MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) Services on Wednesday, distributed disability friendly kiosks, mobile phones and a capital of GH¢4000.00 each to 100 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to operate MoMo business, earn a living and be financially independent.
The PWDs preferably addressed as "Persons with Special Abilities" included; Persons with Albinism, persons with movement challenges and persons with hearing and speaking challenges.
Mr Eli Hini, the General Manager of Mobile Money Services, MTN, said to alleviate the plight of a marginalised group in the country, MTN decided to support persons with special abilities as it acknowledged with concern the numerous challenges they encountered in their quest to access funds to develop themselves.
The step, he said, was part of MTN's efforts to economically empower PWDs as part of the activities to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of its MoMo services in Ghana.
"We hope that this project will make the beneficiaries self-reliant and reduce the tendency of depending on others for survival. It is our hope that they will be economically empowered to provide for their needs and that of their dependents," he said.
Mr Hini expressed optimism that the project would equip beneficiaries financially to enroll their children in schools, to prevent them from begging for alms on the streets.
He asked the beneficiaries to work hard, by dedicating time and energy, saying it was also prudent to be diligent, discipline and meticulous so that they would not spend the capital for their business.
"This is not just an ordinary venture. MTN rewards its agents for their hard work with prizes such as cars, cash, trips to Dubai among others. If you work hard, you stand a chance of winning some of the prizes in the near future," he told the beneficiaries.
He advised them to properly maintain the tools and facilities they were given to yield the desired results.
Ms Mawunyo Yakor, the President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD), in a statement read on her behalf, said unemployment rate among PWDs was high because employers believed they would be incompetent in executing their duties as a result of their conditions.
Even those with high levels of education, she said, were not able to easily secure jobs, a condition she said was disheartening.
On her part, the support from MTN would make the beneficiaries financially independent.
Ms Mawunyo entreated PWDs especially the beneficiaries to be work hard with vision and be focused to improve the start-up capital they received.
She appealed to the public to purchase the products and services of PWDs while engaging in businesses and not discriminating against them.
Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, commended management of MTN and leadership of the GFD for making the life-changing support a reality.
He said one-fifth of the population of Ghana had physical, intellectual or emotional disability, a matter he said called for huge concern.
He said such people were subjected to severe stigmatization, discrimination and maltreatment that led to lack of access to employment, education, healthcare and other social services.
"We must never forget the fact that people do not become disabled by choice. It is often due to circumstances beyond their control such as birth, accidents or other natural phenomena," he said.
As the 1992 Constitution and other legislative frameworks such as the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) provided protection to the rights of PWDs, he said government would continue to strengthen its legislative and regulatory mechanisms to ensure adequate protection for PWDs.
"What is worrying is that, since the promulgation of the Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), a number of facilities and services remained inaccessible to PWDs. This is problematic; unacceptable and must be addressed with the urgency it deserves.
Mr Awuah said discussions were on-going between Government, employers, the private sector and other key stakeholders on how to structure incentives and stimulus packages for businesses that employ PWDs, as part of the steps towards inclusiveness and diversification.