A graduate from Solihull who is working in a school in Ghana is making an urgent appeal for donations to improve the standards of teaching for children with learning disabilities.
Sophie Stollery is on a three-month volunteering placement in Ghana and is working at the Yumba Special School, a facility based in Tamale in northern Ghana, which was set up in 2004 for children with learning difficulties and mental health problems.
The 22-year-old said the school is without basic resources due to the stigma attached to people with learning difficulties in Ghana.
“Persons with disabilities are generally seen as less able to contribute to the Ghanaian society in a positive way,” said Sophie, who studied at Aberystwyth University.
“Due to this perception, persons with disabilities are more vulnerable economically and socially as they have less livelihood opportunities and lower social status.
“Yumba educates children with learning disabilities – often referred to as ‘mental disabilities’ or ‘mental retardation’ here. In Ghana, most people with disabilities face stigma and discrimination.
“They are often regarded as a financial burden, unproductive and cursed. Without this school many of the children who attend would be locked away at home and would be completely written off by their families.”
Sophie said the Yumba School provides children with an eduction, as well as fighting the stigma people with learning difficulties face. But the school needs much more funding for it to continue its work in Ghana.
“Yumba finds itself without sufficient resources to meet even basic needs.
“International Service, working with Yumba, has set up a project to improve the services at the school and to fight against the stigma people with a learning disability face,” Sophie added.
“Yumba School is privileged in having a core group of teachers that have the knowledge, experience and motivation to teach children with special needs.
“Unfortunately, due to a significant lack of teaching and learning materials, the teachers find it difficult to teach the children adequately.”
* You can find out more by going to the Yumba School facebook page or by going to http://sophiesayslovethem.blogspot.com/