Children with special needs, need care not exploitation

Bolgatanga, The Upper East Region has marked this year’s International Children’s Day with a call for a stakeholder coordinated approach to end sexual exploitation and child abuse, especially against children with special needs.

The stakeholders including parents, teachers, the Department of Social Welfare, the Ghana Federation of Disabled (GFD), staff of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), children with special needs and the media, expressed dismay about the spate of sexual exploitation of children with special needs in some of the communities.

This year’s annual event was organized by the Regional Directorate of the Department of Children under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in Bolgatanga.

It was held under the theme: Leave No Child Blind.

The international Children’s Day is one of the traditional calendar activities of the Department of Children- a day set aside to take stock of issues concerning children and reflect on what should be done to improve their lives.

Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, the Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Children, said child abuse went beyond just the sexual abuse of children as there were instances where some parents often locked up their children with disabilities in their rooms.

The Regional Director said child and early marriages were other noted concerns in the region and warned parents to desist from such negative acts.

Under the Children’s Act, it is required that all children irrespective of their status would be treated fairly and equally without discrimination and punishment. The law will deal with anybody found culpable of violating this act, she said.

Mrs Aberese-Ako said her outfit with support from development partners such as the United Nations Children’s Fund and the United Nations Population Fund has over the years organized series of sensitization and advocacy programmes but there is still the need to do more.

Ms Yvonne Wonchua, the Assistant Director of Administration at the RCC, appealed to parents and teachers to pay special attention to children particularly those with disabilities.

She cited instances where some parents who were very caring nurtured their disabled children to integrate effectively into society.

Mr David Aniah, the Regional President of the GFD, said being a physically challenged person, if he was neglected by his parents, he would not have completed his education to offer jobs to other people in the region.

He appealed to parents and children with special needs not to give up but to take inspiration from worthy models and work hard.

Many of the parents at the ceremony expressed concern at the way some unscrupulous persons often capitalized on the weaknesses of their children with special needs to abuse them.

Source: Ghana News Agency