There are over 5,000 hearing impaired and visually challenged children in the Central Region of Ghana who live in isolation, excluded from the other children in the community. Only some of these children are able to attend basic special needs education, while many others, unfortunately, do not enjoy the same privilege due to their families’ financial situation.
Quite a number of these children who are enrolled in special needs schools are struggling to stay in school, as their parents are living from hand to mouth, and have a hard time providing basic needs such as books, pens, and other educational materials.
In Cape Coast, there are a lot of misconceptions and stigma about the differently-abled community. Often, these children grew up being side-lined by the community at large, and have very few opportunities to enrol in academic programmes or sports.
To assist these hearing and visually impaired children, RYTHM Foundation is supporting, ANOPA; a non-governmental organisation, with its ‘Education through Sports for Deaf and Blind Children’ project. They are supporting these children by promoting community sensitization through sports, quality education, educational support services, enrolment into special needs schools and vocational training.
This project also seeks to increase the interactions between the children and their peers, both in school and outside of school, to promote inclusion, create awareness on their condition and increase their understanding of their capabilities with a little assistance through relevant opportunities from the community.
With the support of RYTHM Foundation, ANOPA donated educational materials and groceries to support the children and ease the burden of their families. The education materials donated were exercise books, notebooks, pens and pencils. Groceries donated included milk, biscuits and other basic food items.
The project also provided sponsorship for PTA levies; which is required to be paid before one can attend school. This sponsorship has enabled the poor children from remote villages to stay in school.
A total of 12 specially-abled students have received support to enrol in ANOPA’s Sports for Development programme; which trains students in swimming, basketball, as well as other games that are suitable for the children who are visually challenged. ANOPA – Agoro Ne Obra PA, which in the local language Twi means “Play for a Better Life”, intends to encourage these students to stay in school through various sports interventions and educational support.
The ANOPA project plans to support more than 1,000 hearing impaired and visually challenged children, as well as their parents, within the next three years. RYTHM and ANOPA will continue to promote sustainable development via education and sports in order to assist the community to break the poverty cycle and encourage social cohesion.