Sophomore finance major, Ryan Lavorata, presented his research on the mistreatment of persons with disabilities (PWD) in Ghana during Session 1 of the research colloquium.
Lavorata’s global disabilities honors class led him to begin his research and find that over 5 million individuals (20% of the population) are living with disabilities in Ghana. His research was based on three questions:
In what ways are a person with disabilities being mistreated?
Are there laws that protect persons with disabilities?
What are the possible solutions for the mistreatment?
“Being a person with disability is Ghana carries a stigma because of their religion,” said Lavorata, “children are looked at as curses and their parents are judged for their past sins.”
Lavorata found that Ghana’s institutions for PWD’s are in dreadful and unsanitary conditions. PWD’s are chained to the wall in the institution’s living quarters. These quarters are similar to prison cells with cinderblock walls and a mere sleeping pad on the floor. Patients admitted undergo horrific treatment methods such as electroconvulsive shock therapy. However, not all PWD’s are admitted into institutions. Lavorata also found cases where parents hid children in basements in order to escape the shame that Ghana’s society associates with disabilities.
In effort to better PWD’s living conditions, Act 715 was created in 2006 which gave PWD’s access to transportation, all public places, free medical care, and education.
“Even though it’s a good start, its not enough because they [Ghana] only put 1% of their economy towards it,” said Lavorata.
Lavorata found some solutions that can begin to improve conditions for PWD’s in Ghana:
- Groups can petition for the government to change from institutional care to community care.
- Amend the current laws and UN standards of rights for persons with disabilities.
- Ghana Federation of Disability Organization who are working on amending Act 715 to make it more accommodating.
“I wanted to look into the mistreatment and abuse of persons with disabilities and it was just really shocking because I went into this knowing nothing about Ghana,” said Lavorata.