Braille literacy competitions are a great way to inspire students to learn braille by recognizing and rewarding them for their academic achievements. The Braille Cup – Ghana, was a braille literacy competition that was held in Ghana on January 31, 2012, at Okuapemman Senior High School, just outside of Accra. It was the country’s first national braille competition and was principally organized by two organizations in Ghana, the Ghana Blind Union and the Special Education Division of the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with Perkins School for the Blind.
The theme of the competition was, “unleashing the potential of the visually impaired,” and forty-six students, aged 9-19, from eleven schools along with teachers, dignitaries, volunteers and supporters participated. All the competition materials were developed in cooperation with Braille Institute Ltd. in the United States, an organization with wealth of experience in organizing The Braille Challenge®. Students in all divisions were examined for skills in: reading comprehension, reading fluency, spelling, proofreading, plus oral presentation of an original essay. In the last category the students wrote essays on, “What learning braille means to me,” where they were judged on the content and oral presentation of the essay. Winning students received cash prizes and winning schools received Perkins Braillewriters that were generously donated by the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust. There were also three silver cup trophies that participating schools competed for in each of the three divisions of the competition: Primary Division, Junior High School Division and Senior High School Division. The competition was so successful that it was decided to make the competition an annual event and other countries in Africa are expressing interest in creating their own national braille literacy competition, to inspire students to stay in school and keep learning braille.