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Thursday, March 5, 2015

SAFETY, SOAP, STORIES AND SPEED - SUCCESSES AT YUMBA

This week, Akilu Murtala and Seckina Kassim reflect on a successful training session that they organised for the Yumba Parents Group. They also discussed the team's work during the week including among others, efforts to digitize the school’s records and to organise training for the teachers on how to teach soap making.

We are ending another week on the Yumba project. The eighth (8th) week so to speak, and our resolve to get you updated on our activities is uncompromisable, hence this blog. The continuous manifestation of successes of our project as auspiciously envisaged in our preceding blogs coupled with the fact that we are inching ever closer to the end of our participation in this noble course as a cohort deepens the awe feeling in us. We nevertheless take solace in our achievements, and with this at hindsight, the fear component of our feeling recedes to the background. It indeed pays to work hard.

Mr Mubarak introduces the training to the parents.
We relayed our plans for the week under review in our immediate preceding blog written by Joseph. Among other things, a mention was made of a planned First Aid and hygiene training programme. To this effect, we are pleased to report that it was a massive success.

Our First Aid Trainers demonstrate the 'Heimlich Maneuver

It came off as planned over the week ends on Saturday February 28, 2015 at the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities here in Tamale. In attendance were impressive twenty-eight(28) parents comprising four (4) males and twenty-four(24) females from the parent group, three (3) pupils from the Yumba Special School, two (2) trainers from the St John ambulance and a representative of Dr. Razak (Lecturer at the University of Development Studies and expert in disability studies) who was to deliver an address on “the intellectually disabled and their hygiene, the role of parents”. Coincidentally, not only was the representative also Mr. Razak, but also a tutor of the Yumba Special School and with a training in special education, it was not surprising he was able to delve deep into the nitty-gritty of the subject matter to the admiration of all present. On their part too, the trainers demonstrated they were ‘Masters in the game’. They exhibited great knowledge and enthusiasm in their delivery.

One of the parents practicing CPR
Overall, the programme was very educative and interactive with some of the parents practising how the knowledge acquired from the training can be applied in real life situations. Importantly, in our evaluation of the programme to ascertain its success or otherwise, parents unanimously reported it was very useful and pleaded that more of such programmes should be organised for them. We reckon this feat is seldom attained in the evaluation of similar programmes, a position corroborated by one of our team leaders, Frankie, who repeatedly stated with joy that it was the first ever training programme he has attended where a hundred percent (100%) of the participants were of the view that they had learnt new things and were craving for more. Your guess about the feeling for such an imposing feedback is as good as ours.


Also, on other engagements of the team, we have Jake Davies in the office busy for most part of the week digitizing bulky files of students from the Yumba Special School for easy access and management.

Jake showing the new digital system to the school's staff

Seckina has also been in constant touch with Technoserve, an NGO here in Tamale which is into soap making, to get the vocational tutors of Yumba Special School trained in soap making. This will not only be added into the curriculum of the school, but also serve as a medium of generating income for the school through the sale of products produced.

On their part too, Georgie and Joseph have been working on newspaper articles to be published both locally (Daily guide) and internationally in a Devon based newspaper in the United Kingdom after having negotiated for spaces. Clearly, it has been a packed week and we proudly have lots to point out as successes.

Nevertheless, as a team, we are not going to rest on our laurels in the light of these successes. In spite of the limited time left for us, we are committed to knuckle down on the remaining tasks and we are very much sanguine we shall be reporting on more triumphs in the coming weeks. Much more to be done remains the mantra guiding our actions as a team. In the interim, it is also pleasant to announce that plans for our maiden sensitization programme as a second cohort on the Yumba project are far advanced. Hopefully, our next blog update will contain a vivid picture of the turn of events from the programme.

So dear reader, just relax and wait for the update next week.

Thank you.

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