Amos Atia Atanga is a 33-year-old visually impared University of Ghana Graduate who has been rendered homeless, jobless and penniless.
The story of Amos Atia Atanga made news on 23rd October 2018. One would have thought, after his plight was captured in the news, he was bound to get some help. That has not been the case.
Born in the Upper East region in 1985, Amos came out of his mother’s womb a healthy baby boy with vision in both eyes. Amos wasn’t born blind.
Little did he know that his days of seeing in both eyes were going to be cut short.
His problems, he said begun after a short illness. Without access to orthodox medicine, Amos’ family resorted to the help of a native herbalist, whom after several occasions of administering concoctions to Amos, pronounced him completely blind.
Amos now blames his inability to see on ‘spiritual causes’.
Coming from a poor background, losing his sight was the worst thing that could befall Amos. He needed his eyes to help him make money for himself and his family.Instead Amos became totally dependent on them.
This however, did not stop him from attaining formal education.
Amos attended Wa School for the blind for his secondary school education and proceeded to the University of Ghana in 2010.
Mr Atia completed University of Ghana (UG) in 2014 but had his certificate in 2016 and has since been looking for a job. Amos came to Madina, a suburb of Accra in 2009, rented a single room with the help of a ‘good Samaritan’.
This man, according to Amos, not only paid for his rent but also gave him money for his living expenses anytime he needed it.
Amos’ helper unfortunately passed, and things turned sour for him. With no help from family and friends, no job to make an income, Amos was soon high in debt with rent and was eventually thrown out of the place he hitherto called home.
Mr Atia’s situation highlights an ongoing problem with the treatment of persons with disability with regards to employment and homelessness, in the country.
Touching on the effectiveness of the Ghana Disability Act, Mr Atia expressed great displeasure at the pace of implementation, saying that although the Act does not wholesomely addresses issues relating to PWDs, it was important that it be carried out.
May it be noted that under Part V of the Ghana Labour Act 2003, distinct provisions are made for persons with disability so they not to be left out of the job market.
Based on the fact that PWDs in Ghana are somewhat marginalized, a new paradigm shift will be efficient in giving them opportunities, so they can also contribute towards national development.
In Ghana, there are countless examples of persons with disabilities who have gained great heights in their respective fields.
There are others who have also endured being discriminated against either openly or behind closed doors in areas spanning from education, employment etc., a situation Amos finds himself in.
In 2017, an Operation Eyesight Universal study showed that, about 1.7 per cent of Ghana’s population have severe visual impairment, while a national survey on blindness and visual impairment in the country, put the number of people who suffer from visual impairment at about 300,00 representing 1.07 percent of the Ghanaian population.
The unemployment menace in the country is already alarming and although various administrations have rolled out policies to address the issue, the question is, do these policies envelope persons with disabilities?
What has been done to make persons with disability able to fend for themselves?
What steps have the previous and current government taken, to make people like Amos feel wanted in the society?
Amos, a bright university graduate, even without sight has a vision to work so he can get a place to live and impact his generation.