Promoting the development of acces to early education for blind and visualy impaired children in Ghana
The project was implemented between 31 May and 31 December 2013 in Akropong Akuapem in Ghana. One volunteer participated in it and stayed in Ghana twice: between 22 August and 21 September, and from 30 October to 16 November 2013. The coordinator (sending organisation) was the Foundation Hear Africa, and the local partner was theAkropongSchoolfor the Blind.
More than 200,000 out of 2 million of Ghanaians are blind, and over 600,000 have problems with vision (see source). Over 8,000 children suffer from infant blindness, caused mainly by the lack of vitamin A. In Ghana there are only two health centres teaching and caring for children with vision problems. There are not enough trained professionals who would work with visually impaired children in kindergartens and primary schools, when assisting their development is most effective and brings most benefits to the children.
Therefore, the main objective of the project was to train the teaching staff of the visually impaired children’s school in Akropong Akuagem, and to prepare for the implementation of the activities related to early support of the blind and visually impaired children’s development.
To achieve that, the volunteer, a specialist of typhlopedagogy, trained 50 teachers in early support of the children’s development, and also contributed to including this topic in the Ghanaian educational system by creating a team of teachers who will diagnose blind and visually impaired children. In addition, the volunteer attended a meeting with the representatives of the department of special education in the Ghanaian Ministry of Education, where she presented the program she had implemented in the school.
Completed activities allowed the staff to acquire knowledge and practical skills, to raise their professional skills, and therefore to raise the quality and extend the scope of educational and therapeutic services provided by the school. On the central level, presenting the concepts of the early support of the development of blind and visually impaired children contributed to building cooperation, support and acceptance of following actions in this field.
As part of the project, the volunteer conducted a total of 50 hours of trainings of early support of the development of blind and visually impaired children, visited and assessed 60 hours of classes led by the local teachers, and co-organised 20 classes of individual consultations. Apart from 50 trained teachers, 500 people participated in the meetings.
As part of the educational component, 180 copies of the publication “Situation of the blind and visually impaired children in Ghana. Challenges and opportunities” were printed, and also published in electronic version. The publication was sent to 22 biggest libraries in Poland, several universities and NGOs, among others.