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Three final-year Public Health Nursing students of University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) have launched an initiative that will equip cured lepers with skills to enhance their livelihoods and wellbeing.

“Restore Me” project, launched at the Lepers Village, Ho-Agortorme on 5 September 2020, will train cured lepers to manufacture bags, shoes and beadwork for a period of three months to help enhance their lives.

The project team named ETATI —Empowerment to Achieve the Impossible— emerged one of five teams that made it to the finals in a social innovation challenge supported by UNICEF Ghana, Generation Unlimited, Ashesi University, UNDP and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This won each team a grant of One Thousand U.S. Dollars ($1,000.00) to implement their projects. Based on their projects, ETATI and another team were then chosen to represent Ghana in the Generation Unlimited Global Challenge, slated for this October in the United States of America.

The Team Lead of ETATI, Prosper Junior Anatsui, explained that during their community engagement, they observed that cured lepers at Ho- Agortorme Leprosarium have remained unemployed and dependent on donations from philanthropists and benevolent organisations. They also observed that even though they are physically challenged, most of them have expressed interest in acquiring new skills. He also said that an earlier pilot of the initiative had shown great prospect in helping alleviate the plight of the cured lepers.

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The other two members of the team, Emmanuel Amo Nyarko and Beatrice Gyampo, are all final year students, pursuing Bachelor of Public Health Nursing at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UHAS.

Professor Ernestina Safoa Donkor, Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, who chaired the event, highly commended the initiators for their innovation and for making their studies at UHAS relevant to solving societal challenges. She assured them of the University’s support for such initiatives, saying, “We appreciate what our students have engaged themselves in. As a result, we are here to throw our weight behind them.”

Team ETATI presented three sewing machines, equipment for making shoes, tie-and-dye textile materials, leather materials and threads to the beneficiaries.