The Acquah family – Ursula, Akwele, Akuorkor and Francis.
Image: Francis Acquah
‘I was born in Ghana, of the Ga tribe in West Africa, and later trained as a general and psychiatric nurse in England.
‘My wife and I migrated to Australia, where our twins were born at St Vincent’s Hospital. Akwele was fine but Akuorkor was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She is now 20 years old, and although she needs full-time care she can walk with our help. It was a great achievement when her twin, Akwele, taught her to feed herself from a cup.
‘Don’t rely on the system. You will definitely be disappointed. Akuorkor was on a waiting list for 16 years for residential accommodation, and yet was recently turned down without explanation. We had respite placements to give us time with Akwele and to do chores, but then they cut it. This was a small but tangible thing for my family, yet they took it away. My advice is to be proactive. Don’t follow the system. Get out there and find what’s available. Utilise things that are important for your family to survive!’