In November, Mike Owusu (our Program Coordinator) attended a meeting of the Ghana NGOs Coalition on the Rights of the Child to discuss the problem of orphanages keeping children after they reach the age of 18. In Ghana, orphanages are supposed to help children maintain contact with their extended families and reintegrate them into their communities by the time they reach 18 years old. Some orphanages continue to hold onto these young people, often in an attempt to continue receiving funding for them. The Coalition has identified some orphanages in this situation and is trying to facilitate this process.
Mike and other members of the Coalition on the Rights of Children
Carina Monstad of Norway and Sofia Maiorana of Sweden continued their volunteer activities in the Mampong/Nsuta area. Both volunteered at the Mampong Babies Home. Like many other organizations in West Africa, the Babies Home has had a decline in volunteer numbers recently so the efforts of these two women are especially valued.
It's an exhausting job at times.
Sofia and Carina with children from Mampong Babies Home
Sofia and Carina also participated in the Preventive Child Sexual Abuse workshops. Joined by Light for Children staffer Michael Brefo Totor, they educated school children in villages around Nsuta about how to recognise and prevent sexual abuse, and how to get help if it happens.
"Little Mike," Sofia and Carina at a school in Banko, near Nsuta
Mike Owusu attended another meeting of the Ghana Mental Health Alliance to talk about a new policy initiated by the Ghanaian government to integrate developmentally delayed children into regular classrooms. Though all of the participants are in favour of the move in principle, they are concerned that the already overstretched resources and large class sizes will mean teachers will have nothing to offer these special needs students.
At a later meeting of the Mental Health Alliance, the group discussed the new Mental Health Law. Currently all the mental health facilities are concentrated on the coast, but under the recent law all hospitals in the country have to have a mental health nurse on staff. Alliance members have been visiting hospitals to make sure that they are complying with this rule. So far all hospitals seem to be complying.
Mike at the round table discussion on mental health nurses in hospitals
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!