PMGY’s Disabled Children volunteers programme in Ghana helps to care for Ghanaian children with special needs. Around 5 million people in Ghana live with a disability, which is around a fifth of the population. Approximately 100,000 Ghanaian children aged 6-14 have a disability and more than 16,000 of these children are out of school. Children with disabilities are often left at home, unable to go outside the house let alone make it to school. Many are shunned for their disability, marginalised and forgotten.
Ghana has recently introduced a nationwide inclusive education policy. It works on two fronts – enforcing the rights of children with disabilities to an education as well as educating parents through community sensitisation programmes. Resources are now being invested in addressing these issues on a national scale.
Whilst the government is making big steps to support people with special needs, the facilities that support them are still understaffed and families often do not have the means to give their child the support they need.
PMGY volunteers work with children and young adults who are intellectually challenged and/or carrying some form of physical disability. The children and young adults have different conditions and needs varying from mild disability to more severe cases and varying from 7 to 25 years of age.
Volunteers will be placed at a local children’s home:
PROJECT EXAMPLE – KUMASI CHILDREN’S HOME
Kumasi Children’s Home was established in 1965 by a private organisation and later became a government run organisation. It is currently home to around 100 children. The children are split into three different blocks – the girls’ house, the boys’ house and the disabled childrens’ house.
The project provides a variety of support services to the students focussing in areas such as basic education and life skills classes as well as physical exercise and speech and physical therapy. A sensory room has been developed on-site which is designed to develop the disabled children’s sense through special lighting, music and objects.
PROJECT EXAMPLE – NEW LIFE CHILDRENS CENTRE
New Life Children’s Centre started in 1988 by the Late Mother Theresa. The home cares for children and young adults with and without disabilities.
Volunteers work with the children and young adults in a variety of ways, from promoting morning routines, assisting with feeding during meal times and engaging in activities that aim to promote both social and motor skills. Volunteers also tend to lend a hand to the local staff with simple chores, such as washing. This helps free up the staff members to spend their time providing more specialised care for the children and young adults.
Volunteers are encouraged to spend one on one time with children in here who struggle with limited communication skills and in an attempt to promote positive inner mood and character development for the children.
Volunteers assist in a number of other capacities at the project too. Those with experience or a specific area of interest are encouraged to get involved and lead in physical and speech therapy sessions. Volunteers are encouraged to provide as much interaction and assistance to the children and young adults from singing songs and counting to going on walks and helping the local staff with feeding, washing and cleaning activities.
Working with disabled children can be an immensely challenging role, but one that brings with it great reward, variety and excitement! You will need to be enthusiastic and patient in order to succeed in this role.
As for all our volunteer programmes in Ghana, it is possible to combine multiple projects during your time with us. If this is something you’d like to do, then please apply for the main programme you’d like to take part in but also outline in your online application the details of the other projects you’d like to do. Our local team will finalise the details of your placements during your in-country orientation.