13-year-old Afriyie suffers with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis -a form of arthritis in children and adolescents that causes persistent joint pain, swelling and stiffness. In addition,
Afriyie has Avascular Necrosis, a disease resulting in the loss of the blood supply to the bones. This has led to the wearing of her left hip socket and also causes Afriyie to experience a great deal of pain causing mobility issues that make walking a challenge.
Afriyie’s health challenge causes her to regularly be absent from school, which has a huge impact on her social development, as her mum, Pokuaa explains:
“Missing school has meant that Afriyie has struggled establishing and maintaining friendship groups, as by the time she returns to school, the people she thought she had built friendships with have moved on and developed friendships with others. I know that this makes her feel lonely and like she is not ‘normal.’”
Pokuaa and Afriyie discovered camp in 2017 when she first attended a health challenge camp. It was such a positive experience for her that she applied and attended again in 2018.
“Camp, without a doubt, has had a huge impact on Afriyie.” Adds Pokuaa. “Right from the moment of her arrival she was able to make connections with girls in her group. After camp the volunteers gave us feedback that was a delight to hear. They told me how she was ‘an asset to her group, empathetic to her peers, that she was a leader- and that she was funny!’”
“At camp she felt so special, it changed her. She had a moment of realisation when she said to herself- ‘do you know what? I am ok! I can make friends- there’s nothing wrong with me!’ When she got home Afriyie said camp was one of the best experiences of her life.”
Afriyie attended our 20th anniversary bash in 2019 and gave a moving testimonial about her time with Over The Wall, saying:
“After weeks of persuasion I reluctantly allowed my mum to fill out the application, and to her joy I was offered a place… however, I was still not excited. So when the day for camp finally arrived, my mum was so excited I thought she was going to camp! I was apprehensive and nervous because I was entering the unknown, a new environment with people I didn’t know, a different bed, no wi-fi, and the fear of being alone. However, once at camp I felt so welcome and included that it felt like home. I was able to experience things that I didn’t think were possible with my condition, like rock climbing, archery and fishing. I was able to realise that I could do anything I put my mind to and my condition does not define me….”
See the full clip below.