Pathfinders go International

An exciting joint project between Pathfinders and West African service provider Crescent Educational & Volunteer Service (CEVS) has culminated in the official opening of a new facility for children with disabilities and their families in Tamale, Ghana.

In 2011 Pathfinders successfully obtained funding from the Australian High Commission to enable the completion of a building in a tiny community in the rural north of Tamale. The new building will provide a home for the Disability Assessment and Support Centre for children and young people with a disability and their families.

In Tamale, families who have a child with a disability are severely disadvantaged by extreme hardship, poverty, lack of services and discrimination on a daily basis. Many disabilities are caused or exacerbated by poverty, for example through poor nutrition or insufficient medical care. Disability is still perceived with much superstition. It is a common belief that disability is the result of witchcraft or a family curse and that disabled children are evil spirits and a bad omen for the family or community.  The situation is worse in rural areas where children are often hidden at home and are denied the rights to education, health services, food and shelter.

Pathfinders strongly believe these attitudes can be changed through community education and support services such as the one to be offered by the Disability Assessment and Support Centre.

The community came out in force to celebrate the completion of the building last week in the presence of the village chief, Australian Ambassador, Northern Regional Minister and the Deputy Director of Education for Metropolitan Assembly (Council ). The Ambassador praised Pathfinders and CEVS for achieving the project under a tight budget.

Pathfinders see the project as a unique opportunity for cultural exchange and mutual learning between the two countries, and hope to continue the relationship with CEVS into the future.