Archive for June, 2008

Report On activities for January-May, the two-week program and child sponsorship

June 7, 2008


7th of June 2008

 

 

Written and prepared by Mike Owusu, Programme coordinator (inlawp5@yahoo.com), Sebastian Lindstrom (butchieenorsk@msn.com) , Claire Cummings (claire_c_86@hotmail.com) and Carly Moran (caz-85@hotmail.co.uk)

 

January

As most of the volunteers left for their various countries coupled with the Christmas break we did not do many activities. Fortunately two Canadian Volunteers namely Melissa Sharon and Clara Bray joined our team. Melissa was a third year student from Trent University Canada and she was a ‘Internship Volunteer”. One day orientation was organized for new students.

 

Based on her profile, Clara Blay was put in charge of sexual abuse cases and street children. In the second, she and the Executive Director, held a meeting with the teachers of the Adum Presby Junior Secondary School where support for three students who are street children was discussed. Eventually 3 year sponsorship deal for one of the street girls called Constance Osei was clinched. On the third week, we organized monthly socialization meeting. Three new HIV positive children were referred to us from the teaching hospital for social support.

 

 

 

A new school, Asawasi Methodist Junior Secondary School was recommended to us by the Methodist Education Unit to extend our outreach programs there. So our new Volunteers were attached to that school to that effect till the end of January.

  

 February

Unlike January, February was a busy month. We played host to a group of nursing students from Canada and also a group of students from Hong Kong

University. These students were here to study the HIV situation in Africa. The month also saw the arrival of three Volunteers from Britain namely Grace Crawford, Claire Cummings and Carly Moran (a past volunteer). After orientation the new volunteers were attached to Asawasi Presby Junior Secondary school where they made presentation on AIDS.

Together with the Canadian students, we organized outreach programmes to some villages along Lake Bosomtwe. We did educate them on breastfeeding and on child nutrition. We also organized workshop on AIDS at Opoku Ware girls Vocational Institution and some churches. On the third week we had our monthly socialization meeting with the children. During the last week, we received students from Hong Kong.

We also continue our HIV/AIDS education programme with the students from Canada at four junior Secondary Schools. The Canadian students also visited the rehabilitation centre for the malnourished children in Kumasi.

 

 

 

They interacted with the workers and the children there. They also donated food items (rice and sugar) to the centre. We meet three times with our board directors to prepare a programme scheduled and itinerary for the expecting Hong Kong students.

  

March

No sooner had the Canadian students left than the Hong Kong students arrived. The Hong Kong students and our volunteers were divided into four groups. One group did voluntary work at Suntreso Government Hospital. Another group worked at children rehabilitation centre. The other groups visited alternatively two leading organizations that deal with HIV/AIDS issues. The Hong Kong group attended our monthly socialization meeting where they played with the children and donated various items to all our clients.

 

 

At the middle of the month, The Staff and Volunteers of this organization joined the students from Hong Kong to pay working visit to Upper West Region. We were hosted by NGO called Child Support.

 

 

 

At Wa we paid a working visit to the children ward of the Regional Hospital, Hospice for AIDS sufferers and we also donated clothing, toys to the rehabilitation centre for the malnourished children. We also went to Hain which is about forty kilometers from Wa.

 

 

 

 

At Hain we visited and interacted with the workers and volunteers with a leading NGO called RAAP. It deals with providing Care and Support for vulnerable children and those who are HIV positive. On the last day of our stay in the region, the Regional Minister organized a big party in our honor.

 

 

 

The group also donated clothing, books, and toys to the St Joseph Orphanage which is the oldest in the country. To crown the visit of the students from Hong Kong, we organized a funfair for the children at Atonsu Cluster of Schools. At the funfair there was a sketch on AIDS and display of Ghanaian drumming and dance. There was a football match among all the three school. All the participants were giving 2 footballs each and trophies. 



April

Activities in the month of April 2008 the group’s socialization meeting at the Kumasi Cultural Centre, where the volunteers Corp of the organization did farewell to the children and their mothers.

 

The next line of activity was the promotion of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) among the youth out of school especially apprentice hair dressers.

This group who are predominately young ladies who are learning the art of hairdressing is one of the who are considered vulnerable in respect of HIV/AIDS infection.

 

However the basic objective of this programme is

  1. To continue to educate them on the basic information on HIV/AIDS/STI’s
  2. To help them to adopt best practice in terms of prevention
  3. To go for voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) to know their status
  4. To encourage as many in these category to go for VCT         

The first interaction was on Friday 11TH April 2008 at the Divine Raster Hair Do a group of Hairdressers at Atonsu Agogo they were taken through the basic information on HIV/AIDS /STI’s .After the graphical pictures of STI’s and HIV conditions were shown to them, To make the programme more interactive, they were asked to ask questions and also make contribution.

After became clearer in their minds and when the opportunity was given to make a choice of going to VCT, twelve apprentice who were there voluntary decide to go for the test .They were given a referral notes to be taken to Kumasi South Hospital VCT centre

As part of the programme the VCT centre of the hospital were brief about the programme where an amount of money was paid to  the centre to take care of the cost involved as a way of encouragement them to do the test

 

The programme continue on Tuesday 15th of April at another saloon called Amangoase continue since it was near a mango tree .Here too six (6) apprentice decided to go for the test they were also given referral notes to go to the VCT centre. The last place visited in respect of this activity was the Black Queens Beauty Saloon also at Atonsu Agogo.Here also about 17 apprentices accepted to for the test and were all given referral notes to the VCT centre on Wednesday 16th April 2008

 

A follow up was made to find out how many of them have really gone for the test and to our surprise almost all of them have with some who were not there at the time of our visit joining the follow ups was also used to share experience of having gone through the voluntary counseling and testing process. Most of them said they were scared immediately they stepped at the laboratory and also very apprehensive before they were finally told that they tested negative. As this a pilot project we think the number of the apprentice have for the test which stood at 28 as at the time we did the follow up is quite appreciable. However plans are under way to a scale up the programme.       

 

May

Activities for the month of May were basically follow ups and the monthly socialization meeting of the HIV children support group.

 

VCT follow ups

                          

After the Voluntary Counseling & Testing with the apprentice head dressers a follow up was also done at the Voluntary Testing and Counseling Centre at the Kumasi South Hospital for this programme. The purpose of the visit was to acquaint ourselves with the response from the health facility and to know how the programme is going.

 

The Light for Children team that did the visit was the Director and one of their volunteers from Holland called Michel. We were told by the counselor in-charge of the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centre(VCT) that they were highly impressed by the turn-out within a relatively short time and commended the programme.

 

Socialization Meeting (support group)

The monthly meeting of the HIV positive Care and Support group took place at the Centre for National Cultural Kumasi on the 17th May, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.

Most of the children and their care givers were there in their numbers. Also present were the Volunteer corp. of the organization.

 

Needy Child Support

A follow up was also made to this aspect of the sponsorship of LIFOF at the Methodist Education Unit. On the 22nd of May 2008. The Girl Child co-coordinator of the Unit and the LIFOC Director visited one of the children-Abigail.

The purpose was to have first hand information on the girl. We were also giving an update of her performance at school and how she was faring. She was then advised to learn hard and make the best use of the opportunity.   

 

 

Two weeks Voluntary work and tour program

 

Details of the program

 

The program is composed of two elements, namely; placement at orphanage, or day care centre, and selected tours.

A

  1. The volunteers will be picked at the airport by a staff and transferred to a hotel for over-night.
  2. On the second day after breakfast, the volunteer will be sent to host family. At the host family, the volunteer will be fed twice during the working days and trice at the week ends, or when the volunteer is not working. The volunteer will buy his or her own water.
  3. In the ensuring morning, the volunteer will go through orientation and registration at the office of Light for Children.  After the registration and orientation, the volunteer will i.e. introduced to his or her placement. The volunteer bears the transportation cost to and from placement centre ($20) a month. There are some bicycles that can be used to go to the placement. However at some of the placements the volunteer will not take bus. At the work places the volunteer may work with some foreign volunteers. 

B

1.      Two days before departure from Ghana, the volunteer will do a guided tour to Cape Coast. At Cape Coast( the first capital town of Ghana), the volunteer will visit the Kakum National Park to do the canopy walk, which is the only one in Africa; apart from South Africa. The volunteer will also visit ancient castles. These castles were used as as the residence for the European traders and admistrators and also served as final camp for slaveʼs en route USA. 

2.      After visiting the castles, the volunteer will be sent to Accra airport en-route to his /her home country.

3.      The volunteer does not pay for feeding accommodation, entry fees and transport in the course of his or her stay because it is covered by the programme fee.

4.      On the first Saturday, the volunteer will be sent to Kumasi where he/she will visit most interesting places like the wood craft village, the museum of the Ashanti King and the largest market in West Africa.

5.      Light for children provides care and support for 40 children who are HIV positive. The volunteer may have the opportunity to play with the children and interact will their care givers and also other foreign volunteers. They may join other volunteers to visit these children in their homes

6.      Moreover light for children organizes tour to the northern part of the country for volunteers in the city from different organizations monthly. So if the volunteer is lucky she may join the trip (this is not covered by the programme fee). The areas to be visited include the water fall, the elephantʼs park, crocodile pond and the slave camp. The trip takes four days and it may cost $100 including transport, feeding accommodation, entry fees.

 

 




Profiles of Children who need sponsorship

If you are interested in sponsoring one of these children, please don’t hesitate to contact Sebastian Lindstrom via email at butchieenorsk@msn.com

 

Hilda, Age 5.

 

 

 

 

Family History

Hilda and her younger brother Terrance are both HIV positive and are both currently on ART medication. They were discovered by Light for Children through Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. Hilda suffers from recurrent colds and coughs due to the virus.

Hilda’s mother is HIV positive. Her father refuses to be tested as at the moment he feels healthy and doesn’t believe that he has the virus.  Hilda’s father works as a farmer in Swame and does not always stay with the family. Hilda’s mother works as a secretary and has been working with the same company for the past five years. The family tries hard to make enough money to cover the cost of the ART medication although at times this proves difficult.

The children live with their mother and their grandparents, as well as their aunt and her two children in Adiembra, a suburb of Kumasi. Hilda’s grandmother is the only member of the family who knows her status due to the stigmatization that surrounds HIV.

 

 

 

About Hilda

Hilda is a beautiful, happy five-year-old girl. Hilda is shy when she first meets people but it does not take long for her warm, bubbly personality to come out. She works hard at school and performs very well; her reading in particular is excellent. Hilda enjoys the monthly socialization meetings and loves playing games with the other children; she is always full of fun and energy.

 

 

 

 

Terrance, Age 4.

 

Terrance and his older sister Hilda are both HIV positive and are both currently on ART medication. They were discovered by Light for Children through Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. Terrance suffers from recurrent colds and coughs due to the virus.

Terrance’s mother is HIV positive. His father refuses to be tested as at the moment he feels healthy and doesn’t believe that he has the virus. Terrance’s father works as a farmer in Swame and does not always stay with the family. Terrance’s mother works as a secretary and has been working with the same company for the past five years. The family tries hard to make enough money to cover the cost of the ART medication although at times this proves difficult.

The children live with their mother and their grandparents, as well as their aunt and her two children in Adiembra, a suburb of Kumasi. Terrance’s grandmother is the only member of the family who knows his status due to the stigmatization that surrounds HIV.

 

 

About Terrance

Terrance is a shy little boy with a big character; he loves to play with his older sister Hilda and his cousin Henry. He is a typical three-year-old boy and is full of energy; however his recurrent colds and cough cause him to tire quickly during play.

Terrance is currently at kinder garden, which he enjoys despite finding it difficult to concentrate. Terrance enjoys the monthly socialization meetings and is a very popular member of the group. He is often seen being paraded around on volunteer’s shoulders!

 

 

 Christian, Age 5.

Christiana tested positive for HIV in July 2007, she was tested after her older sister became ill and sadly died. Christiana suffers from recurrent colds and a runny nose as well as coughs and regular headaches.

 

Christiana’s mother unknowingly contracted HIV from her first husband and passed it on to her second husband, Christiana’s father, without realizing. Christiana then contracted the virus through childbirth yet this wasn’t discovered until after the death of her older sister.

 

 

 

Christiana’s father runs his own mechanic shop and works very hard to provide for the family. Christiana’s mother, Kate, is currently not working but is trying to save up to start her own business. This is particularly difficult due to the strain of providing ART and constant care for herself and Christiana. The family rents a house in Maakro, Kumasi where they have lived for two years.

 

 

About Christiana

Christiana is a very playful, giggly little girl. She loves to laugh and will capture your heart when she smiles. She is full of energy and loves to play.

Christiana enjoys school but she is currently struggling with her lessons. Her father normally practices English with her but due to periods of absence she is beginning to fall behind in class. Currently volunteers are visiting Christiana to help her with her English and reading skills.

 

Christiana loves the socialization meetings and playing with the foreign volunteers. She is full of mischief and runs rings around everyone at the meeting. She is never still and is always running around looking for more fun and adventure

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