Disabled SHS Student, Gabriel Buertey Narh Gets Support From Dr. Augustina Naami

Gabriel Buertey Narh, a form one student with a disability at Ghanata Senior High School in Dodowa, was on the brink of dropping out due to accessibility and financial challenges. However, a ray of hope emerged as reports of Gabriel’s struggles caught the attention of the Breaking Barriers Campaign led by its dedicated patron, Dr. Augustina Naami, the campaign swiftly took action to address Gabriel’s plight.


Upon learning of Gabriel’s difficulties navigating his school environment, Dr. Naami, driven by her personal experiences during her own secondary education, sprang into action. Recounting her own challenges of resorting to makeshift facilities due to inaccessible washrooms during her school years, Dr. Naami was determined to prevent Gabriel from enduring similar hardships. With unwavering resolve, she spearheaded the construction of three wheelchair ramps, ensuring Gabriel’s seamless access to his classroom, dining hall, and washroom.

Dr. Augustina Naami, remarked, “My heart sank when I read Gabriel’s story in the news. I faced similar obstacles during my time in secondary school. I had to resort to using bushy areas for essential facilities because of inaccessible infrastructure. Gabriel’s situation struck a chord with me, prompting me to act swiftly.” Dr. Naami further appealed to corporate entities, NGOs, and individuals to rally behind the Breaking Barriers Campaign, emphasizing the urgent need to create a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities in the community.

For Gabriel, the assistance provided by Dr. Naami and the Breaking Barriers Campaign breathed new life into his aspirations. Grateful for the support, Gabriel expressed his heartfelt thanks to Dr. Naami and conveyed his determination to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer. Similarly, Gabriel’s mother shared in the joy of her son’s newfound opportunities and appealed to the public for continued financial assistance to support Gabriel’s education.

Gabriel’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of collective action and compassion. Through initiatives like the Breaking Barriers Campaign, communities can work together to ensure that every individual, regardless of their abilities, has equal access to education and opportunities for a brighter future.

THE BREAKING THE BARRIERS CAMPAIGN GOAL: Barrier-Free Environment for Persons with Disabilities

Dr. Augustina Naami, a distinguished senior lecturer and the Head of the Department of Social Work at the University of Ghana Legon, is leading a transformative initiative with the Breaking Barriers campaign. Focused on the creation of a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities, Dr. Naami’s campaign is rooted in extensive research conducted in 2018, revealing the profound impact of access barriers on the socio-economic, political participation, and psychological well-being of individuals with disabilities.

The culmination of this research effort resulted in an evidence-based manual that serves as a practical guide to address major physical and transportation barriers faced by persons with mobility disabilities. Dr. Naami’s vision is to bridge the gap between research and actionable change, ensuring that the insights gleaned from her academic work translate into tangible improvements in the lives of those facing accessibility challenges.

Putting her ideas into practice, Dr. Naami initiated the campaign in 2020 by designing an accessible, portable, and foldable wheelchair ramp. The campaign gained further momentum in 2022 when she constructed six accessible ramps across five public basic schools in the Ga East Educational Directorate.

On December 10th, Dr. Naami took a significant step forward by donating eight wheelchair ramps to the Ghana Society of the Physical Disadvantages in Kaneshie. This donation, strategically placed at key points within the society, including bathroom and toilet facilities, as well as the sales outlet, signifies a commitment to enhancing accessibility, inclusion, and safety for persons with disabilities.

The Breaking Barriers campaign sets a goal of constructing a minimum of five ramps annually, contributing not only to local communities but also aligning with Sustainable Development Goal 11, “Make Cities And Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient And Sustainable.” Dr. Naami emphasizes that persons with disabilities are integral to the vision of a sustainable future, as underscored by the theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2023: “United in action to rescue and achieve the sustainable development goals for, with, and by persons with disabilities.”

Dr. Naami advocates for increased representation of persons with disabilities in decision-making processes, urging a departure from tokenism to ensure their voices are genuinely heard. She calls upon governments and stakeholders to align their rhetoric with action by allocating budgets for disability inclusion. Dr. Naami emphasizes the importance of collaboration, noting that, despite not being an engineer herself, she collaborates with a mason without formal education to construct ramps that are more accessible for persons with disabilities.

In her rallying cry, Dr. Augustina Naami invites everyone to join hands in making environments more accessible, fostering an inclusive society that paves the way for the full participation and integration of persons with disabilities. The Breaking Barriers campaign stands as a testament to the power of grassroots efforts in driving meaningful change and breaking down the barriers that hinder the progress of an inclusive society.

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