27 Jan 2011

The Classroom for Blind Babies is Going to Happen

Today we have good news from Ethiopia: the classroom for blind babies will be a reality.  The children will be in the kindergarten, close to the kitchen, the washroom and the bathrooms.  The five year olds who currently use this space will move to a room that until now has been used as a multiuse classroom.  We have to build a new room to accommodate the children who won’t have space to sleep their siesta in this multiuse room.  The siesta is obligatory for all infants according the Ethiopian Law of Education.

We estimate that the classroom for the blind babies will be up and running in about four months, as soon as we have constructed the new room and equipped the classroom.  However, before it is inaugurated, we want to make sure that their carers will be very special and that someone goes there to give them the appropriate training.

The blind children will be between 1 and 3 years old.  Once they have spent a year in this new classroom we are expecting that the older children will be incorporated, up to a maximum of two per class, with children of their own age, and that this will continue in the same way in the following years.  Our objective is to have all blind children fully integrated in classes with other children by the time they finish at Abugida.

This is an important challenge for us.  It is an important step on the road to integrating disabled children in a country where it has not been possible due to a lack of resources, the overcrowding in schools and the discrimination towards the disabled.

Yesterday morning Barry returned from his trip to Ethiopia and it seems that everything went well with the rest of the projects.  We shall keep you informed.

Volunteer Physiotherapist(s) Needed

We need Physiotherapist Volunteer(s) to set up a Physiotherapy Dept. at Dangme East Hospital, Ghana. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit Ghana, provide real help where it's most needed and leave a legacy that can support this region for years to come. Please pass this request to friends who are or may know physiotherapists who may be interested.

Mediterranea had been supporting this small district hospital for some years. Over that time we have fully equipped a biochemistry laboratory, sent a team of people to train hospital staff, kept the laboratory supplied with chemicals, sent over doctors, medicines, supplies, laptops, books and a Doppler to support pregnant women and vascular pathology.

We have agreed with the hospital to set up a Physiotherapy Dept. A fair amount of work has already been done, the hospital has allocated space for the new dept. and we have obtained and delivered of the following items:
Collar and cuff 4
Bi lateral braces 2
Zimmer frames 2
Walking sticks 4
Physio table
Parallel Bars (MEF 4oo)
Wall bars
Wobble board
Gym mats
Gym balls
Inter diathermy
ECGs and a defibrillator

There is a real need for this dept. as there is currently no physiotherapy support for the ill and convalescing for hundreds of kms. Once set up the costs of maintaining the dept. will be very low, with the costs of the local employees taken by the hospital. There is a school of physiotherapy in Accra, which has agreed to send graduates to the new dept. to work.

Our volunteer physiotherapist(s), who will travel to Ghana with Michael Stoma, will help set up the dept. and train their Ghanaian counterparts on the latest techniques and procedures. Ideally the volunteer(s) would then take charge of the project and arrange for other physiotherapists from Spain and Europe to visit and train at the hospital from time to time. The medium term goal is that this new dept. will become a centre for teaching, developing Ghanaian physiotherapists to support the people of this region. If you are interested to find out more, please contact Michael Stoma at  mediterranea.ong@gmail.com


We thought that you might like to see a collection of photos of the mothers, grandmothers and young sisters (who at times have to be mothers) of Abugida, as a small tribute to these girls and women who are living difficult lives.

23 Jan 2011

Super Barry in Action

Very early yesterday morning, Barry who is our volunteer builder, arrived in Addis.  Later in the day we received a message from him saying that the floor of the kindergarten was already half finished (the cork floor that had been languishing for months awaiting someone to lay it).

He had also spoken with the local builder and got them to agree to finish the outstanding work in Abugida according to the original conditions of the agreement and to leave the disputed items to be resolved later.  Barry arrives and matters are quickly advanced after months of discussions.

On Monday he will go to Biru Tesfa School and together with some of the parents from the school will start work on the numerous repairs that we have mentioned previously, the cracked walls, broken windows and unserviceable toilets etc etc.  During his trip Barry will also produce a budget for the four new classrooms and adjoining toilets planned for the deaf and blind children of Akaki Mengist School.