About the WaWa Project
The WaWa Project is a non-profit organization providing a generation of overlooked children living with disabilities in Ghana, West Africa with an education. Our goal is to prepare them to be self-reliant, independent individuals who become positive, active and contributing members of a community.
The WaWa Project aims to collaborate with local schools to renovate their buildings in order to make them handicap-accessible. Also, WaWa will introduce and incorporate new pieces of curriculum focused on educating and changing the perceptions of people with disabilities in Ghana.
By equipping these individuals with the tools and skills they need to be fully integrated into their community, our ultimate goal is to alter the perceived notion that disabled individuals lead less-fulfilled lives or are less capable of contributing to society.
About the Problem
In much of Ghana, people with disabilities are perceived as severely defective and shunned from mainstream society. Reinforced by lack of awareness and old beliefs that the disabled are cursed, this perception of their inability to contribute to society is widespread. Unable to work or denied an education because of their disabilities, these individuals are either concealed from the public eye by ashamed family members or the very opposite; thrown squarely into the public eye and forced to beg to survive, which only reinforces the pervasive poverty cycle.
To combat this destructive cycle and the erroneous stereotype, the vision for the WaWa Project was born after a thorough review of existing literature, interviews with healthcare providers, organizations advocating for PWDs, educators, government officials, and direct observations made from speaking with individuals living with physical disabilities in Ghana’s capital, Accra. The WaWa Project is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through the facilitation of education and life skills training, with the goal of building inclusive and self-sustaining communities.
In a country of approximately 22 million, the World Health Organization estimates the disability rate in Ghana to be between 7-10 percent, or about 1.55 – 2.2 million people.
The disability rate in the U.S. is about four percent.
After a 13-year debate, the National Disability Policy Document was finally passed by the parliament of Ghana in June 2006.
The disability bill provides for the protection of the disabled against discrimination, guarantees free medical care, free public transportation, access to basic education and requires mandatory special access ramps and rails in all public places.
The new legislation will be applied over a transitional period of 10 years due to the large expenditures expected.
On average, it takes about 20 years for a child to complete their education in Ghana.
After kindergarten, the child continues to primary school (U.S. grades 1-6), junior secondary school (U.S. grades 7-9), senior secondary school (U.S. grades 10-12) and then finally university.