Here is a story from a trip we did for VSO in northern Ghana.
The pride in Kande’s voice as she recalls her daughter’s starring role in the school drama is clear and is much the same as Mums around the world who turn up to watch pupil productions and later recount the scenes to friends and family. The difference for Kande is that until recently ten year old Balila was shy and withdrawn and the idea that her daughter would have the whole community roaring with laughter was inconceivable.
Balila was born with a disability that affects her growth and in the past has caused her difficulty walking. Her parents have always encouraged her to go to school but she describes how she used to feel intimidated by the other children and was too shy to answer questions in class. She often missed school altogether.
All this changed when she joined the Pope John’s Catholic School Gender Club. The club was set up in the summer of 2011 by Nurudeen Amadoo after he received training in how to establish and run a gender club. The training was developed by VSO volunteer Damien Gregory and ensures club facilitators not only know how to run the club effectively but can ensure it has a wider impact by undertaking follow up activities in classrooms and by engaging the wider community.
Here are a selection of photographs of Balila at home with her family and starring in the school play.