The Story

African Association for dyslexia - The story of its birth

The scout
A young man man named Seth Adjei Mensah, came to Stockholm, Sweden from Ghana in august 1992, for a scout program called Jambori. He met someone, so when he went back to Ghana and he had to return.
When he came back to Sweden, he had to go to a program called SFI (Swedish for Immigrants). During the program, he had to go to many SFI schools in different cities/towns, such as Malmö, Lund, Helsingborg and Ystad. He had no idea about dyslexia, Seth was finding it difficult in school life as he had it previously back in Ghana. And he found out in schools in Sweden are easier than in Ghana, but still he was not able to cope with the school life.
The teachers could see that he was smart, so they thought that he could only write and read in English but not in Swedish. But this was not case since it was not the English language that made it difficult for him during the studies, but the writings and reading in any language.

The discovery
Along the line, there was a time he was watching a movie on TV about a US president who didn’t not know how to read or write. But because of his smartness the staff around him did’t notice this. But once the president messed up at the platform, pretending he was reading. It came out that the message that was written for him was diviated. After the presentation, the issue was discussed with the staff and president. So the president had to go out boldly, that he couldn’t read or write. So it was discovered that the president had dyslexia, not dumb, but was suffering from a common diagnos.
So that was when Seth discovered, that he was not dumb but that he has exactly the same problem as the president.

The secret
Around that time, Seth was still married with his ex-wife. Seth tried to find ways to ask his wife about the diagnos and if she could write down the word "Dyslexia" for him. This without her knowing that Seth couldn't read and write. Seth kept it for himself as a secret because he was ashamed, had low self esteem and also because of his African background.
Because in Africa, when you go to school when you don't know how to read and write, you are being put in a box as a lazy person, a stupid person or somebody who is dumb.

The school
When Seth went to school, he went to the teachers and asked them what dyslexia is. He showed them the name of the diagnos that his wife wrote down for him. And the teacher were nice to Seth and explained what the diagnos is. After that Seth revealed the pain and the secret to the teacher. Because Seth had confidence to the teacher in the way the teacher explained to him.
Seth was told, that he was not the only person who had dyslexia. There are prominent people who has it in Sweden and in the entire world. Such as Albert Einstein who discovered gravity and Thomas Edison who discovered electricity. Seth was shocked and surprised to hear this, because he was very good in electronics.
Around that time, when Seth was studying part time in school, he was already working full time in a company who dealt with electronics. Even the staff in his workplace, didn't know that Seth had dyslexia. All they knew was that Seth was very good at work, when it came to repairing and fixing things.
The teacher took the opportunity to interview Seth about his school life. Especially about how many years he had
been to school, and what education Seth has had since he was already working with electronics. So the teacher began to help Seth, in a different ways in school. But still he couldn't catch up in the way he was supposed to do.

The teacher
It was discovered that before he could absolve, he needed a quiet place, one on one with the teacher. So there and then he was given a special teacher called Karin Mellhammar, in the same school in Komvux, Södervärn in Malmö. With her, Seth discovered for the first time in his life that he could read and write. The teacher could know at once when Seth was tired, because Seth was using all his brain and effort to imagine and to concentrate and to focus on the work. Seth was easily tired. He could work for 5 minutes, and then take a break to talk about unrelated things in order for Seth to relax his thinking and concentration. Then he could go back to work. And this continued until it became 10 minutes, then to 20 minutes and so on.
So Seth discovered what dyslexia is, and during the breaks it affected Seth's mind on how the children were suffering in Ghana and the rest of Africa.
The teacher taught him the differences in pronouncation of the letters and the alphabet and how important of the formulation of the mouth is. He started to notice that the reading and writing was much easier than before.
But accidently, the teacher asked him to concentrate on his job and to meet people to practice his Swedish language. And that become an end of his educational part of reading and writing. But Seth didn't give up. When he came to his workplace, he spoke to his employee about his problems and the employee helped him and two other immigrants by arranging one of the workers that had been a teacher before, to come and help them.
Seth couldn't catch up without a teacher like Karin Mellhammar, the special teacher he had previously. So Seth tried to find means to help the other innocent dyslexic people in Ghana, as well as Africa as whole. Because he saw that there were other Africans with different nationalites that also had problems with school due to the fact that they didn't know that they had dyslexia.

The vision
So this is what gives Seth peace in mind; to help organize by creating awareness about dyslexia in Africa. Seth tried as much as possible, but his dreams were not being fullfilled in the way he wanted it to be. He met some different people in Sweden and they could help him.
Seth contacted a woman to recieve help in order to make his vision into reality. He asked her to write down some of his primary visions into a paper. This letter was
then sent to anyone who could help Seth. The only one who replied was Mr Nils Phillips. Nils Phillips is a public entrepenur who helped Seth by sending mails to recycling companies in order to get furniture and such to Seth's land that Seth owns in Ghana, and also to Malmö Högskola (College). This collaboration began after Nils had read some of Seth's primary visions. Unfortunately, Mr Phillips only recieved declinement from the companies which made him and Seth discouraged.

The friend
Kevin Luis Pérez is a young man who is working with the Red Cross. He wanted to help people in need of assistance. The two men met and Seth made him know that he has been working with the Red Cross before. He had been asking for help from the Red Cross to help Africans with dyslexia. Maybe the Red Cross could assist him with his vision?
The Red Cross said that they couldn’t help him unless he was a member. So Seth told Kevin that his request was turned down by the headquarters of the Red Cross in Värnhem, Malmö. Maybe they didn't understand him, or maybe it was because of his dyslexic language? Kevin took Seth's phone number and said he will check with the headquarters in the Red Cross if they could help him. Kevin called him back and said first that he was sorry that things couldn't go well with the Red Cross. But he wanted to help him and share his vision.
For over 7 years, for the impregnated vision to be born which wasen't possible to be born until he met Kevin Luis Pérez. Seth could see from within 3-4 months, his impregnated vision started to kick in and becoming alive because this assistance Kevin, who listened to Seth and wrote down the vision. Without writing and keeping records, the vision could not be accomplished.
Through the ideas, Kevin started to go to the right places in which he thought could help this vision.
Without Kevin, the vision would not have reached where it has now been. He is the one who was holding the torch to pave the way for Seth's vision to light, which previously was in darkness.
The only way to make this vision a reality, was to turn it into a NGO (Non-governmental Organization). Kevin helped Seth by reading and writing, for things to be in order and in a understanding way.

Kevin's story
I used to work in the Swedish Red Cross out of a personal desire to help people who are in desperate situations. This since I myself was helped by an organisation called "Save the Children's Music Project”. There I was guided and inspired by it's concept and teaching through the founder himself: Mikael Svennebrandt.
Ever since that, I wanted to start a similiar project/NGO to help children and youth who are cast out from society by either drug addiction, poverty, criminality, disabilities or domestic violence. I had experienced through all these situation with my own past. So when I met Seth for the first time in the streets where he was working for the Red Cross, I got to hear similiar ideas and personal experiences. I got inspired and wanted to help Seth with his vision to become reality. I have a diagnos called Grav Språkstörning (severe language disorder) and my best friend has dyslexia as well.
Ever since, me and Seth have been in contact and by every meeting we've shared personal experiences and situations because of our diagnoses and background. It then sparked a strong friendship between us, which later would become a powerful weapon for the foundation of Seth's vision.
To keep this vision going on, Seth cannot be alone, and we've decided to create an organisation with other people, as Seth has been advised to do previously. We tried to talk to people about it and the only people who developed heart to join was Mr Jonathan Dadzie, Mr Kof Asiedu, Mr Kobi Washington and Mr Joseph Colin.
One of the visions was to meet univeristy authourities in order to get help from them, by letting some of their students to come to do volunteer work in Ghana through

the vision of the organisation. We were then having several meetings with Dr Lisbeth Ohlsson who is a researcher and university lecturer for special needs teacher program, to see if we could have some of the students to do student exchange program with ghanian students who are yet to be future teachers. This so that they can be trained for children who has special needs from a teacher. We also discussed about that there might be fully trained teachers in Africa, that would like to upgrade their teaching field to children with special needs. To the first organized meeting, she sent two collegues that showed interest about Seth's vision, and the two collegues were: Lotta Andersson and Elsa Fosiack, who later become members of the organisation. 

No comments:

Post a Comment