In the Central Region of Ghana, over 5,000 children with hearing and vision impairments experience isolation. While some of these children have access to basic special needs education, many face financial barriers.

In the Cape Coast region of Ghana, just like in most other places, misconceptions and stigmas about the disabled community prevail. Often, these children grow up sidelined by the community and have few opportunities to enrol in academic or sports programmes.

RYTHM Foundation launched a 3-year programme with ANOPA Project, an NGO based in Cape Coast, in June 2019. This collaboration resulted in a unique programme focused on education through sports for Deaf and Blind Children based in Central and Western Ghana.

The programme focused on community sensitisation through sports, enhancing education quality, providing support services, increasing special needs school enrolments, and offering vocational training for deaf and blind children.

At the end of the 3-year period, the programme has had an incredible impact:
• Aided 554 children with hearing and vision disabilities and 686 adults and parents.
• Enrolled 300 children with disabilities in school.
• Sensitised 382 parents through coaching support.
• Improved school retention for 1,300 children with visual and hearing loss.
• Qualified 14 of the children enrolled in the programme for the World Deaf Swimming Championship.

Numerous students in special needs schools struggle to stay on as their parents find it difficult to provide essential resources like educational materials. The programme aimed to enhance interactions between children with disabilities and people without disabilities, fostering inclusion, raising awareness about impairments, and promoting a better understanding of the capabilities of individuals with disabilities through community engagements.

At the recently held 10th Ghana CSR Excellence Awards (GHACEA) 2023 in Accra, this successful partnership won the trophy in the category of Youth and Disability Inclusion.

The annual event by the Centre for CSR, West Africa, is one of Ghana’s most prominent and longest-running CSR Awards programmes. It is supported by leaders of business associations, international development partners, government ministries and agencies, and various media organisations.