Monday, 29 February 2016

Seven Weeks In

We are just over half way through our project, I have been working on sensitisations throughout and feel I have learnt a lot going to the different schools to further their knowledge on disability. The schools over here are quite different compared to home as it seems the students are much more eager to learn. We are mainly doing P6 classes in JHS. I imagined one class being the same age but have found out the age range varies from 11 year olds up to 18. I asked my counterpart who I am living with why it was like this and she explained it depends if you have money to send your child to school, so some parents send their children later than others which means the age range is varied. I am definitely used to the word ‘salaminga’ now which means white person, walking through the schools the children get so excited to see someone of a different colour and all follow me as I’m walking around shouting ‘SALAMINGA HELLO’.  All of the teachers at each school were very helpful with giving us time to run a sensitisation for the students, if you asked a school back in the UK to do this it would be very difficult to even get a chance to sit and discuss with the head teacher to try and see if you could run a sensitisation for the class. This has been so useful because it means we are able to cover more schools than planned because it is easy to get time in each of the schools.

This week we went to visit Yumba special school, this school of for persons with mental disabilities, this was very different compared to the other schools I visited as they don’t teach them maths English, etc they have vocational classes for them. The students all seemed so happy where they were and as we arrived ran up to greet us. It was the warmest welcome of all the schools. Whilst talking to the teachers of Yumba School you could see how much they loved their job and enjoyed helping the students to the best of their ability. One of the teachers was explaining the reason she studied was specifically to help children with disabilities learn, but she felt some of the parents don’t pay enough attention when it comes to what their child is learning in school and just focus on their other children at public schools, this was quite upsetting as it shows there is still stigma even when it comes to parents and their own children. We also found out a lot of people in Tamale still don’t know Yumba school it there so won’t send their children with mental disabilities to school.

This experience has definitely showed me that in the future I want to continue teaching and I have learnt so much more than I already knew on disability that when I return to the UK I want to carry on furthering my knowledge on disability and helping persons with disability. I came to the programme with a small understanding on what I would be doing out here but since I have arrived I have loved every second of the work and wouldn’t change it for the world. The work we have already achieved as a group has made an impact on Tamale regarding their knowledge on disability and I know in the future it will continue and I am glad I was given the chance to help with this project.

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