General News of Sunday, 21 June 2015
Source: Daily Heritage
The Headmaster of Demonstration School for the Deaf, Basty Solomon Kwashie, has revealed that it is now common practice for him to supply girls in the school with sanitary pads monthly to prevent absenteeism.
Mr. Kwashie said the practice is gradually putting the school in financial difficulties because girls in the school are more than boys.
“As we speak I have one box of sanitary pads in my office which can only sustain them for this month and we have to pray that our donor partners support us, if not, I have to use my own pocket money to buy,” he said.
Speaking to the DAILY HERITAGE at Mampong Akuapem in the Eastern Region, Mr. Kwashie lauded government’s initiative of providing free sanitary pads to girls in basic schools and noted that anything that will help the girl-child in school is highly acceptable.
The headmaster said, looking at the nature of the pupils and the kind of treatment their parents subject them to, the school is the only place of hope for them.
“So we also try our best to make them feel like part of society.It will be a disadvantage on the part of the girl-child to stay home because she cannot take proper care of herself at the end of the month. So what we do is go round to share pads to the most senior girls. Otherwise they will stay five to six days indoors without attending classes,” he stated.
Mr. Kwashie revealed further that since the school is a specialized one, they suffer financial challenges because it depends solely on government grants and donations from individuals and entities to survive.
“As we speak, 90% of the school grant has not been paid which makes running the school difficult, but in the face of all these difficulties we still enjoy mercies from God.”
He said the school currently has a population of 473 pupils; 212 boys and 261 girls out of whom 12 pupils are deaf-blind and two of them also physically challenged. He said the school also had 56 teaching and 57 non- teaching staff of 18 of whom are deaf-and-dumb.
Known as the first ever established deaf-blind school in West Africa in 1967, the school still faces accommodation problems for teaching staff and classroom blocks to house the pupils. Currently out of the 56 teachers in the school, only 18 of them live on campus with three teachers sharing a three-bedroom block.
He said about 50% of pupils who seek admission are turned down because there are no classrooms and dormitory facilities to accommodate them. The only vocational block to aid the training of pupils in vocational skills is still under construction many years after the inauguration of the project.
Another problem he mentioned was the lack of polytanks to store water for both teachers and pupils, though the school has a modern mechanized borehole which can supply water to the whole school. “What we need is a big reservoir to keep water for many days,” he stated.
He said that it was impossible for all the pupils to end up as graduates, so the school is trying to use vocational education to train pupils on livestock and appealed for support.
Mr. Kwashie commended the teaching staff for demonstrating commitment and selflessness all these years towards the well-being and development of the physically challenged in society.
He appealed to government and other private organizations to assist the school in order to develop the potentials of the future leaders by donating food items, materials and money to help run the school.