A not-for-profit organisation based in Ho, Viscare Foundation, with funding from a United Kingdom-based NGO, Well Foundation, has donated seven sewing machines to some persons living with disability in Ho, Volta Region.
The beneficiaries, all cured lepers, are made up of dressmakers, vegetable farmers and shoe repairers.
Speaking at a presentation ceremony held in Ho on Wednesday, 22 July 2020, the Director of Viscare, Frank Ahiaxornu, indicated that the idea to assist the beneficiaries was conceived a few months ago when he visited the camp where the cured lepers lived, to donate some items to them.
“We came here last time to do a donation of footwear and clothing and we saw that the people here are doing a wonderful job making bags out of local fabrics. But they do not have enough machines to train others to take up this skill, so, we resolved to raise some funds to get them more sewing machines.”
He expressed hope that the machines will enable the cured lepers train more persons at the camp to make them financially independent.
“So, the main purpose of this project is to give them a livelihood, which is handy work so that they can be generating income for themselves so that they will not depend much on their families and other donors always”, Mr Ahiaxornu added.
The supervisor of the camp, Mr Nelson Atito, was grateful for the gesture and thanked the two NGOs.
He called on the general public to patronise the items made by the cured lepers saying: “I want the general public to come and buy these items for them. They should not be stigmatised. They are cured. They are not lepers anymore. They're healthy and I want everyone to come and help us.”
The leader of the inmates of the camp, Joyce Nikabo, revealed that their machines broke down some time ago and that made it difficult for many of them to work and generate income.
She also commended the two foundations for coming to their aid and further appealed to the government, individuals and NGOs to come to their aid in building a fence wall around the camp, which she said will help keep the yard clean and safe.
What is their condition amidst COVID-19?
Just like any other sector being affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the cured lepers’ village in Ho has not been left out.
The camp lacks medicines to keep the inmates in good health.
According to a nurse assigned to the facility, Abbey Unice Ayele, they need drugs and personal protective equipment as well as thermometer guns, immune boosters and medication for wounds.
She said the health department, on several occasions, educated the inmates on the pandemic but the government and donors need to do more to support the camp and the health workers.