Friday, 16 May 2014

From Glasgow to Zabzugu

Apologies for our radio silence over the last couple of weeks – it has certainly been a busy time for the team at the Resource Centre, meeting an array of interesting characters who share our aim of improving disability rights in the Northern Region!

Yakoo shows off the skills that will hopefully get him to Glasgow
The Resource Centre is very keen to play a part in establishing an active disability sports scene in Tamale, and we met with two wheelchair athletes to find out a little more about the current problems and the best ways that we can help. Yakoo and Isha are currently training hard for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with their final national trials to be held in June. Our meeting highlighted the vast potential of para-athletes in the Northern Region, however a lot of work needs to be done before we can make full use of the talent and enthusiasm that clearly exist. Discussion focused on the problems that the disability sports teams currently face with their equipment and facilities. Our team left feeling motivated to really push on with our work to secure the funding that will allow us to improve the facilities available to the disabled sports community in Tamale, with the long term aim of improving participation levels.

Jack fails in his attempts to teach Ghanaian students how to touch their right ear
This week saw us make a three hour trip east of Tamale, to a small town called Zabzugu near the Togo border where we stayed for two days. A combination of ‘logistical problems’ and a Ghanaian attitude to timekeeping saw us leave Tamale a punctual 19 hours after our arranged departure time. Despite the delay and a journey along a road that would not be out of place on a lunar landscape, what was waiting for us in Zabzugu made the trip fully worth it. We were kindly hosted by Alhaji, creator of the ABM Foundation which has set up a school to ensure that children with disabilities in the town have access to an education. Many of the pupils were spending their days wandering the streets or hidden away in their homes prior to the school being established but thanks to Alhaji’s fantastic work, they now have a place where they can go to learn, make friends and have fun. And possibly most importantly, a place where they can laugh at three sweaty westerners dancing awkwardly in the midday heat.

A great turnout for the screening of Emmanuel's Gift at the ABM Foundation school. As you can see, Chris' accompanying interpretive dance went down a storm
Our trip was spent successfully delivering our sensitisation activities to the community of Zabzugu. Our now complete Disability Awareness presentation was debuted to a group of 90 students from the town’s Junior High School, educating them on various disabilities and their causes in what seemed to be a fun and interesting learning experience. We also organised two screenings of the film Emmanuel’s Gift while we were in the town, getting our message out to as many people as possible that disability does not mean inability. The second screening was followed by short speeches from some of the most important figures in the Zabzugu community, including a Headmaster, a doctor and Alhaji himself. We are hopeful that the reinforcement of our message by such well-respected individuals will help set the ball rolling in changing community attitudes and empowering those people living with disabilities in the area.

In other news, the projector from our crowd-funding campaign has now arrived safely in Tamale. Thank you to all who supported us! We are really looking forward to getting out to more schools over the coming weeks.

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