The Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has produced and presented copies of the first ever braille version of Ghana’s Child and Family Welfare Policy (2015) to the Akropong School for the Blind on Tuesday, April 9th 2019.
Consistent with the overriding objective of the “Access to Justice for Youth and Persons with Disability in Ghana” Project and with the Sustainable Development Goal 16, the presentation seeks to promote inclusive societies for sustainable development, advance access to justice for all and support the building of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
After presenting copies of the braille version of Ghana’s Child and Family Welfare Policy (2015) to Management, Student leadership and the Library on behalf of YBF and OSIWA, Mr. Seth Oteng, the Executive Director of YBF, underscored the relevance of the project’s theory of change.
He explained that making the tenets of this important Policy accessible in braille version will increase their awareness on the issues; they shall be empowered through the acquired knowledge to demand their rights and be responsible citizens.
While commending OSIWA for funding the project that embraces their capacity building in decision making processes and sensitization on Ghana’s Child and Family Welfare Policy (2015), and production of the PUZZLED TV Series to educate the public, Mr. Oteng called on corporate bodies to, in their own ways, also identify and support the institutional needs of this and other similar institutions.
He emphasized that the collective responsibility to build an equitable, just and inclusive society cannot be postponed.
Ms. Cornelia Opoku Gyemfi, the “Access to Justice for Youth and Persons with Disability in Ghana” Project Assistant at YBF, highlighted the urgent need to link policies to practice, particularly, when marginalized groups (youth and persons with disability) are concerned.
Bridging such gaps, she hinted, is the thrust of YBF’s work.
Receiving the presentation on behalf of the school management, Mr. Simon Adedeme, lauded YBF and OSIWA for helping with one of their challenges; having accessible formats of national policy documents in such as braille.
He further bemoaned how most of the text books used by and in teaching the students are printed and as a result mounted a lot of pressure on management in translating them into braille.
“We have limited reading materials and the ones we have are not in braille, hence retarding normal leaning process for us and the students go through the normal education system to compete with privileged students.
"It is therefore welcoming to Management that YBF will continuously consider the importance of making accessible to the students such important policy documents. This will contribute to their sense of belonging and also help in their development".
Excited at receiving their copies of the braille version, Miss. Esther Duoduo, the Girls Prefect of the School and Master Lord Sarkodie, the Boys Prefect, took turns to appreciate the document and read portions to their colleagues.
They equally assured YBF of studying the Policy Document and the special edition of Questions and Answer to help them lead the students better and also encouraging them to read at the library.
The Prefects collaborated on the previous request by Mr. Adedeme for more support in terms of making their library comfortable and stocked with innovative and well equipped reading materials.
In a special interview with Master Sarkodie, he expressed regret at how some parents easily give up on their visually impaired children and charged parents not to lose faith but continue to give their support towards their children’s development.
He concluded by stating that; “In these young one rest great potential and bright futures.”
Visiting from Canada, Reverend Dr George Ansah and Pastor Mrs Harriet Ansah, both parents and social workers drawn from the academia, appreciated YBF for giving information to improve lives through the Policy Document and the special edition of Questions and Answer.
“We are impressed by everything seen and it has become very clear to us through today’s engagement that the students’ minds and capabilities are still live and strong and parents should believe as well as support them,” they said.
Guest were treated to live band music performance by the school band.
Established in 1945, the Akropong School for the Blind is the oldest and leading visually impaired school in the Sub-Sahara.
Starting-off with only four students, the school can now boost of almost 400 students receiving tuition.
With classes classified into Kindergarten, Basic School and Junior High School, there is also a Vocational Department with focus on music and craft; that is basketry, pomade as well as soap making.
YBF is a youth focused NGO that has the primary goal of bridging gaps for positive youth development.
It is accredited with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Special Consultative Status.