I’m a therapist and have always been passionate about working with disadvantaged children, so when I was given an opportunity to work with the children at Touch A Life, I jumped at it. I had been wanting to do this type of work since leaving my job working in a human rights organization and moving to Ghana in 2012.
My first time walking into the Touch A Life centre in Kumasi was in September of 2018. I was greeted with such kindness and warmth by the staff. They noticed I had on a neck brace and worked to accommodate me and ensure I was comfortable while staying with them.
On the day of the workshop, the room was packed with so many children. Everyone pitched in as we prepared for the workshop. Having been back there 4 more times, I now realize what a communal atmosphere it is. Everyone pitches in to ensure the centre operates.
I always love to see children play and be carefree, to joke and even at times push boundaries. They know they are free and through this freedom they are able to return to childhood and start to release some of the weight of the more adult responsibilities they have so long carried. It is beautiful to witness some of the laughter and lightness especially knowing what all of these children have been through. They are strong and very resilient. In having sessions with them, I made sure the children understood that our time together was not a lecture but instead a discussion where we could all learn from each other. After all there is so much we can learn from the resilience of these children as well as their hope and their ability to forge ahead, to grow and to learn.
One of the topics that struck me was the topic of trust. I was discussing trust with them, yet they had all had their trust broken at a point in their lives by those who were meant to protect them, by those they must have trusted the most. Who do you trust? Many responded God. Despite all they have been through they still trust in God, they are still willing to learn to trust again. In my latest workshop they recalled that we had discussed trust. It still stood out in their minds a month later, and even in their openness around this issue they demonstrated a step towards trusting again.
What a position of honor we are placed in when we work with these children, and it is a position that one should never take for granted. They are giving us a chance to earn their trust, to show them something different, to correct what at times may be a shattered image of the world and its inhabitants. But we cannot demand respect from these children, we must earn it.
Laurita de Diego Brako
Touch A Life Volunteer