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02.02.2009 Press Release

Volunteers support visionary school for the blind

By Kirsty Osei-Bempong
Volunteers support visionary school for the blind

The two children racing around the field – dribbling and tackling whilst playing football, look like any other children in any other school. But, they are not ordinary and this is not an ordinary school.

These boys are students at the Akropong School for the Blind in the eastern region of Ghana. Yaw was born blind and Kwamina lost his sight at age five as a result of glaucoma. With the help of the teachers and the curriculum in this very special school, these visually impaired students are closer to a normal life.

Students ranging in age from four to 45 years, and with varying degrees of visual impairment attend the boarding school in Akropong. Theirs is a success story that started in 1945 when a Scottish tutor and the elders of local Methodist and Presbyterian churches founded the school with just three children. Over 60 years later, and the school now caters for almost 400 students and is one of only two schools of its kind in the country.

According to David Takyi, a lead volunteer on the project and board member at the school, the institution offers students the educational and life skills to compete on an equal footing with their sighted peers. The school has nurtured talents in students that have propelled them into important public sector positions. “One student who left the school in 1964, went on to become an interpreter for the Denmark Criminal Police,” says David. “And in November 2008, Peter Ofori Amanfo a JSS3 student at the school beat 30 sighted students to become the winner of a national Coca Cola essay competition. He is now preparing to enter the senior high school.”

The school continues to derive strong support from its association with United Way Ghana (UWG) and its participation in UWG's annual Day of Caring event. For three consecutive years, the institution has welcomed volunteers who have painted the school's administrative block, upgraded mosquito nets in the dormitories, and weeded the school grounds.

This year, with financial and voluntary support coming from Newmont Ghana Gold, the school is planning to involve volunteers in the construction of a visitor's summer hut and in painting the girl's dormitory and the dining hall. Help is also required to expand the school's limited library facilities, supply the school with specific Braille material, musical instruments and furniture.

Meanwhile, Newmont Ghana Gold also hopes to arrange for a doctor to be part of the volunteer team to offer the children basic medical screening. And Godwin Adoyi, a visually impaired employee at Newmont, will be sharing his experiences to students.

“Our volunteers love to get involved in Day of Caring because it encourages unity and teamwork.” “It also raises the profile of the school. We want to show those who don't know that despite visual impairment, these children are capable of doing near enough anything that a sighted person can.”
Yaw Antwi-Dadzie
UWG Day of Caring 2009 is a one-day volunteer event that directs the spirit of love and compassion inherent in the St. Valentine's Day tradition towards worthwhile community service. The national event offers a chance to introduce the needs of Ghana's communities to a wider public audience.

“Through this event we hope to encourage businesses to exercise their corporate social responsibility and play an active role in helping these disenfranchised communities become more self-sufficient,” said Ms. Karen Shormeh Sai, UWG's Executive Director.

UWG is a unique not-for-profit organisation that seeks to create a society where each community is galvanised to identify and respond to the needs of its own. UWG plays a leadership role in bringing together stakeholders (individuals, local businesses, non-governmental organisations, institutions and government) to address the needs of the vulnerable and the underprivileged.

Why not consider joining the likes of Newmont Ghana Gold, Stanbic Ghana, UT Financial Services, Allure Ghana, and Star Assurance in supporting the following projects:

1. Help Age Ghana Day Centre and Psychiatric Hospital – Osu, Greater Accra
2. Mother Teresa School for Girls – Senya Beraku, Central Region
3. Manya Krobo Queen Mothers' Association – Krobo Odumase, Eastern Region
4. Country-Side Orphanage – Bawjiase, Central Region
5. Madina Social Welfare Training Centre – Madina, Greater Accra
6. Zongo Education Support Project – Nima, Greater Accra
7. Akropong School for the Blind – Akropong, Eastern Region

Let's work together to put a smile on someone's face! Call us on 233 24 481 2141/ 233 21 782 509 if you wish to be a part of UWG Day of Caring 2009 or simply want to donate.

a student receives a little help from a journalist and      his dictaphone while he commentates live on a school football      match

boys from akropong school for the blind playing      football

students from the akropong school during a band      performance