Caring for children with disabilities
The first event of the Happy Family Rehab Center for Children with Disabilities took place on Saturday August 22nd. Several members of the group were former students of the Harmony Children’s Center at the Buduburam Refugee Settlement in Ghana and their families who have since returned home to Liberia.
As the parents and guardians have reintegrated in the local community and siblings enrolled in local schools – the children of the Harmony Children’s Center who returned to Liberia have not had any school or center to attend. Since they had become familiar with the opportunity to learn and play in a safe and encouraging environment while living in exile in Ghana, they have been eager to return to school.
Also attending the Welcome Event for Happy Family were several children in the community that have never attended school. They and their families watched the old friends reunite, excited to at last be among familiar faces. The new students were tentative at first, as they seemed unaccustomed to inclusive socialization. However, after a video and a short discussion, everyone enjoyed lunch and the children were all laughing and playing as classmates.
Seeing the smiling faces of these children who are too often left behind is a reminder of the need for the Happy Family Center. True to the name “Happy Family”, the Center serves more than merely the students. A center for children with disabilities in this community provides encouragement to the whole family that each child deserves love and attention.
The Happy Family’s families come together to provide assistance and support, as well as to share skills and experiences with each other. The children have a place to go each day to further their intellectual and physical development, and the families benefit from additional help to care for the children appropriately in their home.
The students and parents have decided that while waiting for the full funding needed to begin full-scale efforts to be raised, they will each do their part to get the Happy Family Rehab Center for Children with Disabilities started for the children, their families and the community.
The school will start part time in one of the family’s homes, with the parents volunteering their time and limited resources while The Niapele Project raises funds to rent them a building with space for learning, playing, physical education, eating and more. The new center will run full time Monday through Friday and will be able to welcome about 20 children.
The Niapele Project is thrilled to continue working with part of the team that founded the Harmony Children’s Center as they bring their vision to Liberia as the Happy Family Rehab Center for Children with Disabilities. Settling in their home of Liberia, these former refugees are taking the skills developed in Ghana and putting them to use to give more children with disabilities the opportunity to learn and grow they deserve.