Tuesday, February 21, 2017

LIFE Lessons

Ayisha and Rahina at Afoko School

Team LIFE has worked very hard over week five and six to deliver successful radio and school sensitisations, as well as improving our relationship with the important stakeholders in the community. We are beginning to appreciate how the strength of our team is being reflected in all the work we do.

On the 10th February, we had our first school sensitisation at Afoko Junior High School. We were able to meet the students and teachers for a sensitisation about disability and human rights, including the correct language to use whilst speaking with and about those with disabilities. We also invited Honourable Gilbert (President of the Disabled People's Organisation) and Mr Paul, both Sandema locals with a disability. 

As part of our presentation, they both came to tell the children about their rights and what they have achieved. Mr Gilbert was the first person with a disability in the Upper East Region to have a white wedding (a momentous occasion which could have been graced by TV presenters), and Paul has travelled to Ghana's capital to talk to members of the British Government about disability. Their stories really touched the students, and were met with mass applause and smiles. According to the children they have changed their view of disability and learnt a lot about how to associate themselves with people with disabilities. 
President of the Disabled Peoples Organisation delivering a speech on the challenges he has overcome during his lifetime

Our second school sensitisation was at Old Primary School on Friday 17th February. Here we had a chance to talk to younger students about disability so that we can change their attitude towards people with disabilities. We spent almost an hour with them, using drama, energisers and interactive talks so that they can also understand that disability is not an inability. We were there with Honourable Gilbert, who is a master at the school, and so his achievements acted as an example to the children of what PWDs can accomplish. 

Team LIFE's second radio sensitisation also came on 10th February at Radio Builsa. The team were once again joined by Honourable Gilbert and Mr Paul to present to the public about the causes of disability, the equal rights of people with disabilities and how the listeners can associate with people with disabilities in the community. Honourable Gilbert and Mr Paul gave inspiring messages and also assisted with the translation of the show into Buli. We feel the radio sensitisation was a great success and look forward to our next programme. 

On 16th February we had our mid term review, in which we met up with two other rural ICS teams in Sirigu. The purpose of the mid term was to learn from our other colleagues what they have been doing on their projects, and share successes and challenges. We had a chance to discuss our team dynamics as well as enjoying games to encourage team bonding and friendly competition. It was a long day, but a good chance to meet up with the other teams and to reflect on our project so far.
Children at Sandema Old Primary enjoying an energiser delivered by the Team Leader, Shaibu
Team LIFE were invited to the Disabed People's Organisation annual meeting on 18th February. Radio Builsa were in attendance to record some of the women story telling and singing local songs in preparation for a programme on International Womens' Day in March. We were able to introduce our team and our mission as part of the recorded programme to create greater awareness of International Service's relationship with the DPO.

As a team, we've been balancing work with down time and so we came together on Sunday 12th February to celebrate the birthday of one of our Ghanaian volunteers, Ayisha. We have enjoyed playing sports together after work, such as cricket, rounders (with a homemade bat fashioned from a branch by volunteer Olly Hounsfield), and an inclusive game of sitting volleyball with Mr Paul and some local children. We also had a movie night watching The Lion King, really capturing the African spirit.

Half way into our project and Team LIFE is growing stronger and working harder every day. We are a unified force for good in the community, and our upcoming school, radio and community sensitisations will undoubtedly reflect this. 

By Ayisha

Team LIFE celebrating the birthday of Ayisha. From left to right: Abigail, Shaibu, Ayisha, Roseanna, Mathew, Olly, Majida, Sophie, Lula, Rahina, Kathy

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