡1,800.00 on sensitisation on radio and doing community outreach to educate PWDs and the general public on disability issues, including the utilisation of the fund among other important issues relating to disabilities.