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General News Fri, 2 Jul 2021

Ghanaian disability activist elected 2nd Vice President of World Blind Union

Mr Yaw Ofori-Debra, a Ghanaian disability activist and Chairman of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, has been elected as Second Vice President of the World Blind Union (WBU).

He was overwhelmingly elected on 23rd June 2021 ahead of the Union’s 10th quadrennial meeting held between 28th and 30th June in Madrid, Spain, where delegates elected five executives to run the affairs from 2021 to 2025.

The new leadership includes President, Martine Abel-Williamson (New Zealand); 1st Vice President Fernando Riaño (Spain); 2nd Vice President: Yaw Ofori Debra (Ghana); Secretary-General Diana Stentoft (Denmark) and Treasurer Diane Bergeron (Canada)

Mr Ofori-Debra becomes the first West African to serve on the WBU executive position since its formation in 1984 to be the voice of the Blind and the visually impaired in the context of human rights.

The Union represents an estimated 253 million persons who are blind or partially sighted in 196 countries and provides the platform for members to articulate and advocate human rights and opportunities in efforts to improve their wellbeing.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, Mr Ofori-Debra said he would use his new position to strive for innovative solutions to the challenges facing Blind and Partially Sighted (BPS) persons in their daily living.

He envisioned advocating with UN Agencies and National Governments to Fund the mass production of assistive technologies, which make work and social life easier for BPS persons, available and affordable for all.

He said the promotion of blindness sports and recreation, increased Youths participation in WBU activities and leadership would be prioritized.

Mr Ofori-Debra has served Disability Organisations in several capacities.

He was formerly the president of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations, an umbrella body that advocates for various disability groups in Ghana.

Prior to that, he was president of the Ghana Blind Union and vice president of the African Union of the Blind.

In 2018, the United States Embassy in Ghana awarded Ofori-Debra the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Peace and Social Justice for his activism and work focused on people with disabilities and disability rights.
Source: GNA