Kekeli Foundation received a grant of $10,400 from the Disabilities Rights Fund in the USA. The aim of the grant is to strengthen the capacity of the Kekeli Foundation board and staff to plan UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) activities. They aim to do this by working with the Department of Social Welfare and persons with Intellectual Disability to promote support systems for independent living in Helekpe and also to form two self-advocacy groups for persons with Intellectual Disability.
Kekeli has begun forming new groups and have started new classes. They are continuing to teach photography to students at the Helekpe EP Special Education Unit and with the help of the grant have expanded the arts and crafts program and added an inclusive music class. The craft teacher meets with the students once a week and parents are donating local materials like cornhusks to be used to make local crafts. The music teacher also meets with the students once a week and Kekeli has donated a drum set, rattles and bells to form an inclusive traditional drumming group. All of these projects will build the confidence of the students and show they can also learn income-generating activities that can help them become more independent.
The project has been expanded and there is some coverage in a village called Ahunda. In Ahunda, there are currently 14 people with intellectual disabilities identified with 5 attending the primary school. A resource teacher from Ghana Education Service is assisting in this work. Kekeli Foundation will visit the families and meet with the teachers to assess each child and the parents hope to apply for funding to start a vocational training program for the adults with Intellectual Disability.
Mr. Hope Ocloo is a 57 years old man having both physical and intellectual disabilities. Despite having these conditions, he teaches crafts at the Ho/Bankoe Primary School and lives independently. He is also a Board member of the Kekeli Foundation. Hope gave an account of his life and the difficulties he has faced and overcame.
Hope was born with a fractured skull which was operated upon and later that affected his neck. He attended a vocational school at RC in Ho after primary and middle school. When he was in school he could not talk and would always struggle for the words and used to hit his leg to get support to speak. After his vocational training in 1983, he was employed to teach at the Bankoe RC School. Hopeís employment was as a result of his fatherís help and an auditor friend of his father at the RC Unit of the Ghana Education Service. Some pupils in his class and in the school used to ridicule him a lot so his father had to intervene and speak to the Head Teacher of the school to stop the children from ridiculing him all the time. He is the first child of his father and lives in his father's house. His siblings do not respect him. She used to have a girlfriend and anytime the girlfriend visited him it was only in the night. Hope explained that this was because she did not want her friends to see her coming to him and was only after money.
Inclusion Ghana visited Hope in his school to witness him teaching. Life has many challenges for Hope but he has an irredeemable spirit and faces his daily struggles with humour and determination.
Kekeli Foundation organised focus group discussions with self advocates and their families in the Ho Municipality to gather information on Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Living independently and being included in the community. Each focus group was helped by a facilitator and a note taker who translated from the local dialect of Ewe to English. The first focus group discussion was held with the Amenuveve self help group at Adalche Helekpe School where 12 parents and 6 self advocates gathered to discuss the challenges they faced in their communities. When the self advocates was asked to create a group message to the world they responded:
"We should be helped so as to live independent lives; what others can do we can also do it so we should be included in the community"
Another focus group discussion was also held in Abutia Teti where 5 self advocates and 19 parents again talked about the challenges they faced in the communities and the hopes they had for the future. The message from these children was that they would like to be able to work for themselves in the future.
Inclusion Ghana was recently invited by UNICEF to share its experiences on children with intellectual disabilities and initiatives that are promoting their inclusive and special education needs. Currently, UNICEF is working hard to ensure that all children with disabilities are offered school places and all is done to keep them there.
Nana Akua Owusu, a board member of Inclusion Ghana represented IG and made the presentation. Her presentation highlighted the following issues:
- Brief background information on Inclusion Ghana
- Organisation's key programmes/projects/activities
- Initiatives promoting inclusive and special education needs
- Specific Results
- Personnel Trained
- Future Plans
Inclusion Ghana recently hosted Shikuku Obosi, a consultant from Inclusion International. Shikuku is visiting a number of African countries to get their contribution to the Global Report on Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Living independently and being included in the community.
Specifically, his visit supported Inclusion Ghana: to collect Individual stories of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families; carry out focus group discussions of self advocates and their families; develop Ghana country profile for the global campaign on article 19; and lastly conduct an organisational assessment of Inclusion Ghana.
At the end of Shikukuís visit to Ghana, he got a picture of what life was like for persons with intellectual disabilities and their families/carers in Ghana, the challenges they faced and how much or how little they were included in the community. The data received from his visit will be collated along with data from the rest of the world to be presented at the Inclusion Internationalís Global Conference on Achieving Inclusion in Washington DC from October 25-28, 2012