Thursday, February 12, 2015

Week 4: Community Action

MAAKA means ‘support’ in Buli

As those who work in development will doubtlessly know, sometimes events don’t go to plan. The Peer Education Day which we blogged about last week wasn't able to go ahead on Tuesday because we were unable to locate children with disabilities in the Wiaga area. We did receive support from the field workers at CBR – we used a list from CBR to select the children we would invite – but because of the lack of contact addresses and numbers, they were unable to find them.

Priscilla and Abigail hard at work
Anita Fordjour
Despite the setback, we still delivered a successful session to Wiaga Girls’ Club based around the theme of Human Rights. It was a fun and interactive hour which encouraged the girls (and perhaps even the chicken which was dawdling around the classroom) to think about the rights they hold as humans and as children. We ended with a presentation on the rights of people with disabilities. We had a positive response to this – they were especially excited to hear about the Ghanaian wheelchair athlete Anita Fordjour.  

This session actually ended up being the perfect foundation on which to build our Peer Education Day. We’ll be able to see whether our presentation has achieved a positive impact when we see how the girls interact with CWDs next week. We even asked the girls to invite any friends with disabilities they have to the event so we are expecting a good turnout.

An event which did go to plan was our Inclusive ICT Support Workshop which began on Wednesday. Held at the resource centre, we invited children from Sandema Preparatory Primary School and Ayieta Primary School (the research we’ve been conducting showed that these schools have many CWDs enrolled) and had 20 children attend, 13 of whom had some form of disability. Once again, the ability of information to become lost in translation proved itself as some children thought they were there for an ‘eye screening test’ rather than an ICT lesson!

The room we were in was rather small and the fan not too powerful; with 20 little children, as well as all of us, crammed inside on one of the hottest days so far, things soon became a little sweaty! All of the children were so engrossed in learning, and the volunteers were so enthused about teaching and being in the community that there were no complaints.

Ak being a powerful team leader.

The ICT Support Workshops provide a space in which CWDs and able bodied children can work together and focus on their similarities rather than any differences which superficially separate them. The Peer Education Day next week at Wiaga will give a similar space in Wiaga. Though it may not seem like much, holding these types of sessions, both Girls’ Club and the ICT Support Workshop, are small steps we can take to reduce the stigmatisation and marginalisation of people with disabilities in the community by changing young people’s attitudes and perceptions.

In other news, today we celebrate the 24th anniversary of the birth of Sanpreet, our social media go-to girl! Happy birthday Sanpreet!  

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