Hearing impaired Ghanaian children can now study without worry, thanks to RYTHM Foundation
Kojo Asante’s luck could not have been worse.
The 39-year-old was barely making ends meet with at the small corn mill that he owned in Sefwi Wioso in the western region of Ghana when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. When the government ordered a total lockdown, he was forced to sell the corn mill to pay off some of the loans he had taken earlier.
Kojo was bankrupt and struggling to take care of his family’s needs as three of his younger children Maxwell Asante (14), Daniel Asante (6), and Ellen Asante (5) were born hearing impaired. The children attended the Sekondi School for the Deaf but they were consistently absent due to their family’s financial constraints.
“I am the sole breadwinner for my family and things were already very hard for us financially. Losing my corn mill was the final straw. Now we are living on what we have and I am actively trying to find another job while doing odd-jobs as a temporary means of survival,” he said.
“I have a total of 11 children and the older ones have completed their secondary school. I hope they will be employed soon to help the family,” he added.
After finding out about Kojo’s plight, the headmistress of Sekondi School for the Deaf told him about the ANOPA Project and advised him to approach its executive director Ernest Appiah for some help.
ANOPA project is a non-governmental organisation in Ghana that uses sports for personal and societal development. It promotes inclusion by focusing on the less privileged and people with disabilities.
After assessing the family’s situation, ANOPA Project with funding from RYTHM Foundation decided to take care of all education related expenses for the three children for a period of one year to begin with. During this time, their school fees, uniform and other educational materials were taken care of and the family was also provided with food relief items such as rice, cooking oil, canned fish.
“We create awareness with the family on the importance of the children being in school and completing their education to better themselves and for their future. The children will also be enrolled in ANOPA’s sports programme on campus,” Ernest Appiah explained.
At the school, the children are taught sign language, braille reading and other basic lessons in subjects like English, Mathematics and Science. At the end of the year, their case will be assessed for continued support.