Peace Corps pioneers AIDS education of deaf youths

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- Humanitarian associations and government have finally begun the HIV/AIDS education of disabled youths, a long-ignored segment of the population and high-profile anti-AIDS campaigns.
One such institutions is the US Peace Corps in Ghana, which has started a programme to educate deaf and hearing impaired youths on the pandemic disease, the Ghana News Agency reported Friday.
The maiden event, held 9-13 July, brought together 27 students and teachers from four of the country's schools for the deaf along with Peace Corps volunteers to attend presentations, lectures and workshops by HIV/AIDS educators tailored to the students' condition.
"We realise that they are vulnerable," said Joseph Boamah, associate Peace Corps director of Education.
"People take advantage of them, especially of the girls.
" Boamah explained that because these students are physically incapacitated, tend to be socially and emotionally needy and cannot defend themselves readily, they are easier targets for sex predators.
By relaying the information to the participants, he said, the goal is for them to return to their respective schools and educate the rest of their colleagues on HIV/AIDS.
Participants came from the Volta School for the Deaf, Wa School for the Deaf, Cape Coast School for the Deaf and the Unit School for the Deaf at Koforidua.
Through an electronic projector that allowed students to read the material and the use of sign language, the resource persons gave the students general information about the fatal disease, including facts and projections.
Ashanti Region Coordinator for HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Michael Boamey who was among the presenters, said: "I gave them the global view, told them how to prevent contracting the disease, and about intervention (living with the disease).
"We have not done a particular programme for the disabled before.
It worked very well.

20 july 2001 21:03:00

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