Archive for the ‘Update’ Category

Light for Children August Activity Report

September 11, 2012

The month of August saw the departure of two volunteers, Cecilia Skoglund, a Swedish volunteer and Marie Lorans, Danish volunteer who came to have their internship with Light for Children.

The month of August also saw the monthly socialization meeting which was organized on the 25th of August, 2012 at the Cultural Centre. The socialization brought together our caregivers and HIV kids where we interacted with each other and even shared food together and had a nice time.

Also, donations were made to some of the children and the caregivers. Abigail Owusu, received donation from Inner Wheel, from Australia through Catherine Charles, a former volunteer. She was so happy and showed her appreciation by thanking Light for Children for the kind gesture.

Also, Gideon Asamoah and Isaac Boahen received donations from Rhianydd Griffith from the United Kingdom who is also a former volunteer.

Donations were also made to Maria Amoakohene who lost her daughter last year as a start-up capital for her business.

Abigail Owusu receiving her donation from the Executive Director of LIFOC- Yaw Otchere Baffour.

Gideon Asamoah and Isaac Boahen, the two orphans receiving their donation from the Director as their grandmother looks on.

Maria Amoakohene receiving her donation from the Executive Director of LIFOC.

 

 

 

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Open Space with…

June 21, 2010

Whilst in Wa, the Hong Kong University students along with Sebastian, Philippa, and Tina were fortunate enough to sit and talk with Emmanuel Volsuuri, who has been working with NGOs in Ghana for a number of years. This was a great example of information sharing between Light for Children and Emmanuel, who is a wonderful source of local information, offering great insight to the role, impact, struggles, and successes of NGOs in Ghana, and more specifically the Northern Region.

The issue of microfinance was first on the agenda. Emmanuel took us through the trials and tribulations of working in this field: how initial loans directly given to people in rural Upper West were perceived as gifts, with repayments almost non-existent, after years of aid and charity work forming a handout mentality amongst the people. They were able to break the cycle with a system tried and tested in Senegal. Here is a brief rundown of how the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) works.

With emergency capital available from the NGO, the community itself pooled its money and loaned it to each other.  Gender specific groups formed within each village, meeting weekly to air ideas, issues and find group-led solutions. (Grouping by gender tended to prevent male domination in meetings, and avoid tensions between husband and wife when the time came to go home!). With an NGO representative present, each member of the group contributed money, literally placing it into a box with three different compartments. Each compartment had its own key, and the three keys were given to three different people, while one person took charge of the box each week.

When someone wished to take a loan, he or she would present a plan, and the group would decide whether or not loan the group’s money, and how much interest would be added. A loan of 10 Ghana cedi may be repaid with interest of 1 Ghana cedi after three months, for example.  At the year’s end, all interest would be divided amongst the group members. Any money borrowed from the NGO would be repaid at this point without interest.

This microfinance method empowered and involved the community, and rate of repayment was far higher because the responsibility was divided equally amongst group members.

This was a practice that had been passed from Plan International’s Senegal branch, through Plan Ghana branch and to RAAP (Rural Aid Action Programme).  Unfortunately, one of the issues Emmanuel also brought forth was the often unwillingness of organizations to share successful practices out of fear that other NGOs would ‘steal their funding’ – or unhealthy competition that was too common among some NGOs. When asked how many people working for local NGOs chose their work because of their passion to help others versus the financial gain, he said he thought maybe 3% worked because of their passion.  When asked about foreign NGOs, he ventured 0.5%.

While these figures may be a bit extreme his point was that way the funds an NGO raise are distributed is often far from ideal. He cited a local NGO director who used his NGO’s money to fund his own political campaign and a foreign NGO who held an overly lavish holiday party that included copious amounts of food, Champagne, wine, and many invited guests.

Overall the image is positive, with empowerment and organic growth being the standout factors that are causing passion to win over profit. Keep up the good work and we hope to hear much more from you soon!

Light for Children is hoping to host Emmanuel in Kumasi soon for a knowledge sharing forum and further collaboration between our NGOs and regions of Ghana. Many thanks to him for sharing his time and valuable experience in our Open Space discussion.

To Accra and beyond!

June 21, 2010

The Light for Children interns ended their week at Lake Bosomtwi for a rest and play – and a march back to the main road in the midday sun. All good exercise!

On Monday, Sebastian and Philippa left the CSAP interns behind to travel to Accra for a Global Giving www.globalgiving.org meeting Tuesday morning. A great example of a workshop reaching out to partners in the developing world who are struggling to raise funds in remote areas of Ghana. Everyone came away with something useful from the social media networking introduction, whether they were a permanent member of the fund raising platform like Light for Children, or just stepping into the online community like many others.

In order to become a permanent member of Global Giving, one project must raise US$4000 in four weeks. Light for Children achieved this with its Child Sexual Abuse Prevention programme, currently in effect thanks to the generous donations. However, many NGOs in the developing world struggle to raise funds online as their networks may not be large enough to mobilise such funds quickly. We heard from NGOs requesting that conditions be relaxed, time extended and the money-limit lessened. Global Giving is active in 85 countries and made it clear that no exceptions could be made.

Cooperation was also an issue of contention. Some NGOs voiced their fears concerning collaboration and how other NGOs might steal their volunteers, grants or funds. The competitive element is difficult to overcome. Global Giving simply pointed out that even in the banking world, where profit is king, if one company does well it pulls the others up with it. This is truer still in the development world, where the final aim is to help the communities you do work in. Counter intuitive as it may sound sharing resources brings even more to the table. It is a Buddhist idea that the more you give, the more you will receive, and this is especially true with funding from foundations. Cooperation breeds transparency, accountability, shared resources and growth – no wonder people are more likely to grant you funding if you are open to collaboration.

Look out for our next Global Giving project, coming soon to a computer screen near you!

Connected with partner organisation JICA, who have recently become New JICA, merging the aid and cooperation sections (like Peace Corps and US AID combined) to make them the largest aid organisation in the world with 97 overseas offices working in 150 countries. Sebastian, Philippa and Eric (freshly arrived from Sweden to volunteer) met with Mr Fukoi, Yuko Enomoto and Seiko Tomizawa (from the Japanese embassy) for a dynamic session, with more meetings to follow! JICA’s new office is looking great – as is the shop with all its covetable Ghanaian handicrafts.

extended family in Accra

A million thanks to John and Holli who looked after everyone in Accra. Holli contributed writing to Light for Children’s Obroni Wo Ko He ? book and continues to write her excellent blog about Ghana and life in Africa at http://hollisramblings.blogspot.com/. We all thoroughly enjoyed sharing past experiences and future plans with experts on Africa 😉 Hoping to see you again very soon!!!

Out on their own, the HKU interns did sterling work on the CSAP programme, reaching out to hundreds more students over the week. Now in Wa over the weekend, the interns are seeing a new region of Ghana, and visiting partner NGOs doing similar work in rural condition. This weekend is all about sharing, best practice and cooperation. We Go Do in WA.

Keeping it real with BUV and CSA

June 15, 2010

Week started with a BOOM. Six interns, all eager to learn the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention programme and push it out to more and more schools in the Kumasi area. Initiation into Ghanaian culture for the Hong Kong students with a Saturday funeral (always a party occasion in Ghana) and a four-and-a-half hour church session – even more singing, dancing and Twi (local language).

Light for Children met with BUV (Basic Utility Vehicle) Ghana http://www.buvghana.com/ a great new initiative for social business in Ghana. Fredrik, Chris and David joined some of the team to discuss how they could move forward with their project:

The Basic Utility Vehicle, BUV is a vehicle for change. This affordable, low-maintenance vehicle meets the challenging rural transport requirements of developing nations, creates economically sustainable transportation, lowers transport costs, stimulates economic activity, and increases rural access to social services.

This week we found a great blog on NGO work and life in general in Africa. Check it out! http://www.ngonewsafrica.org/

Jachie Disabled Craft Centre http://jachiedisabledcentre.org/ hosted us once again as guests for the inauguration of the Federation of the Disabled and Gender Committee. This brought together representatives from blind, deaf, physically disabled and gender rights associations in an effort to combine forces and grow in strength. In typical Ghanaian fashion there was lots of dancing, laughter and adherence to GMT (Ghana Maybe Time)!  Unity brings strength.

Six interns from Hong Kong University reached out to 188 pupils in their first Child Sexual Abuse Prevention (CSA) workshops. Excellent work all of you – especially David, wielding his faux penis to the great amusement of all!

Thanks also to JICA volunteer Misake for her four hours of dedicated Twi teaching. We are all now well equipped to deal with marriage proposals (Meho kunu), to tell Sebastian he is talking too much (Wope kasa dodo) and too loudly (Oyeh dede) and finally, to answer the eternal question OBRONI Wo Ko HE? (Foreigner, where are you going? …….Me ko fiya (I’m going home). Big thanks to Ian Kwaku Utley who wrote our Twi Book and guide to Ghanaian culture: http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781857334746

MEDASE PA PA PA PA!

Light for Children December 09′ Report

February 17, 2010

17th of February 2010

Light for Children December 09′ Report

An Amazing year! A big thanks to all volunteers from around the world who support Light for Children on the ground and in your home countries. You guys make things move forward!


ACTIVITY REPORT

1/12/09

World AIDS Day celebration at Sawua in collaboration with 3 volunteers of SANN at Sawua. There was HIV Journey of Hope presentation at Sawua JHS and a durbar and free Voluntary Counseling and Testing for the community. About 70 people took advantage of the opportunity.

1/12/09A participant at the Voluntary counseling and Testing room

Light for Children participated in the launch of the Adolescent Sexual Health in West Africa Report in Accra at the British Council Hall by Plan Ghana.

8/12/09

Celebration of Ashanti Regional AIDS Day at Bekwai Adankranya. Light for Children mounted a stand and displayed pictures of its activities. Others were beads (bracelets) made by its Care and Support group with technical assistance by Misaki Asari a JICA volunteer with the organization.

In attendance were Ashanti regional Minister, the Bekwai Municipal Chief Executive, the regional HIV/AIDS co-ordinator and other dignitaries and chiefs. The organization distributed the HIV/AIDS red ribbon to the dignitaries and others at the durbar grounds.

11/12/09

A quiz competition was organized by Gabby a volunteer of LIFOC who works at Mampong Nsuta. It involved 5 junior High Schools at Nsuta. LIFOC supported the programme and prizes ranging from a computer with accessories, a set of football jerseys, a volleyball and 1 football and other consolation prizes. The District Education and District Assembly supported the programme.

14/12/09

There was a presentation of the MAM project activities at the Miklin Hotel. The MAM team from GSMF and Fizer International were present as well as other implementing partners.

17/12/09

Workshop on Early Childhood Development by Commission on Children Ashanti Region for all District Chief Executives and NGOs.

19/12/09

LIFOC monthly socialization was organized as part of its Care and Support programme at the Kumasi National Cultural Centre.

22/12/09

Eleven volunteers arrived from Sweden to volunteer for LIFOC.

Light for Children October 09′ Report

February 17, 2010

5th of December 2009

Light for Children October 09’ Report

Please support our new Child sexual abuse prevention Program!

We need your help; please make a small donation with your VISA card to our new project that will empower 4000 young students to fight sexual abuse. Please go to;

http://www.globalgiving.com/projects/lightforchildren/

Sports, Infrastructure and Tourism – Ghana’s plans to boost its economy

Written by Rhianydd Griffith, LIFOC volunteer

In the wave of publicity surrounding Ghana’s recent win of the Fifa World U-20 Championships, the country is currently hoping to use the sports industry to kick-start its economy.  Ghana is looking to bid for the rights to host the 2015 All-Africa games, knowing that it will cover 22 disciplines.  If it succeeds, it hopes to develop modern infrastructure for sports such as basketball, volleyball, track and field, swimming and cycling.

After South Africa in won the bid for the 2010 football world cup, other countries in the continent who were looking to international sports events as a way of boosting their economies and improving their infrastructure, were given renewed hope. With the football world cup 2014 being held in Brazil, and the 2016 Olympics being staged in Rio, it is also clear that the current trend in international sport leans towards emerging markets.

Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo was recently appointed Ghana’s minister of youth and sports.  His policies are a mix of encouraging grass-roots sport, opening new facilities and hosting major events.  He is a former boxer and believes passionately in the transformational power of sport.  Speaking to the BBC at a Global Sports Industry forum, he says “What is important to us, as a people, is the opportunity to use the power of sport to deliver lasting economic, social and health benefits to our citizenry.”   Mr Pelpuo wants to use sport not only for economic and business reasons, but also for talent identification, skills development, social cohesion and fighting poverty.

Ghanaian sports people – such as Chelsea footballer Michael Essien – are being drafted in as mentors to the country’s youth.  Michael Essien grew up in Ghana’s capital, Accra, where he played for his local club Liberty Professionals.  He has revisited the country with charity Right to Play since his move to London.

“We still have to impress on the rest of the world that Africa is safe and that business and investment opportunities should be followed up,” says Mr Pelpuo. “One of the great things about sport is that we can use it to sell Ghana overseas, and also use it as a driving force to do business with other countries.”  Fingers crossed for the 2015 bid!

OCTOBER ACTIVITIES

New Arrivals

On 5 October 2009 Emma Bressel arrived from Sweden to begin a 2 week volunteer service at the Missionaries of Charity Babies home in Kumasi. On 7 October two more volunteers from Sweden, Issabella Wesslan and Elin Bildt also arrived to work at the Mampong Babies Home.

An orientation session was held for new volunteers Tacey and Marinda on 14 October on programmes and projects of LIFOC at the office. The girls are from Australia and the United States respectively.

Socialization Meeting

The monthly socialization of the Care and Support Activity took place at the National Cultural Centre.

Projects

On 5 October volunteer Hannah Lehleiter from Germany, in the company of Mike LIFOC’s co-ordinator, presented food items to the Dwenase Rehabilitation Centre for the disabled. An HIV/AIDS out-reach educational programme was held on 21 October with the students of the National Vocational Training Institute (N.V.T.I) in Kumasi. They were taken through the Journey of Hope Concept, condom demonstration and distribution.

The 24 October saw Light for Children staff accompany the Mobilize Against Malaria volunteers on their out-reach programme in a suburb of the project target area. Like last month, a review meeting was held on 30 October with the volunteers of MAM project at the LIFOC office.

Light for Children August/September 09′ Report

February 17, 2010

November 19, 2009
Light for Children August and September 09’ Report
Written by Rhianydd Griffith, LIFOC volunteer (rhi@hotmail.com)

Football: Ten Man Ghana Wins the Under-20 World Cup with dramatic penalty shoot out
victory over Brazil.

Ghana’s under 20 team, the Black Sattelites, has become the first ever African team to win the Under-20 World Cup. The exhilarating final took place on 16 October in Cairo, Egypt. Ghana, who had Daniel Addo sent off in the first half, produced a fabulous defensive display to deny the Brazillians. The final finished 0-0 after extra-time and both sides had missed two penalties out of the first five to add to the tension in the stadium by sending the game to sudden death. However, Brazil were made to pay when Alex Teixeira’s weak shot was saved and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu scored the winner for Ghana. Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh said it meant “everything” to see his side become the first African team to win the under-20 World Cup. Tetteh said: “It’s something people have to speak about, it’s everything.”

The coach claimed that when the shoot-out was on, he knew his side were going to take the title, even though they initially went behind. “We were well composed and when it went to penalty kicks we were determined because we have come from far, and we were well motivated to win.”

Ghanaians clad in the national colors of red, gold and green celebrated long into the night on Friday as excitement over the team’s victory brought the West African nation to a standstill. Earlier, many football fans had converged in churches hours before the game to
pray for divine intervention.

Ghana’s squad for next year’s World Cup in South Africa will likely include the cream of the adult team, including Chelsea player Michael Essien, as well as some of the brilliant youngsters who sparkled this month in Egypt. The team will no doubt carry both Ghanaian and African expectations on their shoulders as they bid to improve on the quarterfinal places achieved by African countries
Cameroon and Senegal in 1990 and 2002.

August and September Activities for Light for Children

New Arrivals
The 2 and 5 August saw Hong Kong University students Luo Ruoyun, Tam Wing Yin Joanne and Elaine Lee arrive to begin their stay with Light for Children.

On 24 August volunteer Hannah Lehleiter from Germany arrived to stay with the Opoku-Appiah family in Abusi Akuruwa. This is Hannah’s second trip to Ghana, and she is already proficient in the local language and culture. Hannnah’s host family has said she is “just like a Ghanaian” due to her level of integration and assistance around the home! On 1 September Light for Children welcomed Lisa Scarizzi, a Canadian volunteer, who will work at the Mampong Babies Home for 3 months. Annika Nottberg from Sweden joined Lisa at Mampong on 7 September for a 3 week placement.

On 22 September two volunteers from Australia -Tacey Rychter and Gabrielle Maymon also arrived to begin 3 month placements at the Missionaries of Charity orphanage and Catholic Junior Secondary School in Nsuta respectively.

Mobilise Against Malaria (MAM) Project
A training session for volunteers on the MAM Project was held on 6 August. At the session, volunteers were educated on how to sensitize members of their various communities to the need to seek early and prompt treatment when any symptoms or signs of malaria are recognized. Volunteers were trained on how to present their messages to community members through the medium of role play.

On 28 August the MAM community volunteers met at the Light for Children office for a monthly review and submission of their reports.

On 24 September the MAM Project activities continued through the arrangement of Community Radio Centre jingles and talk shows at 3 radio centres. The message that people should seek prompt treatment for malaria was strongly promoted. The theme continued at 2 more centres on 26th.

The MAM project monthly review meeting took place on 30 September at the LIFOC office.

Socialization Meetings
Light for Children’s monthly socialization meetings were held on 15 August and 20 September at the National Cultural Centre. Various volunteers including Mareike and Misaki Asari were present. Some clients helped Misaki Asari (JICA volunteer) to make some beads.

Light for Children September Update

October 4, 2008

4th of October 2008

Light for Children September Report

Written by Catherine Charles, LIFOC volunteer (cathcharles05@hotmail.com), and prepared by Sebastian Lindstrom (butchieenorsk@msn.com)

Urgent call to Action

We have an urgent need for new sponsors coming into the new sponsorship year in October. Starting off the year we have dropped from 7 sponsors to only 4 with some of the old sponsors not renewing this year and 2 new sponsors being Edmond Leung from Hong Kong and Catherine Charles from Australia. Any past volunteers or people wishing to donate and help out are encouraged to participate. If you are wanting further information or ideas on fundraising activities please contact us ASAP on lightforchildren@yahoo.com

There are many different ways you can support Light for Children.  Please join our facebook cause named ‘ Save the AIDS orphans of Ghana’.  Just click this link (http://apps.new.facebook.com/causes/102026?recruiter_id=16674170) and after joining make sure to invite your friends.

We will have a fundraiser for the HIV positive children of Ghana and at the same time launch the movie ‘Obruni: Where are you going?’ at China Club in Hong Kong on the 26th of November. The movie teaser can be found at http://www.lightforchildren.com/film/obruni.html We plan to organize screening s of the movie at 25-30 different Universities from around the world in the week following the World Aids Day (December 1st). If you are interested in organizing a screening of the movie at your University please contact Sebastian Lindstrom at butchieenorsk@msn.com – only together we can make this happen; the future is now.

Good bye to the old and hello to the new

September saw the arrival of 7 new volunteers and the depature of Christian our German volunteer after his 3 month stay and Nicole from Canada after her 2 month stay.  The new volunteers include Catherine from Australia, Rhi, Craig, Amy, Laura and David from the UK and Chelsey from Canada.  Rhi and Craig are placed at the Missionaries of Charity Orphange in Kumasi, Amy, Laura and David are in Mampong at the baby orphange, Chelsey is sharing her time between LIFOC and Missionaries of Charity Orphange and Catherine is working for the LIFOC project.  Christian assisted in the orientation of the new volunteers before departing himself on the 14th of September and Nicole departed for home on the 24th of September.

VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing)

September has been a big month for the VCT program, where we go to various shops and stores and talk to the employees about HIV/AIDS and its dangers and then take them for testing.  Christian and Catherine finished at the local Hairdressers in Atonsu with 14 girls in total all being tested and thankfully negative.  We then spent the following weeks talking to a local dressmakers school and a local hairdressing school about HIV/AIDS, prevention, stigma and the need for testing.  On the 12th September LIFOC then organized the VCT nurses to come to the office in Atonsu and conduct the counseling and Rapid HIV Test and invited all the girls to come.  We ended up testing 34 girls and gave out over 5 referrals in the following days for those who couldn’t make it.  Again we were delighted not only in the turn out of girls but the fact all presented negative.

On the 19th of September Yaw, Catherine and Chelsey went back to the hairdressers to follow up on the girls after their testing.  This was to reaffirm the importance of using the uneasy feeling they had prior to the testing, to make the right choices from now on.  We took the girls through the Journey of Hope presentation and received positive feedback that following their testing they will use their experience to influence friends to be tested and to make good life choices.

Home Visits

On the 7th of September we conducted 5 home visits between our group of volunteers.  Yaw, Christian and Catherine visited the family of the twins Edwin and Edward Astu.  The twins who are 9 months old also have 2 sisters who are infected with HIV and both parents also have the disease.  They struggle day to day to make ends meet and spoke of issues in obtaining food from the Nutritional support centre and maternal and child health clinic. They then visited Kofi Adu and his mother who spoke of issues whith getting monthly doses of medicine as they were only receiving fortnightly rations.  Mike went with Rhi and Craig to visit Christiana, Yaw and Kwadwo.

On the 28th September the whole group visited  children Hilda and Kwaku Mensah and their mother Catherine in Adiembra, Monica Hene and her parents in Ohwin and twins Phillip and Phillipa Mensah and mother Teresa in Ohwin also.  All children are doing well however we need to ensure that there is enough food and medicine being distributed and will take up with the clinics to ensure this is being done.

Meetings

This month has seen many meetings.  Yaw and Mike attended a week long conference on Malaria at Anita Hotel in Egisu.  They discussed the need to roll out programs within the community educating children and their parents through the use of volunteers and organizations such as LIFOC.  Malaria is a huge problem in Ghana and claims 45 children under 5 years of age, everyday.  Many families have problems identifying the disease, often it is not until the child has reached critical stage until they are diagnosed and by then it is too late.   LIFOC has been selected to implement this program starting October through to Christmas this year.

Catherine and Chelsea attended a meeting on Violence Against Children (VAC) in Adum on 23rd September on behalf of LIFOC.  They found the meeting very beneficial and the committee spoke of a need to curb corporal punishment at school as well as physical punishments and violence in the home.  The department of Children’s Services plans on implementing a 5 year plan (2008-2012) in order to monitor and identify acts of violence against children.

Monthly socialization meeting

The monthly meeting of the HIV positive care and support group took place at the Center for National Cultural Centre of Kumasi on the 20th of September, 2008 at 9:30a.m.  Most of the children and their caregivers were present and participated actively.  After updating the photos of the children, recording all their weights and distributing biscuits and Koala toys from Australia, the volunteers took the children to play football in the park while Mike and Yaw spoke to the parents about any current issues, health care and distributed medicines and school fees.

Last month new introduced child Memuna Abu was also present again with her mother and spoke of the hardship of having no one to confide in or be her guarantor in order to get medicine for her and her child.  Unfortunately this is a common scenario as the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS stops people confiding in loved ones or family.  The meeting ended after the traditional joint lunch of Jolloff rice and water at around 12.30pm.

Trip to Mole

After the socialization meeting Mike took volunteers, Catherine, Rhi, Craig, Chelsey, Amy, Laura, David and 2 other Canadian Volunteers from Volunteers Abroad Taylor and Julie to Mole for the weekend.  Hiring our own Tro Tro we travelled up the 8 hour trip to Mole stopping on the way for fresh fruit from the street stalls and Jollof rice dinner at Black House restaurant before arriving at the park at 11pm that night.  Sunday started with a 7am walking safari with an armed guard where we saw animals such as Deer, Wart Hogs, Elephants and Monkeys.  It was then off for breakfast of eggs, toast and tea and a swim and bake by the pool for a couple of hours.  At 2pm we headed off again to go canoeing just outside the National Park.  We picked up paddlers on the way and split into 2 groups (the British and the Canadians and lone Aussie) and paddled around a calm swamp looking for crocodiles.  Although we didn’t find any crocodiles it was very Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in “African Queen”.

Back on the Tro Tro we headed back to a small town half way back to Kumasi to spend the night in order to get to the Monkey Sanctuary and Waterfalls the next day.  After breakfast of omelets and bread and tea we headed to the beautiful waterfalls where we took photos and had a lovely morning walk.  Next stop, Monkey Sanctuary where the volunteers had a guided tour of many species of Monkeys before heading back home to Kumasi.  Although exhausted in the end, everyone had a great trip and saw a lot of wildlife and beautiful scenery of Northern Ghana.

In Progress

There is a lot of work in progress at the moment at LIFOC.  We are in the process of starting to write a new program for schools built around Soccer and involving children in sports to provide a new forum for learning about HIV/AIDS, it’s effects and preventions.  We are also updating all the children’s profiles in order to pass them onto volunteers wishing to present back in their home countries in order to get more sponsors for the children and more volunteers from their home country.  We have made alliances with a community group called Mother Bear Projects (http://www.motherbearproject.org) who have sent us 2 boxes of hand knitted bears for the children and are going to place LIFOC on their website.  All this is part of building awareness of LIFOC and our organization.  We are also excited that school is now back in full swing and we are to start school presentations 1st week of October.

Light for Children June Update

July 21, 2008

Written by Mike Owusu, Programme coordinator (inlawp5@yahoo.com) and Sebastian Lindstrom, chairman (butchieenorsk@msn.com)

School presentations
This month we started holding our presentations at the Nyankyerenease Methodist School. We went to the classes 1 and 2 of the Junior High and the classes 5 and 6 of the Primary School. During the presentations the students were introduced to the Journey of Hope and encouraged to participate, as we lectured them about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and others. After that the studentsc were given assignments to write or draw something about what we had told them. We also coordinated with the faculty and students of Nyankyerenease regarding A.K., a student whom has been having a difficult time at the school. A.K. was being taunted and made fun of by the other children due to a slight mental delay relative to the others in his class. We spoke with his family as well, and developed creative ways to bring out his potential. A.K. and his family have recently reported that they are much happier, and the students have been treating him well at school. The work on these assignments will be carried out next month.

 

Monthly socialization meeting
The monthly meeting of the HIV positive care and support group took place at the Center for National Cultural Centre of Kumasi on the 21st of June, 2008 at 9:30a.m. Most of the children and their caregivers were present and participating actively. Volunteers Mimi, Hilary, Andre Terra and Sara Glazer from Canada, and Christian Monteith from Germany were all present to assist. Volunteer Sara Glazer from Volunteer Abroad came to the meeting with Junior, a seven year old boy living at the Missionaries for Charity Orphanage. Junior is HIV positive and has been suffering from Tuberculosis. He comes from a family where he was severely neglected and left very ill. Sara hopes to, in coordination with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario, find sponsorship for Junior as well as several other HIV positive orphans upon her return to school in September. We will follow up on this venture next month.

 

Cooperation with US High School 

As we were contacted by an US High School, which was interested in Ghanaian culture and therefore wanted to cooperate with a Ghanaian High School, we went looking for a school with the appropriate facilities to keep in contact with the partner school. Finally we chose the Kumasi Academy, as they have both enough students of the age from 15 to 17 as well as the opportunity to install an Internet connection over there, which is necessary to communicate with the US school. The plan is to have the students communicate with each other for 9 months. In the 10th month, however, it is planned that the US students will come to Ghana for a short visit so they can experience Ghanaian school life. Right now we’re still waiting for the school to send us the profiles of the 40 selected students, so we can forward them to the US High School.

 

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

Mavis, Age 10.

Family History

The Mensah family used to reside in Europe and on return to Ghana; both parents discovered they were HIV positive. Both parents sadly passed away due to the virus, leaving Mavis and her twin sister Mabel as orphans. The grandmother assumed the role of primary caregiver to the girls. Mavis and Mabel were taken to the hospital and tested for HIV; Mavis was found to be chronically anaemic and HIV positive, Mabel tested negative for HIV. A friend of the family that works in the hospital reported them to Light for Children.

Both girls are still residing with their grandmother in Agogo, Kumasi. Their grandmother is unemployed and has only their Grandfathers pension to support them and the rest of their large family. Providing for the girls is a constant struggle for the family due to the health needs of Mavis.

 

About Mavis

Mavis is a lovely, quiet young girl; she is extremely caring and loving towards everyone, and adores children. She is very helpful around the house and always helps her grandmother with the household chores.

Mavis is doing ok at school; her favourite subjects are Twi and English, she enjoys these very much. Mavis enjoys attending the monthly socialization meetings with her twin sister Mabel. She spends a lot of time looking after the smaller children in the group and playing with them. She is extremely caring towards them and she is a popular member of the group.

 

 

Mabel, Age 10.

Family History

The Mensah family used to reside in Europe and on return to Ghana; both parents discovered they were HIV positive. Both parents sadly passed away due to the virus, leaving Mabel and her twin sister Mavis as orphans. The grandmother assumed the role of primary caregiver to the girls. Mabel and Mavis were taken to the hospital and tested for HIV; Mabel was found to be negative but Mavis was found to be chronically anaemic and HIV positive

A friend of the family that works in the hospital reported them to Light for Children. Both girls are still residing with their grandmother in Agogo, Kumasi. Their grandmother is unemployed and has only their Grandfathers pension to support them and the rest of their large family. Providing for the girls is a constant struggle for the family due to the health needs of Mavis.

 

About Mabel

Mabel is very similar to her twin sister Mavis; she is an extremely loving and caring young girl. She loves children and is always willing to help her grandmother with the household chores.

Mabel performs very well at school; she is in the top four of her class for both mathematics and English. These are her favourite subjects.

Mabel enjoys attending the monthly socialization meetings with Mavis. They are always seen playing together and caring for the younger children, especially the two sets of baby twins. Mabel is a popular member of the group, and is especially close to Beatrice.

 

Beatrice, Age 8.

 

Family History

Beatrice is HIV positive and is cared for by her Auntie and Grandmother in Tafo, Kumasi. The auntie is the only member of the family in the household who knows that Beatrice is HIV positive. Beatrice’s father is presumed to be positive but refuses to test and discriminates against his daughter because of her status. Her father stays in Accra and her mother took her to live with him there, but due to his attitude to the virus he insisted she went back to Kumasi. Due to the conflict between the parents and the obvious neglect of Beatrice’s health and wellbeing the father’s sister stepped in and took care of Beatrice.

Beatrice’s auntie use to work in Accra as a trader but due to her own health problems is now unemployed. She moved into the Grandmothers house in Kumasi to help her in her effort to care for Beatrice and her own children.

 

About Beatrice

Beatrice is a bubbly and playful little girl. Over the last few months Beatrice’s personality has begun to shine, she is now very chatty and outgoing. This is a result of a loving and settled home life.

Beatrice has very recently started attending school. Despite being behind the other children in class she is enjoying her new school. Her English and general performance is improving quickly and it is clear that it won’t take her long to catch up with her peers.    

Beatrice enjoys the monthly socialization meetings and loves playing with Mavis and Mabel. She is a keen participant in all games. She always turns up to the meetings beautifully dressed but always leaves covered in dirt…a sure sign that she has enjoyed playtime!

 

 

 

 

 

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