Elly Sakwa working with students
SKILLS TRAINING CENTRE FOR PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES
Training for the physically disabled has a long history in Tamale - the Training Center for people with physical disabilities was established in Tamale on the 1st July, 1962, so will celebrate 50 years next year. The centre is operating under the Ghana Ministry of Social Welfare, and it provides skills training for disabled people between 15 to 45 years of age.
The training is basically in rural crafts, which include tailoring, dress-making, shoe-making, leather-work and weaving. The course duration is three years, but it can be extended for trainees who need more time.
The aim of the programme is enable trainees to move into self-employment based on the skilled trade they have learned. The alternative for many disabled people is begging on the street, and according to the manager, the programme has reduced the number of disabled beggars in Tamale.
Lamin Tholley during morning prayer with students
The trainees live a peaceful and communal way of life in the institution, which is residential. They assist each other according to their abilities; as 1 Corinthians says, “You are Christ’s body”. So, for instance, the able-bodied trainee who is a deaf-mute can collect and do things for those who are physically immobilised. These, in their turn, can direct the blind from dangerous situations and can interpret for the deaf-mute when the need arises. The deaf-mutes can do the heaviest work among them because they can see and move freely.
The two of us who go for our Friday ministry to the Training Centre receive so much from this experience. We see the uniqueness of each according to their abilities, and we have realised that disability is not inability. The wonders of God are realized each time the trainees are doing their practical work. When the blind are weaving, one sees God’s possibilities even though we humans may think such things are impossible.
We enjoy our time there every week, teaching and interacting with them. We help them to grow in their spirituality by leading them in morning devotion each Friday. We admire most of all their ability and willingness to learn. They are energized when you teach them new ideas and have a desire to learn more. We thank God for the experience that we have there, since they are helpful in our growth as well as theirs.