By Stephanie Offei-Ntow
Kiddy Garden Nursery is the brainchild of sister – Vanetta and Vemilleon Ackah. Following a trip to Ghana, the sisters decided to setup Kiddy Garden Nursery which provides high quality and specialised education and healthcare services for children 6 months to 6 years. They ran an inclusive curriculum which accommodates children with and without learning disabilities.
Kiddy Garden Nursery provide Learning Disabilities consultancy and access Speech Therapists, Psychologist and Neurologist between Ghana and UK. They design child friendly environment such as sensory rooms and play areas and train teachers, health professionals and other institutes on child health care with inclusion.
Their efforts have been recognised by the GUBA Awards and we interview to find out more.
Congratulations on your nomination for the Efie Ne Fie Award! How do you feel about it?
We are very excited and appreciate the platform that GUBA has given us, in order to highlight and promote childcare services.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do
We (Vanetta and Vemilleon Ackah) are two sisters out of six siblings. We grew up in a South London home to young parents who had not returned to their motherland Ghana. Growing up in Waterloo, a predominantly white area, we had no awareness of our culture and we decided to take a trip, where we discovered the true reflection of Ghana. After several trips, we both made a decision to take bold steps and move to Ghana. Together we combined our experiences and developed Kiddy Garden Nursery International: Where seeds grow.
My name is Vanetta Ackah and I am a mother of three. I studied Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Nursing and transferred my skills and knowledge to operate inclusion and health promotion working alongside Senior Health Professionals, Teachers Institute and their Local Authority. My eldest son Joshua, who had Autism and was unable to speak is now independent and is able to communicate fluently after working alongside school and health professionals, which is a concept I now train in Ghana.
My name is Vemilleon Ackah and I am also a mother. I graduated from the University of Arts London as a 3D Architectural Designer. I designed the whole nursey and currently manage the finance department. I currently also look after an on-going project for the children’s clinic. In addition, I also have three years EFYS curriculum and work experience at Morning Star Nursery located in Tottenham, London.
Why would you say you deserve to win?
We deserve to win because we are dedicated advocates for child development and learning disabilities. Part of our profits also goes towards projects within the Health and Childcare system. For example we conducted a health screening with the help of Otobia hospital, which involved bringing in a LD nurse from NHS England and screening all the children in our nursery. We also collaborate with other educational institutes that need expert advice about inclusion. We believe we deserve to win because our efforts back in Ghana, demonstrate that despite having grown up in the UK as British Ghanaians and not being given the opportunity to learn about our culture and language, we are resilient and determined to effectively contribute towards improving Ghana’s Health and Childcare system.
Furthermore, we also have structured our nursery to provide opportunities for international parents abroad that come for the holidays to allow their children to embrace their culture. We also admit 3rd year students and graduates to acquire practical experience working in early years, which has given us a further project to work on course modules that improve child and health care development.
We have over 14 employees and we believe in giving back. We have established a reward system that enables individuals to obtain a discount on accommodation and course fees through the integrity and hard work they have shown. In addition, parents are able to receive expert advice on milestones for their children such as deworming, teething and learning disabilities. All these facilities we have created allow parents to rest assured their children are safeguarded.
What motivates you and your work?
A key motivation for us is playing a role in reducing poverty in family homes and to provide an educational institute that is open for long hours during the day and that will also provide a safe environment for children. This will enable mothers to further their education or work to support their family homes. Furthermore, we also seek to provide access to a child friendly environment that promotes other curriculum such as dance, music and sensory rooms. Seeing the delight on children’s faces and establishing an opportunity that furthers their development always motivates our passion working with children.
What are your thoughts on the GUBA Awards?
The GUBA awards are an excellent platform that inspires young entrepreneurs such as ourselves to have an effective impact in local and regional areas within Ghana. GUBA awards recognises current project work intended to better the nation.
Are you involved in any other projects?
We are currently involved in raising funds to develop a mobile clinic that advocates learning disabilities and sensory advice to schools that also provides health assessments for schools. We are also working with Cape Coast University and Nursing Midwifery Ghana to develop current modules for special needs children. Furthermore, we are working with Teachers Training Institute on the new pre school institute which will be ready by 2019. We are also collaborating with OMEP Ghana to produce presentations to improve policies on early childhood development attended by government officials and press. Finally, we are also working on finalising a mobile app that enables schools and parents to access homework and additional information on their child’s development.
Kiddy Garden Nursery has been nominated for the Efie Ne Fie award, to cast your vote, visit http://www.gubaawards.co.uk/voting/efie-ne-fie/