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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Ashley Ganus, Class of 2014

Project Grow: Connecting Caregivers with Resources in a Zambian Orphanage
With the increasing number of orphaned and vulnerable children living in institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, programs must be developed and implemented to meet needs often neglected in such environments.  After an extensive review of current literature, observation of the current practices at Namwianga Mission orphanages, and consultation with the caregivers, this residency project provided age-appropriate and culturally relevant materials to encourage typical growth and development of orphaned and vulnerable children.   An activities booklet was created and given to caregivers providing evidence of the need for increased stimulation, as well as prudently designed activities to address developmental skills often delayed in institutions.  Additionally, an educational manual was created which supplements the booklet by highlighting and explaining the details of common symptoms and diagnoses and offering suggestions for care of these conditions.  The caregivers are to use these resources to increase the number of appropriate therapeutic activities provided to the children throughout each day. The program’s effectiveness was evaluated by the orphanage director and recommended modifications were completed.  Improvements in caregiver participation and interactions while completing activities were observed.  Continued trainings and supervision should be conducted to encourage further understanding of the need for purposeful interaction and loving care.

Ashley Ganus, Resident

School of Occupational Therapy
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