Techiman is a city of 104,500 (census 2013) inhabitants in the Brong Ahafo Region. Thanks to its varied economic activities (one of the largest markets in West Africa), it is a fast-growing city. Agriculture is still the main source of income with the cultivation of mainly yams, cassava, maize and millet and, more recently, cashew nuts. Cocoa was also planted again. The city also benefits from the arrival of agro-industry in collaboration with foreign partners. In addition to agriculture, people live from (retail) trade, providing banking services and crafts.
More than 20 years ago, the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled started a chapter in Techiman. The aim was to help disabled people unite so that they can work together to improve their living conditions. This could be done through better education and skills and by influencing public policy. For example, partly due to the influence of this association of disabled people, the government has set up a District Common Fund, from which the Society receives a subsidy. The group succeeds in raising awareness in the Techiman community of the needs and difficulties of disabled people and encourages its members to become independent. That success leads to increasing membership and appeal to the Society’s service offerings. The members meet twice a month to discuss association matters.
The Society now has 420 physically disabled members. In an earlier project there were trainings in leatherworking and sewing. Training is now also being given in the field of jewelry making, soap making and electronics. There are 5 permanent trainers. At the moment, the too small housing is the biggest problem.
Convinced of the importance of the project for economic and social relations in Techiman, the Techiman District Council donated the land on which the Society is now located. The craft training center was set up by the Techiman department of the Ghana Society of Physically Disabled in an earlier project with the help of the Help Ghana Foundation. 30 people per year could be trained in the 40-foot container. The Society then had just over 100 members. Now there are 420 and the need for training has increased considerably. The Society has now built a permanent building of 3 classrooms, a hall and toilets. The container room will also remain in use. Then 100 physically disabled people can be trained per year. They are then encouraged to set up their own business.
An executive committee of five people from different specialisms, financial, architectural, legal and administrative, has been set up to supervise the project.