What a Wheelchair Can Do

wc 2Many a time we undermine the effect of certain devices in our lives. In today’s world one common effective tool of everyday life is the mobile phone. Some people are very dependent on their mobile phones for business and life.

In the world of disabilities, I will say a wheelchair for one child can do all the magic; fix the broken home; get all children into school; the mother goes back to work.  No matter how bad the child’s condition is, it can take a wheelchair to reduce the stigma on the family. Yes! One wheelchair can turn a whole family’s life around.

Here is how
Parents with children who have conditions that make it impossible to walk typically carry them on their back for long distance mobility. When the child has Cerebral Palsy it makes it even more difficult to take them anywhere. If they try to put such a child in school, some schools would not want to admit them because they become burdened by the child’s needs. Some mothers would have to stay home and dedicate their lives to taking care of their disabled children. Most of the time, the fathers are not in the picture, and the mother has more than one child. How can she provide for herself and her children when she has no job or she is unable to work as much as she needs to take care of the home?

Although wheelchair access in Ghana is a big challenge, a wheelchair for some people is everything. Wheelchair should be the last resort for people with diseases, injuries and infections that make it impossible to walk, but when all avenues fail, it is always hope for mobility and independence.

Benjey’s Case

Benjey is a 19 moDSC01317nth old baby who was born with spina bifida and two other conditions. After birth his mother run away and left him in the hospital. Benjey spent his first 8 months in the hospital, during the same period, the surgery to correct the spinal defect.
When Benjey came to OTC, he was always on people’s arms because of his condition and size. He used to cry a lot. Even at the age of one year, he looked like a 4 month old baby. Physical therapists worked but until he had a wheelchair, we did not see most of the results.

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Benjey’s pushchair donated by Farm4Life

Now he can sit independently in his wheelchair giving his caregiver and other people who used to carry him time to do other things. His neck control had gotten better he is more sociable and he cries less than before. I can say, now he is a boy thanks to his wheelchair; he has been detached from people’s arms. While he still have his defects and complications, he is still growing pretty much socially. Also, his sitting posture is getting better.

Ohenewaa’s Case

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Ohenewaa’s wheelchair and shower seat was donated by Ghana-Australia Association

Ohenewaa is a 4 year old girl with cerebral palsy. She is from a family of five.  She weighs about twice the average weight of a 4 year old. Due to her condition, her mother has to stay home and care for her. Also, sometimes when she has to come to OTC for review, Ohenewaa’s mother brings her older sister to help carry Ohenewaa when she the mother have waist and back pains.  Late last year, Ohenewaa was given a wheelchair and a shower seat. He mother was so happy. Her exact words were, “I cannot believe I will not have to carry my girl anymore, sometimes she gets tired because we are unable to manage her well. Her weight is too much!” She says she will soon send Ohenewaa to school and start work in the coming academic year.

 

 

The Impact

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Playtime@OTC

Since the only way the families of these children can get them to our centre is by carrying them on their backs, this causes pain or more pain to the children, which makes them irritable and hence making them cry a lot due to the discomfort caused  by such way of handling like in Benjey’s case.  Apart from the discomfort these children go through due to lack of this essential mobility aid, it puts the mothers who carry them on their backs at risks of developing health issues such as back and waist pain which can be disabling in the long term just like in Ohenewaa’s case.

There are many children with different conditions who will also benefit immensely from having wheelchairs tailored to their specific needs, others who do not have certain complications will also benefit from standard wheelchairs.

We cannot achieve this without your help and support through your generosity. Children dare to dream and have the opportunity to access education; mothers get their lives back, families are liberated from the pain and incarceration of such conditions.

 

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Photo Credit: Home Health Pavilion

A wheelchair will help to give independence, conserve the energies and simplify the mobility tasks which takes a tow on families of these disabled children.

An appeal to all who are reading, every monetary contribution and or wheelchair donation will go a long way to help us change the lives of these families for good, I repeat One Wheelchair Can Do All The Magic!

To all our donors, we say a big thank you for your support.

Please donate all you can to help OTC.

OTC Annual Report 2016

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2016 was another exciting year for OTC Ghana, it was full of activities. This include the college having their first matriculation; OTC making new friends like Mrs. Amissah-Arthur and the Barnes family of the Australian High Commission; and putting 5 of the children into school.

To download our 2016 annual report: click here >> (note: it may take a minute or so to download).

 

Wild Geese Delegates visits OTC

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Wild Geese rep Mr. Mauritus Bong cuts the ribbon of the new dining room

 

Wild Geese (Wilde Ganzen) is a Dutch foundation whose main aim is to fight poverty through financial support, knowledge and expertise. They always partner with other Dutch organizations that are within the country in executing projects and supporting organizations. They usually support 1/3 of every project, and are usually for small organizations and projects. In the case of OTC, they work with JAZI Foundation, our main supporters on our road to being more sustainable and self-reliant.

p1060463OTC is lucky to have Wild Geese to be the helping hand in most of our projects. The latest is the support they gave us in building a dinning and leisure room for the female amputees. Dorein Vereek and Mauritus Bong, Senior Project Office and Project officer respectively, are the delegates from Wild Geese who visited the centre. The came just in time to cut the ribbon to the newly completed and furnished dining room. p1060478Also, they visited another project they are supporting, the multipurpose hall for the Br. Tarcisius P&O Training College.

Dorein and Mauritus were very pleased to see their money been put to good use. Dorein said, ‘We feel privileged to fund the OTC projects’. They said that it was a good investment.

We invite all local and international organizations to support a good cause like OTC because, we put people on their feet.

Founder’s Day 2016

img_1757Founder’s day is all about getting together and having fun. 4th of December was the founder of OTC Br Tarcisius’ birthday. After his demise, we have marked it as founder’s day which will be celebrated every year. A day the OTC family will come together to dine and have fun. Last year’s celebration was at the OTC beach house in Prampram, Greater Accra region. This year it was held here at Nsawam on our premises.

img_1763We had indoor and outdoor games. They included  Soccer, Ludo, Draft, musical chairs and wheelchair tennis training. There was competitions between the college and OTC.  The results are: Ludo, OTC won; Draft, OTC won; Musical chairs, BTPOTC won, and ultimately OTC won the trophy for the soccer game. It was full of laughter and fun.

OTC, all children are God’s gift!

 

The Vice President’s wife visits again

 

img_1554Mrs. Amissah-Arthur came to the centre a few months ago. It was her first time and she was swept away by the scenery, the cleanliness and the amazing work that the OTC is doing.img_1584

On 23rd November, 2016, she returned with more gifts and a promise that she will visit OTC twice every year. She said that is not a political but personal promise she intends to keep. This was a few weeks to elections. img_1576She visited Esther who has just return from surgery. The children were delighted to have her come back.

OTC appreciates Her Excellency’s kindness and support, we wish her a merry Christmas and hope to see her next year.

OTC recieves £50,000 worth of rare orthopedic items from Farm4Life

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Saki and Gloria from OTC(left) with Farm4Life representatives in Ghana.

Farm4Life is an international charity which aims to provide resources to help people flourish. They empower individuals, organizations and communities through sports, education and welfare. Farm4Life is about self-sufficiency. They have different projects in different countries within Africa.

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Victor helping to load the van

In Ghana, Farm4Life is working through its wings to create a better future for the people. It started in 2003 and was registered in 2007. Lloyd Clewer is the founder, and Sharon Lanfear is the coordinator of this charity that is changing lives for the better. They usually travel across countries to coordinate projects.

The Container Project is one of the wings of Frm4Life which involves collecting goods that can benefit individuals, organizations and communities across Ghana. Through the container project OTC received £50,000 worth of assistive devices.

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Off-loading at OTC

 

According to Lloyd and Sharon, they found OTC on the famous BBC documentary, ‘Worst place in the world to be disabled?’  Afterwards they wanted to know the place, and see if we would be interested in some of their mobility and assistive devices. Lloyd, Sharon and Victor (projects manager) visited the OTC prior to their donation. They were here to see the center, and show us some of the items they have to offer. Sis. Elizabeth the director of OTC received them with the public relations person. Sister was very excited when she was shown the kind of devices OTC will be picking up the following day at Farm4Life warehouse.

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Sharon and Lloyd’s visit to OTC

Farm4Life donated a number of specialized wheelchairs for children with Cerebral Palsy (CP); commode-wheelchairs; shower seats; clubfoot braces; normal wheelchairs and many other items. The representatives of Farm4Life were happy the centre was picking up these items.

 

We are very grateful to Farm4Life for this opportunity they have given children with CP and many other patients through their donation. We know our patients and clients who receive these items will ooze joy and gratitude. Thanks goes also to PhysioNet, we were told you collected these items for Farm4Life.

Donation is our backbone here at OTC so we humbly appeal to individuals and organizations to keep supporting us in cash or kind.

Australian High Commissioner visits OTC

rimg3902The new Australian High Commissioner, Mr. Andrew Barnes with his wife, son and an official from the High Commission visited OTC last Thursday. The visit was for them to familiarize themselves with the work of the OTC. One of the former High Commissioners, Mr. Billy Williams has spoken to them about the work we were doing.

rimg3768Sister Elizabeth toured them through the centre. This has become a tradition for welcoming our guests that visit for the first time.  The High Commissioner and his family started their expedition from our workshop. The manager, Mr. Daniel Yeboah explained the activities and sections to the guests. From there, the High Commissioner’s family was led by Sister Elizabeth and the General Manager to the back-compound where the physiotherapists were busy with their weekly clubfoot clinic. Our guests were thrilled to meet the babies and their mothers.

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Time with Gifty at physiotherapy

Afterwards, they proceeded to the Children’s department where they ended the children’s anticipation. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes with their son visited Gifty who was having her physiotherapy, the children’s dormitories, and the various classes.

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Children sing ‘you are my sunshine’ for the high commissioner

Their visit to the department was crowned with three beautiful songs from the children. The High Commissioner warmed our hearts when he shook hands with each child as the music was going on.

 

Finally, they visited the Br. Tarcisius Prosthetics and Orthotics Training College. He was very happy to see what his high commission had done. The Australian High Commission under Mr. William’s administration gave OTC a grant to help us build the college, which is becoming a beacon of our time in terms of prosthetics and orthotics.  Mr. Henry Larbi, the principal of the

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Mr. Barnes at the college workshop

college received the guest with the head of P&O department, Nana Agyei. rimg3852They visited all the classes to say hello to the students. The school paused all activities to come out, welcome and say thank you t

 

It was all together a beautiful experience. Our guest were very interactive and friendly, and somewhere in the darkness they became the children’s sunshine and a part of the OTC family. We were honored to host Mr Barnes and his family. For this priceless gift which is their time, we say ‘Ayekoo’. Long Live Australia!