Hand in Hand is one of many Dutch NGOs in Ghana. This organisation gives a home and an education to disabled and rejected children and young people. Their site is near the village Nkoranza and we drove there from the Monkey Sanctuary to stay the night and visit their organisation.
The students are of all ages and most will be there all their lives. The educational accommodation for the 90 students was well organised and attractive. We were shown around by one of the “parents” who stay with their wards throughout out-of-school hours. We met some Dutch students who were there as short term volunteers sharing expertise, some of it medical. I imagine the stimulating artwork around the complex was the responsibility of such helpers.
The organisation welcomes visitors and we stayed in a small cottage that was very comfortable and had its own facilities. We were not the only guests in the cottage as I discovered the following day when pulling out a half nibbled muesli bar from my rucksack! However, I had the best night’s sleep of the holiday in this place.
The students appeared very relaxed and happy here. Early in the morning, everyone was walking around the pathways in small groups singing. This seemed to provide a recognised daily routine of exercise, assembly and communication. Some expert drumming kept everyone in time. As we toured the site, older students were engaged in vocational craft activities and we watched them weaving and working with beads. These are sold in the shop and at various places around Ghana. Their 4 beautiful donkeys were clearly precious to them and some had their welfare as a responsibility. Much of what we ate was produced on their farm too.
The staff were making the very best use they could of the little equipment and few resources they have. It was really admirable how they were managing to stimulate some extremely disabled children. It was clear to see how much more could be developed in the future with continued funding and interest from donors.
I liked this place. It was very sobering to read the students’ histories in the brochure we were shown. Each had an extremely sad past and I couldn’t help thinking how fortunate these young people were to have ended up here. So many rejected children, if they survive, are enduring desperate lives elsewhere. This is a small haven in Ghana where people are dedicated to making a difference for some young people who really need it.
These are the lucky few.