Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ghana celebrates World Cerebral Palsy Day on October 5

Multikids Foundation in collaboration with the Special Mothers Project would on the October 1, organise a workshop for parents and care-givers of children with cerebral palsy (CP).

The workshop is part of activities to commemorate World Cerebral Palsy Day in Ghana. The celebration is on the theme: “A child with CP – A child with possibilities.”

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Initiator of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation campaign on CP said the workshop would serve as a skill-learning platform for care-givers.

The workshop would bring parents and care-givers in contact with professionals/specialists who helps with the management of CP.

World Cerebral Palsy Day is celebrated every first Wednesday of October. It is a movement of people with CP and their families, and the organisations that support them, in more than 50 countries.

Its vision is to ensure that children and adults with CP have the same rights, access and opportunities as anyone else in the society.

Ms Amanda Budge, CEO of Multikids Inclusive Academy and the Multikids Foundation, said it is her passion to see every child with CP and every special needs child in school.

“How I wish that Multikids Inclusive Academy could open its doors to all the children but we have limited resources and cannot,” she said.

Ms Budge called on corporate organisations to support the Foundation to enable them accept more children.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Special Educator calls for teaching assistants and care-givers to enhance their work

Ms Mercy Asiedu, Unit Head of the Madina Special School, has said there is the need for teaching assistants and care-givers at the unit to help with the work.

She said: “It is difficult working as a Special educator and at the same time doing the work of teaching assistant and care-giver, it impedes quality work.”

Ms Asiedu helping a Special Needs student to arrange a puzzle
Ms Asideu explained that some of the children with special needs, needs individualized attention and the limited number of special educators and the lack of teaching assistant as well as care-givers makes it very difficult to do so.

The Special Educator made the call in an interview with the GNA on the progress of the inclusive education policy launched by the Ministry of Education recently.

Ms Asiedu said it was also important that teachers in the mainstream education paid regular visits to the unit schools to enable them to understand the concept of special education and the special needs children.

Under the Inclusive Education Policy, government has established what is called Unit school, a kind of specialized schools attached to mainstream school compound to facilitate the integration of special needs children into mainstream school.

Ms Asiedu said apart from the need for teaching assistants and care-givers, the facility is also under-resourced.

“Our furniture and equipment to aid effective teaching and learning is outdated and the chairs are not conducive for the children, we also lack the appropriate toilet facilities,” she explained.

She said the children are taught according to their needs and undergo training in handiwork and arts and crafts and called on philanthropists and corporate organizations to come to their aid.

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Initiator of the Special Mothers project who also visited the Unit School to familiarize herself with activities in the school said the project would partner the school to enhance their work.

The Special Mothers project is an advocacy on cerebral palsy issues and serves as a platform to link parents with CP children while acting as a counselling point for mothers with CP children.

She urged government to also pay attention to special needs children of pre-school age, saying, “Many mothers with CP children are forced to become stay-home mums because most pre-schools refuse their children admission.”

 Mrs Awadzi said early intervention such us enabling them to access schools and mix with other children goes a long way to enhance the future well-being of children with cerebral palsy.

She also urged corporate organizations and individuals to support the project to help give parents and children with CP an enhanced life.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A child with Cerebral Palsy has possibilities in life

A Child with Cerebral Palsy

 I had an opportunity to talk to a pastor of a well-known church in Ghana about cerebral palsy (CP), as part of an advocacy and awareness creation project I am working on.

The pastor whose church is known for organising charity for people with disability, including free medical screening for them seems very ignorant about CP as an issue.

As we talked he would interject and ask: “So these children, I mean the children with cerebral palsy do they have any future.”

The first time, he asked I wondered what answer I should give him, so I intentionally pretended as if I did not hear but then he asked a second and a third time so I started pointing to him people with CP living what I will call a fulfilled life.

I had no cause to be angry with the question the pastor asked, knowing very well the very low level of awareness on CP coupled with the fact that probably the majority of families that have a child with the condition would normally not take the child out.

In Ghana we hardly see children with CP at social gathering.

I keep pointing people in Ghana to one lady that I am personally very proud of. Her name is Farida Bedwei, She is an IT entrepreneur and she has CP.

One thing I hammer anytime I talk about Farida is that she is not even walking but I can say that she is making such a huge impact in Ghana and beyond and if you doubt this you could Google her name.

Elsewhere I have read about people living with CP making such great impact with their lives and as a mother with a child with the condition, Farida and others give me so much hope.

So I started the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme, aimed at empowering especially mothers with CP children in Ghana to better understand their children’s condition and to better handle them.

In the course of time, I have come to realize that it is not only the mothers that need empowerment but our society as a whole.

I dream of a time in Ghana when a mother with a child who has CP would walk boldly into a crèche or an early learning development centre and she would be welcomed without any hesitation.

As it is now, even accepting a child with CP in an early learning development centre is at the discretion of the owner or head of school.

Those who would readily accept such a child may be due to the need for money and trust me the fees are high. I am talking about GH₵1200.00 and above and sometimes a child with CP attracts extra charges.

The Special Mothers Project is looking forward to organising training sessions for staff of pre-school staff to enlighten them that the children only suffer from a medical condition and with a little or love and encouragement they could become assets to the world.

The project also serves as a counselling point for mothers who otherwise are desperate because they have children with CP, and the fulfilment I get in knowing that I act as a dose of hope and encouragement to a rather hopeless situation is great.

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Initiator of the Special Mothers project, said: “We have already started organising workshops for mothers/parents and care-givers to empower them and provide the basic knowledge they need to manage the children.”

“We are calling for your support, corporate Ghana and the international world, support this worthy cause,” she said.

The project would join the rest of the World to celebrate World Cerebral Palsy Day on October 5. We have outlined activities to create more awareness.

The most critical support is the need for prayer to help us advocate to influence policy favourably for families with children who have cerebral palsy

The public could support by donating any amount to the Special Mothers Project- GN Bank, Adentan Branch with account number 1024122400001 or via mobile money on 0244547980.

Join us create more awareness on CP because children with the medical condition have possibilities to make it in life.

The potential public-spirited individuals and organisations would be supporting a worthy cause.