Defying Heights: Gloria’s Story Part 2

glo2 My disability as stated in my last article was never a problem, but High School made me think otherwise. It exposed me to the real world.

I entered Senior High School (SHS) in the second term, and it was in a boarding school. My new community was not familiar with people with disability like me, so they tend to either loath me, or be over sympathetic around me. I had people who wished I vanished by morning, and those who will wake up at night to make sure I am still breathing.  Times in high school was very hard! I was kicked out of my basketball team after my first tournament, because my coach could not have ‘someone like me’, on her team. She said to me, “People stare too much at you, and it makes most of your teammates nervous so they find it difficult to concentrate on the game.”  This came as a big blow to me. My mother used to tell me I can be whatever I want to be, but little did I know some of these wants were not my decision to make.

IMG-20160505-WA0006When I was in SHS, my trips to OTC kept me; I met other young ladies like me who where seniors when I was only beginning. They all told me the same thing, that I will get used to the people, and they will get used to me. It did not happen the way they said it would. I had friends and tutors who really supported me and I had other people who made it their mission to make my life difficult.  My General Knowledge in Art tutor was very encouraging. She told me, “If you survive high school, and it does not break you, nothing ever can”.

I  survived high school, and all stigma that came with it. Before I completed, I was a dinning hall prefect in my final year; I joined the choir; I stayed in the boarding house till I graduated. They never got over the fact that I had ‘one short crooked leg’ yet did everything. I fetched water with or without prosthesis. IMG-20160310-WA0003I did everything by myself.  Although I did not play basketball I was an active student, and I made sure everyone who was there during my time remembered me.  I also told stories about the OTC, and other children with disabilities to my friends and classmates.

Here I am today living life to the fullest. I have completed  my first degree, and I am a career woman . One day a question came to my mind, and it has been steering my life till now. ‘Would I have been where I am today, if my parents had not sought help for my mobility?’. For the most part I can not tell, but this I know that, OTC has had a great impact on my life.20170517_134130  When you are less dependent on people for your mobility, it makes you a little more confident.  It also changes your self-image. These are few of the gifts OTC have given me.  At the moment, I am the Executive Officer at OTC, raising funds; managing the webpage, receiving guests; being a role model for the children, and an ambassador to the world. I love it here, and I am glad my parents made this choice. OTC is not just a rehabilitation center for people with mobility challenges, but one big family.

My name is Gloria Williston, and this is my story.

If you want to support OTC to give children with mobility challenges a chance to living a full and happy life,  you can reach our hotline on +233268339092; donate in the US via our Venmo account @OTC-Ghana; or visit our Donation column on this page for more options.

 

 

Community Outreach Program at OTC

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Gloria (Physiotherapist on rotation), Saki (second from left), Sr. Esther SSND (third from left) and their COP guests from the Netherlands

The Community Outreach Program (COP) is a community-based rehabilitation program by the Physiotherapy department of OTC. The team goes out to the communities to see people with CVA, CP and other neurological problems which needs only physiotherapy.  All other orthopedic problems they find are referred to the centre.

 

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Therapy session with an elderly woman who has CVA @ Asikafoamantem

COP is an initiative by Ms Saki Shibata, a 28 year-old Japanese physiotherapist volunteer at OTC. Saki came to the centre through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteer program. Her assignment was to see patients that come to OTC, and improve the quality of the skills of the physiotherapy department.

She realized after a while that people were not coming to clinic regularly, although she saw other people with conditions like Cerebral Palsy and children with clubfoot in the community. “These are conditions that OTC treats but the people in the community do not even come”, she wondered. Initially, she thought they had challenges with their finances so she did a survey and realized it was not all about money. The people had so many other reasons like religion, superstition, cultural believes and ignorance about the importance of consistent treatment in the management of a child’s condition.

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The Team on their way to home visiting

This was the genesis of the OTC-COP. She joined the community nurse from the Notre Dame clinic, Sr. Esther SSND to visit communities close to the centre. They started with three communities, and there they discovered that there were four old patients who had stopped coming to the centre. the team also found a few new patients in on home visits. Saki treats the people in the community if they have neurological problem like CVA and Cerebral Palsy. Other than these, they are referred to the OTC outpatient clinic on Mondays.

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Therapy session with Aggie,  a Cerebral Palsy patient in the Adoagyiri community

According to Miss Saki,  her aims for this initiative is to educate people in the community on their treatment plan; the condition of sickness and how to manage it; also how to exercise properly. Then again, find new cases who are not treated in the community, and finally bring patients back to mainstream clinic through education, counselling and treatment. Above all, she hopes the program helps in reducing stigma attached to disability in communities through community-based rehabilitation.

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Kerri (left), a Speech and Language therapist from London comes on COP @ Sakyikrom

The community Outreach Program started about 18 months ago, and it has been very successful. As the number of communities has increased to five. People around the most visited areas are now a little conscious of the congenital deformities and we are receiving more positive response from the natives.  RIMG3508   We hope to extend to the remote parts of our municipal assembly, and save as many lives as possible.

Support a good cause like ours. Donate today!

OTC… We put people on their feet!

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.