Project Outputs and Beneficiary's Voice from ESONG
Although there is a long-standing and well organised Association for People with Disabilities in Jirapa, community members felt that there was not enough support for children with disabilities and their families, and hence decided to start a monthly group.
The group aims to reduce stigma of children with disabilities and increase access to basic human rights through raising awareness, providing links to education and healthcare, and giving regular encouragement to the families. Topics discussed at the group so far include: National Health Insurance, the District Assemblies Common Fund, nutrition, school enrollment, immunisations, and mental health.
The new group is now has a total of 310 members up from 106 in 2015. Many thanks goes to Emilda Tugkpar, Head of Physiotherapists at Jirapa Hospital, for her hard work and key members of the Association for People with Disabilities. Children attending the group range from 0 to 18 years of age and they have a variety of physical and mental disabilities, such as vision and hearing impairment, or developmental disorder.
Families come from across Jirapa District and from communities beyond the district boundary, sometimes travelling long distances with their children. Many parents have expressed their gratitude at the formation of the Esong group. One father said: "Before I came here, I thought I was the only one with a disabled child. Now I see there are lots of families like mine..., and I don't feel alone anymore."
ProNet assists the Esong group by providing logistics, medical/livelihood/educational assistance, dietary support and meals at their monthly meeting. Through the TENI Project, ProNet works closely with the Esong group and the GES Inclusion Officer to help identify and assess children with disabilities who are not currently in school, and enroll them in school where possible.