Friday, 15 August 2014

A Visit From Our Friendly Neighbourhood Disability Resource Centre

Hi! My name is Nuhu Alhassan and I am working at Tawfikiya with Ben, Jamal, Bawah and Sala. Although I am based at Tawfikiya I will try to give an outline of how the week has been for each of the three schools.

This week was slightly different from the normal schedule of teaching in the morning and office based work in the afternoon; all three schools received visits from our colleagues from the Resource Centre ICS, who came to do disability sensitisation exercises.

Monday was a normal day of teaching at the schools for everyone. But, on Tuesday 'Team Tawfikiya' were the first to be visited by those from the Resource Centre. The school does not have an electricity supply, which we warned the Resource Centre about and they came prepared with a generator. However, it wasn't until they began setting up that they realised the generator had no fuel! Luckily, the driver went to fetch some fuel and within half an hour all the children were gathered to listen to the presentation.

Lisa from the Resource Centre keeping the students of Tawfikiya
occupied whilst fuel was being found for the generator
In Ghana, there is a real stigma attached to disability, especially in the rural areas; some even believing it is caused by voodoo, curses or witchcraft. Therefore, the aim of the presentation is to 'sensitise' the children (and the community in general) to those living with disabilities; to understand the causes and consequences of living with a disability, and to be more considerate and supportive of those in that position. It was very informative, and in some places even quite moving. During the break, those from the Resource Centre played ball with the children whilst Jamal played Ampe with the younger students. After the break we discussed with the children about the Disability Sensitisation Exercise and it seemed that they got a lot out of it. The children were particularly touched by the videos shown at the end 
of the presentation.

These videos challenged the children's preconceptions of the disabled being a burden on society. It showed them that instead, those with disabilities can be just as capable, if not more, than those without disabilities. They also mentioned how the presentation allowed them to sympathise with those with disabilities, and to gain a new appreciation for their own abilities.

Hinna, Alice and Raheel during the Disability
Sensitisation Presentation at Ticheli E/A Primary School
Amazingly, when we arrived to school the next day we found a new student waiting there for us. Her name is Salma, she is physically disabled and uses a wheelchair to get around. We were thrilled to discover that after the presentation the previous day, the children from the school had approached Salma and encouraged her to join them in their studies! Despite the fact that she had not attended the summer school before, her classmates made her feel comfortable enough to come along. It was so incredible to see how the presentation had made a difference to the children's attitudes towards disability so quickly; and that as a result a disabled member of the community had benefitted positively. Who knows, maybe it will even have a positive impact for others there in the near future?

On Wednesday, Tua Sunia had the presentation from the Resource Centre, whilst it was a normal teaching day for Tawfikiya and Ticheli. In the afternoon we met to discuss our school play idea; towards the end of the project we will host a community play about the importance of education. It is particularly aimed at the parents of the community, and expresses the importance of supporting their children through education in order to allow them a better future. Jade, Damba and Jamal were selected to work on the script. Meanwhile, Ben and Pooja were assigned to design the certificate that will be awarded on the same evening as the school play for the most improved students and the 'best' students in each class. The rest of the team members were asked to write an itinerary for all of the resources, including how many are being used and whether there are any surplus.

On Thursday, it was a normal teaching day for those at Tua Sunnia and Ticheli had the presentation from the Resource Centre. At Tawfikiya, we taught literacy in the morning and in the afternoon we organised a football tournament. There were matches between Classes 1 and 4, 5 and 6, and the girls from Classes 3 and 4. Classes 1 and 2, followed by 4 and 5 also played games with the parachute. Finally, there were games with the blindfold played between the various classes; giving the children an insight into what it feels like to be blind...whilst having fun of course!

One of the football matches held at Tawfikiya on Thursday afternoon
In the office after lunch break, the various members of the team selected to carry out the script writing, certificate designing and recording of resources, continued with their different assignments. We continued this work on Friday in the office, along with some discussions about the positives and negatives of the project so far.

Next week, we will be receiving further visits; this time from our colleagues at RAINS, who will be speaking to the school children about the importance of sexual health. We are very mich looking forward to hearing what they have to teach them.

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