After years of bracing the odds and overcoming her disability, as she perilously crosses the Cape Coast-Accra Highway in wheelchair to acquire skills, Charlotte Appiah is now grappling with funds to set up a business.
Charlotte is a graduate of the Biriwa Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Institute in the Central Region.
The 18-year-old is a resident of Benyaadze near Komenda in the Central Region born to Sister Naana of blessed memory and Kwesi Appiah.
She was born with physical disability and lost her mother when she was just 6 years.
After completing Junior High School in Benyaadze, she enrolled at the Biriwa Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Institute with the support of benevolent individuals and groups where she learned fashion design.
From 2012 to 2016 academic years, crossing the Cape Coast-Accra Highway was a daily routine for her because the accommodation for the girls of the institute is on the other side of the highway.
Moreover, the campaign to make public places disability friendly has achieved little attention at the Biriwa Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Institute because the landscape does not favor Charlotte’s wheelchair but her tenacity attracted many friends to assist her from time to time.
Specialised in fashion designing, Charlotte was one of the 216 students who graduated from the institute in December 2016.
At the graduation ceremony the Executive Director of the National Vocation Training Institute, Mr Stephen Bismark Amponsah expressed concern about employment of vocational and technical students after leaving school successfully.
He noted that the schools would do their part to provide essential skills aim at reducing poverty but there would not be any economic growth if graduates do not get employment.
The Manager of the Biriwa Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Institute, Mr Samuel Kwashie Amegbor also advocated for a united TVET front in Ghana to address the challenges vocational institutions are facing, stressing that “a divided TVET front will not yield any positive growth in its mandate of equipping the youth with employable skills for their livelihood”.
Poor road and pavement network, inadequate accommodation for students and staff, and inadequate equipment are among the challenges the institute is battling with.
Back home, Charlotte stays with her grand mum Adwoa Akon Kekyerefo, a farmer who claimed Charlotte’s father has neglected them, but emphasized that Charlotte’s perseverance for a bright future cannot be underestimated.
The popular parlance disability is not inability is indeed true considering the handworks of Charlotte in fashion designing.
Charlotte is appealing to the general public to help her put her vocation into practise so that she can earn a decent income for herself.
“I need assistance to get established: a shop, sewing tools and equipment with some amount of money could get me going,” Charlotte solicited.
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