Light for Children January report

Written by: Melissa Russell, Volunteer (melissarussell@trentu.ca)

First and foremost, we would like to wish all of our Light for Children supporters a happy new year. May the new year bring you joy and peace. Light for Children has gotten off to a great start this January. Although our previous stock of volunteers have gone home. Two new Canadians have come to join our team. Melissa Russell, an International Development student from Trent University in Ontario will be working with Light for Children for the next three months, volunteering and doing research on HIV/AIDS in the Kumase area. In addition, Ciara Bray has come all the way from Sasketchewan for a 10 weeks stay and has been having a blast working with all of the children and also organizaing impromtu football games with the children in their area. Surely, these two will be able to contriubte much to the organization during their stay.

 

This month we have been busing, tracing all over Adum trying to get 2008 off to a strong start. In the third week of January we had our first socialization meeting of the year and we had quite a great turnout. Almost all of our families were waiting for us when we arrived and a whole whack of student volunteers came along to help out just for the day. Ciara and I got down to buisness, checking the health status of the children and we are happy to report that almost all the children have had a steady improvement in their health maintainence even over the rush of the Chirstmas Season.

It was great for us to finally meet the children we had heard so much about and too see how well they have been doing thanks to the Light for Children programme. After the formal stuff, the volunteers took the children down to the playing field where we began a steady session of fun and active games while Yaw remained behind, discussing new and important information with the parents. It was certainly challenging trying to have the rules to freeze tag, octopus and duck, goose explained in twi, but the children understood and we had an awesome time! After many exhausting rounds, we re-joined the parents for a really nice lunch, together in the park. It really was a great experience to see the strength of this support groups and to see everyone interacting well and getting along.

The importance of these monthly meetings is soo evident when you are a part of them. The Stigma and discrimination faced by peoples with HIV/AIDs in Ghana is extremely isolating and even humilating. Support groups, like the one set up by Light for Children, creates a community-of parents, children, community figures and foreign volunteers, helping to give people back their sense of belonging and dignity while also providing them with practical tools to stay healthy, not only phyisically, but also mentally and emotionally as well.

The meeting finished with the families recieving their medicines, the ARTS and blood boosters and any remaining fund required for this school term. I think everyone left with a strong sense of satisifaction with all that had been accomplished that day.

In other news our small team has been busy behind the scenes. We have currently finished a funding proposal for the Ghana Aids Commission so that we can keep both our programs running for the children, and to begin new interventions this year in the second cycle institutions and the apprenticeship schools. We want to encourage people to go to the the clincs in Kumasi to find out about their HIV status. It is our belief that knowing if you are positive or negative empowers you to protect yourselves as well as others. In addition, Ciara and Melissa have started working on a new presentation for the schools which will be based around the topic of sexual assult and rape. The overall purpose will be to empower the children in responsible decision making, self-ownership and the importance of listening to our feeling of what is right for us and what is wrong.

The presentation will be full of fun and informative activities that should really help to get the point accross. We plan to present this new deal to the Methodist Unit in the next month or so and hopefully do the premier presentation soon.

We have also been continuing our work with one of the vulnerable children we discovered before Christmas. Although we have found her suitable accomidation, it has been difficult to convince her to want to leave her home, despite the poor and even dangerous conditions found there. In the next month, we will continue to try to investigate the most effective way to help this girl and getting her into a position suitable for the the healthy development of a beautiful, young girl, that she is.

Next month will continue to be busy for Ciara and I. We will be starting our Journey of Hope Presentations at the Aswansi Methodist School, first with the Junior secondary students and then the primary as well. Hopefully, we will also be able to start home visists to the childrens homes to be able to provide our supporters with updates on their lives.

We ask for your continued love, feedback and support. It is our network of care, which extends beyond Ghan, that makes us so effective for the children and that network, we consider so vital, is nothing without people like you!

Until Next Month, Take care!

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One Response to “Light for Children January report”

  1. Tarek Clamp Says:

    Hey! Glad to hear that you and everyone at LFC are making a difference in Ghana. I miss Kumasi and all it had to offer, you’ll realize how much it had to offer once you leave.
    -TC-

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