Saturday, May 21, 2022

Vivie’s Dance Factory organizes Sparkle Day recital

 


Vivie’s Dance Factory, a dance school that promotes the arts through education, performances and entertainment is organizing an event dubbed VDF Sparkle Day recital to showcase the theatre talents of the school.

The Sparkle Day recital which is an annual event offers an opportunity for students, parents and the public to come together to appreciate the contribution of the performing arts to the society.

Ms Vivian Boateng, Chief Executive Officer of Vivie’s Dance Factory, expressed believe that some social issues could be addressed through performances.

“We believe children in Ghana have great talents, unfortunately, there aren’t many creative arts hubs to help nurture these talents,” she said.

She said the school uses performing arts to teach the children value for self, discipline and focus.

Ms Boateng said the Sparkle Day recital event is used to boost the confidence of the students as they perform on one big platform in front of audience.

The event to be held on Saturday, 18th June, 2022 will have about 400 students perform and will involve performances by the VDF students and groups from other partner schools.

It will include performances in Acro Dance, Hip Hop, Contemporary dance, traditional African drumming and dance, ballet, musical theatre among others.

The theme for the event is: Get Back Up Again, Ms Boateng said: “our message is simple, we want people to keep hope alive despite the pandemic.

 

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

GES working to harmonise NGO activities in education

 


The Ghana Education Service is designing a framework to coordinate and harmonise the operations of non-governmental organizations in the education sector to enable them assess their impact and efficiency

Mr Edward Opoku Manu, Human Resource Manager at the Ghana Education Service (GES) Regional Office said the framework will also help synchronise the activities of the NGOs, CSOs and Faith based organizations operating in the schools.

The Greater Accra GES regional office organized a day’s sensitization programme for selected NGOs and CSOs to discuss the framework and also solicit inputs from the participants.

Reverend Patrick Banafo, the Greater Accra School Health and Education Programme (SHEP) coordinator who is also coordinating the NGOs working in the educational sector in Greater Accra, in a presentation, said there were about 700 NGOs and CSOs operating in the educational sector across the country, however, there is inadequate data to reflect their contribution.

“This has also made it difficult to assess the number of resources going into the education sector in Ghana,” he said.

Rev. Banafo said the GES framework or guidelines for NGOs, CSOs and Faith based organizations operating in the sector will help improve the work being done in the educational sector.

The framework will also help minimize duplication of activities and ensure that the work is aligned and harmonised with public sector strategy and materials and maintain a database on their operations.

He commended the NGOs and the private sector organizations working in the educational sector, saying, “Government cannot do it alone”

NGOs, CSOs and Faith based organizations have increasingly become key stakeholders in the development of the educational sector across the globe, Rev. Banafo said calling for greater cooperation and collaboration to enhance their work and ensure the needed impact.


The Special Mothers Project is an advocacy organization on cerebral palsy issues and issues affecting families raising children with disabilities in Ghana

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Selected Members of Parliament schooled on disability issues

 


A Disability Inclusion Retreat with selected members of parliament open on Saturday with the aim of giving the disability caucus in parliament an opportunity to better understand disability issues.

Dr Clement Apaak, Chairman of the Disability Caucus in parliament and member of parliament for Builsa South, who described the retreat as insightful, said: “As a nation we haven’t done much in addressing challenges that persons with disability face, we have only been paying lip service.”

The two-day retreat organized by Ghana Somubi Dwumadie, a four-year disability programme with a specific focus on mental health and Sight Savers Ghana, a non-governmental organization with support from UK-Aid, discussed the disability concept and context in Ghana.

The retreat brought together selected members of parliament and civil society players in the disability sector as well as officials from the National Council on Persons with Disability.

Ms Rita Kusi Kyeremaa, Executive Director of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) said the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) described disability was an evolving concept, saying “there is no single definition of disability.

She said interim findings from the Ghana Statistical Service 2021 census indicate that about eight per cent of persons with disabilities live in Ghana.

The eight per cent means that about 2,098, 138, persons with disability live in Ghana, she said and added that even though the figure may not be accurate, it shows a sharp increase in the number of persons with disabilities compared with the statistics for persons with disabilities in the 2010 population and housing census.

Ms Kyeremaa thus called on the members of parliament to develop interest in disability issues and help formulate good policies that enhance the lives of persons with disabilities

Mr Alexander Bankole Williams, Advocacy Chairman of the GFD Advocacy committee, explaining the social model of disability, said disability is created by the social environment which excludes people with impairment from full participation as a result of attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers.

“The social models indicates that it is the structures or things we fail to put in place in society that disables a person not the impairment,” he added.

Adding his voice to the call for the full implementation of Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy, Mr Williams said that every child is educatable within a mainstream educational setting.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

These Atrocities must stop – Autism Mama burst out

 


Mrs Serwaa Quaynor, a mother of a 39 year old man living with autism, has called on the government to put in place measures that will let society stop the killing of children with autism and other disabilities.

“These children do not have a voice and someone has to be responsible for them and speak for them,” she said in an interview with Special Mothers Project, an advocacy platform for children with special needs, ahead of Autism Awareness Month, which is celebrated in April.

Mrs Quaynor who is also the Founder and Director of the Autism Awareness Care and Training Centre (AaCT) also reacted to a recent article in the media where a two-year-old boy was buried alive somewhere in the Central region.

She said but for the intervention of the police the child would have died.

 “this is not the only case that we have heard of, what about the ones being given concoctions and being poisoned slowly to death, these stories span across the country, who do we cry out to?”

Mrs Quaynor urged the government to have the interest of children with autism and other disabilities at heart and put in place policies that supports children with disabilities and their families in Ghana

Ghana joins the rest of the world to celebrate World Autism Day on the 2nd of April every year. In Ghana, the Autism community has designated the whole of April as Autism Awareness Month


Saturday, February 5, 2022

Beautiful Life Foundation launches financial aid programme for Special needs families

 


Beautiful Life Foundation, an organization that aims at empowering families of persons with developmental disabilities has launched a programme that provides financial support for such families

As part of the programme, 20 beneficiary families will receive various amounts of monies according to their specific need to set up a small or medium scale business that will enable them become regular income earners

Mrs Pathula Esi Ntoso, Founder and Executive Director of the Beautiful Life Foundation, made the announcement to the organization’s annual get together for parents, caregivers, persons with disabilities and stakeholders in the disability sector.

She explained that beneficiaries will be on the programme for two years during which they will be coached by mentors and other entrepreneurs to ensure that their businesses succeed.

“We will constantly monitor the progress of the business to ascertain the status and to offer support in times of need,” Mrs Ntoso said.

She expressed her gratitude to the Samuel Amo Tobin Foundation and Dr Samuel Amo Tobin, Chairman of the Tobinco Group of Companies, for helping make the Beautiful Life Foundation Financial Aid Programme, a reality.

Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba, Founder of the Henry Djaba Foundation, a Disabled Persons Organization, who chaired the programme donated 20 wheelchairs to the Beautiful Life Foundation and pledged to support some of the special needs mothers who want to set up hair dressing salons.

She called on the government to as a matter of urgency gather data on especially children with disabilities in Ghana to enable them plan appropriately in our development of policies and programmes.

Ms Djaba said: “Having a child with disability is not a curse, disability is not sold at the shop, it can happen to everyone,” urging the parents to adopt a positive outlook in life.

Bishop Yaw Owusu Ansah, Founder of the Yaw Owusu Ansah Foundation, also a Disabled People Organization, urged the parents to look up to God, saying, “If the government will not do anything to support parents of children with disabilities, God will do it over and above our imagination.”

The parents were treated to good music and played games including musical chairs, charades and dancing competition.

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Ghana Educational System and a child with special educational needs

 Kelvin’s teacher reached out to the Special Mothers Project, an organization that engages in advocacy for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

He had a concern, the school is not ready to register Kelvin for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), Kelvin, has been in the school since infancy and has always been promoted to the next class with his peers

Kelvin, though very intelligent and able to answer questions orally is unable to write, this has to do with his disability.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects the part of the brain that coordinates movement. Most persons living with cerebral palsy have challenges with movement.

Signs and symptoms vary among people and over time, but include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, and tremors. There may be problems with sensation, vision, hearing, and speaking. Often, babies with cerebral palsy do not roll over, sit, crawl or walk as early as other children of their age. Other symptoms may include seizures

Kelvin is affected mostly with the hands and he is unable to write even though he demonstrates remarkable intelligence.

Kelvin’s case is not unique, many parents with children who have special educational needs will attest to the fact that it is very difficult getting their children into the regular educational stream.

Most schools do not know how to handle such children and most teachers are fixated on just academics to the detriments of other talents and inborn skills that a child with special educational needs may have.

Adwoa Okorewaa, a mother of a nine-year-old girl with cerebral palsy sharing her experience said, “I wanted my daughter to go to school not necessarily to achieve academic laurels but her time away in school could offer me some respite, away from caregiving.

Being in school was also an opportunity to build her social interaction skills, get her to know people, especially her peers and learn a few things that are not taught in books; however, some teachers are antagonistic to the idea of a child with special educational needs getting into mainstream education.

The Ghana Educational Service in the year 2015 launched the Inclusive Education Policy to redefine and recast the delivery and management of educational services to respond to the diverse needs of all learners within the framework of universal design for learning and child friendly school concept.

The policy includes all children with special needs including those with disabilities, however, most schools even the public schools supposed to be implementing these policies seem unfriendly to children with special educational needs

Ms Okorewaa says, “I have seen children with disabilities gifted with so much skills and talent but are left untapped and not harnessed because of our educational system that really excludes children with disabilities.

The Ghana Educational Service (GES) in conjunction with the Ghana National Association of Teachers has in recent times developed a new standard-based curriculum. The GES new curriculum is drawn on best practices all over the globe and is to be utilized by educators in basic schools all over Ghana.

The curriculum, according to the GES, intends to provide students with skills, both soft and hard, to allow them to navigate the modern world and the inherent challenges.

 “Teachers will be tasked to go more in-depth, considering the reduced learning areas. Lower and upper primary subjects are going to be as before. However, the curriculum proposes fewer concepts that have more depth for every idea. The new system places more focus on proper literacy and numeracy as they are the pillars of all advanced studies.

The GES new curriculum is standard-based, meaning that every student or learner ought to demonstrate competency and mastery of knowledge. All students (P2, P4 and P6) will undergo a mandatory assessment to check and track their performance.

Ms Okorewaa however, said I don’t know how they are going to assess my child; my child does not speak clearly and does not use the hands to write efficiently, how does my child fit into this whole educational system?

She proposed an alternative where children with special educational needs can move along with their peers in school but are assessed in the most suitable ways and are supported to fit into the job market.

Some teachers that the writer  spoke to with regards to the new curriculum admitted that the new curriculum seems to be more friendly towards a child with special educational needs, however, some also admits that not all teachers are willing to embrace the changes that involves making children with special educational needs the centre of our educational goals to the benefit of all.

Ms Okorewaa said, it also seems that there is no efficient monitoring system to check teachers who refuse to comply with the new educational changes.

 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Special Mothers project Report 2021 – If the Idea is of the Lord, it will be established

 


When I was filing the 2019 annual returns for The Special Mothers Project in the early parts of 2020, I was almost certain that I was done with the project.

I had been frustrated in the  year 2020  even though the project wasn’t totally idle in 2020. We had stopped any physical meetings with the parents and moved all our activities online.

The Project’s whatsapp platform was however very vibrant and we were adding new members almost every week.

The calls for support from the parents was also increasing, it was a big dilemma for me. To go on with the project or not to

The Special Mothers Project does mainly advocacy.

 In addition to our media and social media advocacy programmes which aims at contributing positively to policy formulation around children with cerebral palsy and other special needs we move to support parents and families nurturing children with disabilities in any way that we can.

Therefore, a call from the Executive Secretary of the National Council on Persons with Disability, inviting the Special Mothers Project to a meeting in the early parts of 2021 came as a  pleasant surprise.

The Council had selected some NGOs to provide them with technical support, and the Special Mothers Project was one of those.

Even though the Special Mothers Project could not get the needed support due to some technical reasons, the call awakened the senses of the Executive Director that it was not over.

In the year 2021, The Special Mothers Project supported many parents of children with various disabilities in a variety of ways.

Madam Yawa Ankrah _ - Madam Yawa is one of the very notable special needs moms we gave support to in 2021, Madam Yawa is mother to an adolescent with Down syndrome, Madam Yawa got sick with diabetes which left her bedridden and her daughter’s life to chance.

The Special Mother Project highlighted the issue of Madam Yawa, which caught the attention of other media colleagues. Joy News’ Beryl Richter took the issue up and the issue finally got the attention of Ghana’s First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

Madam Yawa was given hospital care, her home renovated and her daughter admitted to the Dzorwulu Special School.

Madam Yawa said her life today is a living testimony. Read Madam Yawa's story here

The Special Mothers Project also supported many parents of children with disabilities, raising funds on social media to set some up in small enterprises, we paid for the two years rent advance of one woman who was being abused by her husband because of her child with special needs.

We supported some parents with the payment of hospital bills, the support to the parents were countless and we cannot list them all.

The Special Mothers Project also raised funds to renovate the Special Unit of the Madina Demonstration basic school, separate funds were raised to buy furniture and educational materials.



The Project donated items to the Accra Psychiatric Special School on behalf of Special Mom Eunice Enam Gakogo during her birthday

The project also provided counselling support on a daily basis to many special needs parents who reached out through social media.

Special Mothers Project on Amplified

The Special Mothers Project was also featured on the Ministry of Information’s flagship programme on social media Amplified.

The Amplified programme provided the project with the opportunity to be known by many and helped increased our social media following.

Watch the Special Mothers Project Amplified

Contribution to Policy

One of the major aims of the Special Mothers Project is to contribute meaningfully to policy formulation around children with cerebral palsy and other special needs in Ghana.

The Special Mothers Project as part of the Amplified programmes presented some policy suggestion to the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.



The Project also engaged in some critical policy discussions including the Ghana Early Childhood Care and Development Policy, The Inclusive Education Policy, and other policies bothering on children.

The Special Mothers Project is also part of the Civil Society Platform for Social Protection. A group that came together to push for a social protection law in Ghana

The Special Mothers Project outlined policy suggestions have also been presented to individual Members of Parliament and other high-profile members of society.

The Special Mothers Project also shared some experiences when Ghana hosted the first ever training programme for Rehabilitation professionals across five African countries with the support of Cerebral Palsy Africa

The Special Mothers Project was also Awarded by the Patience Awards International (PAI) for the good work we are involved in.

Media

The Media in Ghana and beyond has been of tremendous support to the Special Mothers Project since its inception. I risk leaving some of the media houses out if I attempt to mention but all the same, let me mention The Ghana News Agency, Finder Newspaper, ModernGhana.com, HBTV, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Nana Yaa Konadu of Despite media and the Talklife platform and a host of media personnel and organizations that hosted the Special Mothers Project on their platforms to articulate our concerns as well as educate the public about children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities



The Special Mothers Project crowned the year with an end of year get together where some items were donated to the mothers who attended.



Way Forward

The Special Mothers Project intends to continue the advocacy path for the long haul. Our advocacy will include making meaningful contributions to policy formulation that centres around children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

The project where necessary will raise funding to support a cause that is in line with our advocacy objectives and where necessary continue to support selected parents with skills and small enterprises that will enable them earn an income by themselves

The project will focus on a care-giving advocacy drive to get more people especially the youth interested in taking up care-giving as a viable career option. This programme will help us solve a bit of our unemployment challenges as a country.

The Special Mothers Project intends to with the necessary funding host a once-a-year respite programme to serve as a networking event for families raising children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities and also help in supporting the mental wellbeing of especially special needs mothers



Appreciation

Words are not enough to express our gratitude for the overwhelming support we have enjoyed over the years as the Special Mothers Project.

Special mention to Mrs Eunice Enam Gakogo, Mr Kwadwo Boateng Ntim, Special Mom Ellen Berko Akoto, Lydia Afia Owusuaa Ntaah, Patience Puplampu, Salome Okoh, My Child’s wellbeing Project, Ms Gloria Amo Aidoo, Patience Awards International,  members of the Special Mothers Project whatsapp and Telegram platform and all our followers on social media, the list is endless and I risk offending some should I go on to list all the people that has supported the project this year 2021



Please note the Audited Accounts of the Special Mothers Project will be uploaded unto our website www.specialmothers.org by mid January.