Frank with his father at Nansongdo
“I need to get these two clutches right away from my bed or I will have to sit here, says Frank Jilima, “This is how life is treating me right now.”
Frank carries clutches in both arms as he approaches his vehicles, trucks, drones, houses, and airplanes made of cardboard and tin cans. These two clutches aid Frank to get to his workshop, which is a roomy space within his family house where he designs and manufactures artificial automobiles among others.
The 13-year-old can not walk because he lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident in 2020 when he was returning from the Chamba community back to the family house.
He went to buy sandals and other educational materials to prepare for school and was on a bicycle when the tricycle rider knocked him down.
Residents say the rider attempted to dodge the young boy but the deplorable nature of the road eluded him. The incident has tied Frank to his house and ‘workshop’’.
From a top view, the surroundings of the sixth-grader machines resemble a contemporary airport, complete with various automobiles waiting on the tarmac for an airplane to arrive.
Frank has a fire tender in the fleet of things he designed and produced to the admiration of residents and visitors. All works perfectly and could move around the workshop.
Frank’s father, Jilima Addo, said that their son was intelligent from birth, but no one can explain how he acquired his super engineering intelligence.
Frank was born healthy, strong, and smart in Nansongdo, in the Nanumba North District in the Northern region until the 3-year-old unforeseen incident left him without prospects.
His dream of becoming an engineer is hanging on the balance like a rotten thread as Frank said the condition doesn’t make him see anything beautiful about the present and the future.
“I don’t see anything bright in my future. When things have been so tough, and even when I try very hard to deal, it gets much more difficult,” Frank explained.
Frank has lost cheerleaders and schoolmates who were supportive of his ambition to become an engineer; they presumably felt he had given up.
Frank has undergone a couple of treatments, the most recent of which was surgery at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, but his condition has not improved, making his life extremely difficult to cope with.
Mr. Addo, Frank’s father, occasionally wishes his son’s leg may be severed to alleviate his son’s agony. Frank is also continually pushing for that wish to offer relief to the family.
“Sometimes he hides inside and doesn’t talk to anyone for the entire day because he is upset about his situation,” Mr. Addo explained.
He said he has done all a parent could do since 2020, including spending all of the family savings to bring respite to the young creative, and gifted Frank, but it has been futile.
To treat Frank’s condition, Mr. Addo was obliged to sell a car he used to transport farmers’ goods to the marketplace to raise money for the family’s upkeep.
“We spent over 10,000 cedis on therapy at the Tamale Teaching Hospital over eight months.”
“When we were freed, we were requested to come for review every month from 2020 to the present, and you can imagine how much time we spent commuting from Nansongdo to Chamba, Salaga, and Tamale.”
Frank’s father says they tried using the traditional way of treatment but that could not work as well.
Some of the items manufactured
“I want to be an engineer in the future, so I’m working hard to learn how to do everything I see or envision, but I know my ambition won’t come true unless I have an education,” Frank said when DGN Online visited him at the Nansongdo community.
The Nansongdo community does not have a Junior High School, and Frank could go to Chamba, a 5-kilometer nearby community, to get an education in his condition, so he dropped out in 2020 when the incident occurred.
If everything had remained the same and Frank had proceeded to Junior High School, his ambition of becoming an engineer would have begun with the current senior high school group.
“Whenever I see my colleagues heading to school without me, I feel depressed and demotivated.” He said
Assemblymember for Chamba East Electoral Area, Jauri Canad, said that most students in the Nansongdo community dropped out after primary six since the community lacks a junior high school.
Since 2020, the year Frank was involved in the disaster, about 100 students had dropped out of school.
He indicated that some parents who do not want their children to drop out of school are being compelled to rent rooms in Chamba at a cost o Gh 70 a month for their children to remain in town or to rent a motorcycle daily at a cost of Gh 10 to take their children from Nansongdo village to Chamba for their wards to have access to school.
“Sometimes, youngsters whose parents rented apartments for them in town pretend to attend school while staying in town and doing unpleasant things around them, and eventually they drop out of school,” he said.
He bemoaned the dangers of students trekking for more than an hour from the Nansongdo community to Chamba to access education.
“During the rainy season, the youngsters are unable to get to Chamba because their bridge in Nansongdo village becomes flooded and inaccessible. We have made many requests for the bridge to be constructed, but to no effect.”
Mr. Jacob Biligo, Frank’s primary teacher, hailed him as a top student with a lot to offer society.
“We were fortunate to have such a youngster in our school, and we hope that he receives the necessary assistance to continue his education.”
Frank’s brilliance, according to him, is utilized to inspire other pupils to be imaginative and creative to tackle social difficulties.
Frank’s father is consequently asking people, businesses, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to come to his aid to help his family obtain medical treatment so that he may recover and return to school to pursue his ambition of being an engineer in the future.
“We don’t want Frank’s skill to go to waste and so we are asking for help from individuals or NGOs who can help to come to our rescue and support Frank. He is eager to return to school in the future to become an engineer, so please assist us.”
Frank Jilima with the items he manufactured
Persons with disabilities’ response
Mr. Mohammed Seidu Changti, former Northern Regional Chairman of Persons Living with Disability, told DGN Online that Persons Living with Disabilities with special talent do not receive the attention they require from stakeholders.
People with Disabilities, he believes, should be given priority access to education at all levels to enhance their capabilities to be able to withstand the world’s challenges.
“Most people with disabilities are unable to compete for white-collar occupations, hence access and priority should be provided to them.”
He called for policy direction for Persons Living with Disabilities in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) with support such as training, scholarships, workshops, and skill upgrading, among other things.
Sustainable Development Goal 4 which Ghana is signed onto calls for ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all but the condition of Farnk could deny this opportunity.
FROM Eric Kombat, Nansongdo