Gambia Epilepsy Association, The Gambia
Project: Training in tailoring, food and nutrition and vegetable growing
The Gambia Epilepsy Association was created because of the compassion the founding members had towards people with epilepsy who they had discovered in dehumanizing conditions, either as neighbours or relations. The idea began in July 2002 and after a series of meetings and consultations, the association was registered by government of The Gambia through her Attorney Generals chambers on 8th December, 2003 and thereafter signed a memorandum of understanding with Department of State for Health and Social Welfare in April 2004.
The association provides the following services:
- Advocates for the employment, education and social rights of people with epilepsy.
- Monitors and ensures that medication administered is properly taken.
- Guidance and counseling services for members, friends and families of people with epilepsy.
To date, the association has approximately 396 members, mainly people with epilepsy, and 7 non-paid volunteer staff.
The human rights issues that affect people with epilepsy identified so far include:
- The right to employment, education, civil and domestic.
- The rights to obtain a drivers licence as appropriate.
- The rights to learn a work skill.
The program is targeted at 30 persons. At the end of the program, participants are expected to acquire various skills in tailoring, food and nutrition and vegetable growing. They are then expected to put the skills acquired in to practice for the purpose of making a meaningful living.
The anticipated challenge to the programme is likely to be irregularity in attendance of the trainees from time to time due to unexpected seizures through failure to comply with their medical prescriptions. However, with our team of experience personnel, the trainees will be monitored on a daily basis in collaboration with the trainers to ensure regularity and proper understanding of the skills learnt.
The objectives of the program include:
- Advocacy for employment, education and civil rights of people with epilepsy. In order to achieve this objective, the association will liaise with the Ombudsmans office and protect the rights of people with epilepsy at their respective employers and agencies. Also an awareness seminar will be held for employers to enlighten them on the true facts about epilepsy.
- To empower people with epilepsy in order to be self reliant. The association will seek the admission for 30 of its members with epilepsy in different vocational institutions, and place a supervisory team at each training center to ensure that the participants acquire the expected skills during the period of training.
- All the volunteer staff will meet twice each month during the training period to analyze and assess the understanding of each participant.
- During analysis, the report of each participant will be critically examined to ensure that the expected skill is dully acquired. However if it is discovered that participants did not properly understand skills learnt, then issues that hindered the understanding will analyzed and addressed immediately.
Other organizations that will partner with us in this program include:
- The Ombudsmans Office
- Presidents Award Scheme (a vocational school)
- National Youth Service Scheme
- Women Enterprises
- Bundung Vocational school
- Neighbours Trust Foundation