We organize Internships and Volunteering assignments with two schools for differently abled children in Cape Coast: The Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind and the Methodist Special Educational Need School. These inserts are aimed at trainees and volunteers in the areas of special education and volunteers with skills in occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy.
Cape Coast School for Deaf and Blind
In the municipality of Ametewee in Cape Coast is a state school for children with hearing or visual impairment. These students are taught English, mathematics, science, Fanti, computer, sports, arts, religion and Ghanaian sign language. In addition, the school offers training in carpentry, carpet weaving, cooking, bicycle mechanics, hairdressing, nursing, gardening and painting.
Interns and volunteers join the teachers in sign language classes every Thursday. Sign language lessons are essential in order to communicate with the students and take six weeks to complete. While learning, you can assist the teachers and gain first insights. Subsequently, you can take lessons in the presence of a teacher.
The school trains the students till the 9th grade (Junior High 3) and then the students can attend regular senior high school or pursue a vocational training offered by the school. The 41 teachers at the school are special education teachers, and in addition to the degree in their teaching subject, are also training specialists. The 443 students are usually at school Monday to Friday from 7.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. The classes are divided according the impairment of the students – either visual or hearing. The class size is 19-24 students.
The school board requires long-term interns or volunteers (3-12 months). Holidays are from late June to early September, during Christmas and Easter. During this school-free time you can conduct events and workshops in the school.
The school also runs a farm, on which vegetables like maize and cassava are grown, and animals like guinea pig, pigs and rabbits are taken care of. Many of the students take part in the regular dance and drum and trumpet lessons and performances.
In addition to the teachers, there are 40 other people working in kitchen, farm, nursing and safety departments at the school. There is also a private nurse and infirmary.
Special Educational Need School – Methodist Primary School
The Methodist Primary School at Aboom in Cape Coast is a school for children with special needs where children with trisomy 21, autism, ADD, ADHD, cerebral disorders and developmental delays are given special education.
As an intern or volunteer, you assist teachers in teaching, in occupational therapy, physical therapy and/or speech therapy. The school staff include five special education teachers and five assistants.
There are no specialists for occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy at the school; these forms of therapy are carried out by the special education teachers, self taught after many years practicing, but without formal professional training in these fields.
The approximately 80 children attend the school Monday to Friday from 8.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. Students are between 8-27 years old and are divided into three classes. One class is especially dedicated to the language development of children, while a second focuses on students with reading and writing difficulties. Older students usually attend craft class where their motor skills and their intellectual skills are honed through manual activities, such as the making of bags or embroidery. In all classes, English, mathematics, science and sport are taught. Holidays are from late June to early September, during Christmas and Easter.
Interns and volunteers are offered lunch at the facility.
In Ghana, children with special needs and their families are often stigmatized, thanks to the superstition that they were punished by God or were possessed by the devil. Women who give birth to a child with a disability usually abandon or hide the children. The school staff, therefore, frequent various communities and talk about the medical causes of disabilities, bring children out of isolation and convince the family to let them attend school. Comprehensive and regular information campaigns are only possible when volunteers are present, as otherwise, there is a shortage of time and staff.
As Mary Osei, the headmistress, and Anthony Mensah, a teacher, say, the causes for the conditions of the children are diverse. In some cases, the disability could be due to alcoholism, malnutrition or malaria in the mother during pregnancy. In other cases, it could be complications during birth, which is often taken at home without skilled care. Other causes include severe head injuries, accidents, malaria, measles and other diseases during baby or toddler age, chemical poisoning (carbon monoxide, kerosene, etc.), exposure to mining fields, drug abuse, failed abortions and wrongly prescribed medicinal herbs.
The diagnosis of the disability and recommended therapy and teaching methods are done via the Ankaful Mental Hospital.
At the Methodist Primary School, there are also classes for healthy children. An insert/internship in the regular Primary School can be combined with one in the Special Needs school.
Location: Cape Coast, Ghana
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 3 Months (School for Deaf & Blind), 1 Week (Methodist Primary)
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English
Further Languages Of Advantage: Sign language (School for Deaf & Blind)
Shared Accommodation, Host Family, Hotel
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Special Education Teachers, Teachers
Minimum Qualification Of Intern: None
Further Contribution To Project: One-time contribution of 200 USD
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Technically appropriate knowledge
Further Contribution To Project: -
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?