Schools in the Warwick district can do their bit to help the most vulnerable people in Ghana.
Former Whitnash resident and ex-Myton School pupil Jonathan Fowle is currently working in the town of Tamale, helping disabled people with the Northern Regional Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities.
He believes the best way to get disabled people involved in the local community is through sport - and unwanted kits or equipment from back home would help him a great deal.
Jonathan said: “Stigma surrounding persons with disabilities is rife, with many people believing that disability is caused by witchcraft. However, the centre aims to combat this stigma by visiting schools, talking to pupils about the potentials of persons with disabilities and also demonstrating these potentials through sport.
“There are currently sports teams for wheelchair basketball, athletics (javelin, discus, shotput), deaf football, goalball and showdown (table tennis). However, these teams are currently struggling and without donations of equipment may not be able to continue.
“Sport is a fantastic way to showcase the talents of persons with disabilities. One of my volunteers even commented that when you see them play (wheelchair basketball) you forget about their disability”. This message is even greater in Tamale, where some persons with disabilities are kept as “shut-ins” in their own homes.
In 2012, the Ghanaian Paralympic team consisted of only four players.
In December 2014, some players competed in the first ever Parasport Festival in Ghana’s capital city, Accra.
Jonathan added: “One of the athletes came second in the whole of the country for javelin, while another member of the resource centre is number one in the whole of the northern region for wheelchair racing and is currently being coached by a former Paralympian.
“However, in Ghana parasports are not heavily invested in and they have to rely on either donations or charities such as “Right to Dream” or “Right to Play” for sponsorship and equipment.
“Although, these grants exist there is a lot of competition for them.”
At the resource centre Jonathan and his team of UK and Ghanaian volunteers, are currently researching into grants for the sports teams and are also approaching sport teams and schools for old equipment.
He added: “The sports teams are in desperate need of basketballs, footballs, javelins, blindfolds for goalball - even the smallest donation could help develop the parasport teams.”
“The resource centre members also want to set-up lawn tennis, they have located a space to play, but without adequate equipment this remains a dream.”
If you work in a school or have any unwanted sport equipment email firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via facebook “Northern Regional Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities”.