The day of Tilata’s birth was one of joyful celebration for her parents Zinabu and Laar. In a small village in northern Ghana, their baby girl was delivered safely, all smiles and in perfect health.

A few years later, Tilata’s life changed drastically.

Tilata was just two years old when she caught polio. The disease caused paralysis in her legs and she required a lot of extra care from her parents. As she grew up, Tilata started to feel like a burden to her family.

Perched on a chair indoors, Tilata would watch while her siblings played outside. The little girl was also kept home from school because it was too difficult to get her there.

Tilata never imagined her life would change as it did. But years later, after being referred to the PWS&D-supported Garu Community Based Rehabilitation Centre in Ghana, her hope for a fulfilling, joyful future was restored.

The centre—which assists people with disabilities to overcome challenges—provided Tilata with physiotherapy, leg braces and a pair of crutches. Being able to move independently was a huge turning point.

Things only improved from there. In addition to physical support, Tilata was offered classes in weaving. She learned the craft with speed and enthusiasm. To help her earn a sustainable income, the program gave her with a loom and materials to open her own shop.

Today, Tilata runs her own business selling her handmade garments. On the side, she works as a weaving instructor for five young students in her community. Tilata is also married with one child, has grown to be greatly admired within her community and is a role model for others living with disabilities.

Tilata’s words of gratitude demonstrate the meaningful change that is possible when we advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and support individuals to realize their full potential: “I appreciate your work. I am grateful to you and your partners in Canada for making my life meaningful. God bless you.”