From the group discussions, in which the phases of selecting, contextualizing and codifying the photographic data were passed, the participants established the following needs:
1. Accessibility to public toilets
Participants took photographs at their house explaining ‘Toilet facility made to suit my
accessibility’ and of public toilets.
2. Accessibility to public transport
One participant had herself photographed when boarding a bus with crutches. She explained the picture addressed the many difficulties PwD face when using public transport. Not only entering the bus itself may be a challenge, entering needs to be done in a hurry as well. When during the discussion groups, the participants discussed the representation of a man in a wheelchair who, with help of the driver, was trying to access a taxi, they agreed on an urgent need for special transport service for PwD such as accessible vans or busses.
3. Accessibility to (public) buildings
Many photographs of the participants indicated architectural challenges for PwD in the
metropolis of Kumasi. For instance they showed a person with crutches climbing the stairs, an individual using a wheelchair crossing the street as well as several public buildings like banks, loan granting agencies, shops and some churches with stairs in the entryway. With a series of photographs of ramps, one participant on the one hand aimed to show how access to buildings could be increased. By also recording ramps that were too steep, too small they could never fit a wheelchair or had an air-conditioning system in front of it making its use impossible, he on the other hand wanted to express his concern about the exclusion of PwD in the design of buildings.
4. Attitudinal change
The participants stated that the general perception towards PwD was negative. Disabled
persons were regarded as being of no value to the family and society resulting in exclusion
and discrimination. On their pictures and during the discussion groups the participants
expressed their concerns on people’s attitudes towards them. PwD are not allowed to take
part in social events and not recognized when it comes to critical decision making.
The negative attitudes of people also exist at work places and in churches because
managers were not willing to employ PwD, and in some churches PwD were asked to sit at
the back of the church so other people would not see them.
Overall, the participants agreed that stereotyping limited the ability of PwD, making it
important to influence attitudes and highlight the ability in disability. As children in general still have a neutral perception towards PwD, raising awareness should start at a young age.
5. Economic Empowerment
Almost all of the participants photographed one or more PwD begging on the street. Often, PwD learned a vocation but lack the starting capital to set up their own business. Although they had the skills, they were still in the house. Next to economic empowerment of PwD themselves, the participants discussed the issues and indicated a need for financial support of parents of children with disabilities as this would enable parents to send their disabled child to school and invest in their future.
6. Counseling and guidance center
During the discussion groups the participants agreed on the importance of having
somebody to help and guide PwD with information about services, programs and referral
networks. They acknowledged the fact that interdependence was part of family and
community life. One participant expressed his feeling that in life everybody needs
somebody to guide and teach you as reflected by his picture of a father and son. Another
participant addressed the same issue by photographing a man holding a pillar. Finally, a
different man emphasized the need for PwD to exhibit positive outlook in life despite
disability. He captured a boy, who surrounded with love, support and care was bound to
succeed in life.
7. Affordable and quality rehabilitation
Whether directly or indirectly, many of the pictures taken were related to the rehabilitation
of persons with a physical disability. Participants for example photographed fellow PwD who had no assistive devices and therefore were bound to the house or forced to crawl on the ground to move. Others captured individuals who used calipers or crutches but, due to financial constraints, were not able to replace or repair them. To provide a positive view, one lady asked somebody to take a picture of herself and expressed: ‘Now with crutches and calipers I am movable!’ (V.)
Besides availability and affordability, it was revealed in the discussion groups that
rehabilitation should above all be of quality.
8. Equal opportunities
Participants indicated with their photographs a need for equal opportunities for PwD in
life. One man took a picture of a traditional leader. Another photograph showed an 8-
year old boy. The accompanying text was: ‘Unlike my twin-brother, who is not a disabled,
my mother has not send me to school..’ (P.) During the group discussions the participants
told each other about PwD who, although they had good certificates, were refused jobs because of their disability. The need for equal opportunities was also visualized by one of the participants as he took a picture of a group of people sitting under a tree and wrote:‘Obscurity. Because a close look of this picture shows family and friends enjoying a pick nick. The gentleman in the wheelchair is almost left in the background. How long can disabled people be put on the backburner? Let us all have the same opportunities to be happy!’ (W.)
9. Marketable vocational training
In some of their pictures participants portrayed fellow PwD who run successful businesses.
During data analysis the participants discussed factors that influenced success. For example they reviewed a photograph showing a disabled person running a successful guitar business and agreed that offering exclusive services contributed mostly to success. The vocational skills that were currently trained at rehabilitation centers were common resulting in few job opportunities for PwD. This, according to the participants, justified a need to provide marketable vocational training. The discussion of other photographs showing fellow PwD begging on the street, supported the need and the importance of making other marketable vocational options more attractive than begging for PwD.
10. Accident prevention
During the discussion groups and through their stories the participants expressed their
concerns about accidents as a cause of disability. As for some of the participants their
disability was due to an unfortunate accident, they all agreed on the argument of one of the participants that we should take good care of our children so they do not get injured.
11. Emergency shelters
During the discussion groups, one the participants expressed her concerns about homeless PwD on the streets. She took a photograph and explained: ‘Osei Kwaku is his name. Osei has no home to live in. He has no choice than to stay in the centre of Kumasi, where he sells biscuits to survive. He sleeps in front of somebody’s store, whether it rains or shines..’
After the group discussion, the establishment of emergency shelters for PwD in the Kumasi Metropolis became apparent.