Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) has on 3rd May 2018 launched its 50th Anniversary Celebration. The event which took place at the British Council in Accra was under the theme “50 Years of Advocacy; Successes, Challenges and the Way Forwards”.
The three-hour programme was attended by key stakeholders including the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana, Acting Executive Secretary of National Council on Persons with Disability, Executive Director for Centre for Employment of Persons with Disability, Representatives from Religion Institutions, the Media, GNAD Board members and the Deaf community.
In his welcome remarks the Executive Director of GNAD, Juventus Duorinaah, reminded participants that the GNAD’s 50 Anniversary is a period for celebrating the moderate gains made by the Association, a period of reflection on challenges encountered in the journey of the Association and a period for planning and re-strategizing for the future. The Executive Director further mentioned that, compared to current situations in other West African Countries, some countries in Asia, the Deaf community have much to be period of, noting that there is modest improvement in access to higher education, some form of decent employment and access to information.
While acknowledging the fact that GNAD did not walked alone the past 50 years, he expressed sincere thanks to partners, individuals, corporate bodies and organizations that support and continue to support the Association the past years. “Specifically, I wish to mention the continue support of the Danish Government through Disability People’s Organizations of Denmark (DPOD) and Danish Deaf Association (DDA) who have been with GNAD the past 13 years through various development cooperation and projects and which has resulted in enhanced capacity of our national secretariat into transnational advocacy. Sincere thanks to all other supporters and corporate institutions”.
In his presentation, the National President of GNAD Emmanuel Kwaku Sackey briefly took participants through the journey of GNAD. He highlighted key achievements of the Association in terms of sign language training, advocacy for the right to information for the deaf and employment. He mentioned the provision of sign language services on GTV news, the introduction of deaf specific communication line by Vodafone and others.
The President noted that, despite these achievements, much remains to be done. He mentioned continue use of derogatory terminologies to call deaf people such and ‘Deaf and Dumb’ noting that the use of such terms undermines the dignity of the deaf person. The President also mentioned lack of access to information from the private media stations, disregards for the communication needs of the deaf community, lack of community support for the education of deaf children. He also mentioned that apart from few Institutions that are providing sign language services for deaf, many educational Institutions are yet to include sign language services and that some communities still exclude deaf people from participation in community level activities.
The Special Guest of Honour Hon. Minister of Gender, Children, Women and Social Protection Otiko Djaba Afisa in launching the event, congratulated GNAD for its tireless efforts in advocating for the rights of deaf people the past 50years. Hon. Otiko Djaba Afisa outlined interventions by the government to mitigate the plight of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and said the government is committed to reducing poverty through social interventions. Touching on sign language, the Hon. Minister said Ghanaian sign language must be included in all aspects of the Ghanaian economy.
Main activity dates are 11th, 12th May, August and September 2018.
We are very grateful to the Danish embassy and Golden Tulip Hotel Accra for the support.