It felt like a death sentence, I alone, the world seemed to have come to a complete halt and I asked myself, "Why me?" This is how I felt when I was told that my only daughter has autism. The journey has not been an easy one, a learning process I call it; readjusting my life and schedules.
I remind myself daily that everyone faces obstacles in life and this is mine. The challenges I face daily I see as a speed rump and not a roadblock and therefore I focus my energy on what is best for my daughter. I want people to see her as a human being first and not to be defined by her disability.
Finding the necessary support has been the biggest thing I have done for myself: the parents I meet daily, my wonderful family at AWAAWAA2, sharing my story with other parents and encouraging each other.
Become your own expert for your child, be an advocate, life has more to offer so learn to enjoy your child with disability. You are not alone in this. To all the parents raising a child with disability I say AYEKOO! Well done!
Persons with intellectual disabilities (PWIDs) belong to a group of people who are often ignored or overlooked by society. Their families also share this exclusion. The lives of PWIDs have had a long history of segregation and discrimination in Ghana and being excluded from education, healthcare, social life and jobs. The baseline report on the level of stigmatisation, discrimination and exclusion by Inclusion Ghana tells us how much need to be done for PWIDs and their families to be included and accepted in society. One such area is advocacy. Persons with intellectual disabilities deserve advocacy support.
People have talked about advocacy in Ghana for a long time. Inclusion Ghana has had consultation with its members, where people said they want to see advocacy services for PWIDs. This document is Inclusion Ghana’s strategy for making it happen. IG has drafted this strategy by looking at what people have said, what works best, and what needs to change. The Strategy also seeks to enhance the visibility, credibility and effectiveness of the advocacy work of IG and would be contributing to the vision, mission and values of IG. The strategy is available for download in the Report section under Resources.
Inclusion Ghana believes there is a need to empower, motivate and support parents of persons with intellectual disability in Ghana as these parents are often confronted with stigmatization and discrimination because of their children's disability. By forming Parents Self- Help Groups (PSHGs), parents will have a platform to meet people with the same circumstances with whom they can exchange their experiences and emotions. Together parents can support each other as they learn how to cope with these difficulties and gather tools and knowledge that can be helpful in their lives and those of their children.
Due to the stigmatisation attached to intellectual disability in Ghana, many families find it difficult to talk openly about their situation and more importantly to access the range of services available. PSHGs therefore aim to empower parents of PWIDs against stigmatisation and exclusion from society. This document offers some guidelines for setting up Parents Self Help Group. The guideline is available for download in the Report section under Resources.
At the beginning of the year, member organisations of Inclusion Ghana were invited to apply for a small grant towards projects. Some members submitted their applications and each application went through a vigorous assessment by 4 independent judges. Each application had to receive a minimum of 36 out of 50 marks to be successful.
Listed below are the successful applicants and their project goals:
AACT: Educate parents to become conscious of the signs of autism in early childhood development centres, raise awareness of intervention programmes, and educate the youth to realise the potential occupations available to PWIDs.
Awaawaa2: Assist a child with ID to attend mainstream education demonstrating that it is possible for a child with ID to be educated in mainstream schools, given the right support.
Echoing Hills: To learn and share best practice to mitigate stigmatisation, increase positive attitudes and knowledge and also strengthen the organisation capacities of an organisational network of key stakeholders.
SAP: Empowering parents and teachers of children with unrecognised Specific Learning Disabilities in public basic schools so that they can advocate for the rights of their children
SAPID: Create awareness for the public to avoid discrimination and stigmatisation against PWIDs through workshops and media.
The META Foundation also applied for funding and was awarded a partial grant towards its project to create a platform to promote an inclusive educational system at the grassroot level in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern of Ghana.
Cheques were handed out to the organisations at a ceremony on 12th April, 2012. Inclusion Ghana wishes each project very good luck in creating a positive outcome for their project.
As Inclusion Ghana (IG) is a young organisation, its work is not known very much to the public, governmental bodies, potential member organisations and parents with PWIDs. This document is therefore a Strategy for effective and efficient communications at Inclusion Ghana. IG is making communications a priority, ensuring it is an embedded part of its working practices. We want to find more creative and effective ways to reach all our stakeholders, those people and organisations with an interest in our work.
We will use communications to explain what we are doing and why. An essential part of this process is to explain to stakeholders and others how they have helped shape our work. This strategy starts the process. IG recognises the importance of internal and external communications, both of which are critical to the success of IG. As such, this Strategy has two parts: Communication Strategy for Internal Stakeholders and External Stakeholders respectively. The complete strategy will be reviewed every year. It is a “living” document, changing and reforming as we adapt and reshape our communications to meet the challenges of the coming years. The strategy is available for download in the Report section under Resources.