SOS villages Ghana is an excellent organisation centred around the many orphaned children that it serves. It’s mission; to make life better for all of the children in its care currently and in the future across the whole of Ghana in any way that they can.
@lisajaneashes and I are here on behalf of @WWEPuk and @ITLWorldwide to meet the teachers and to help, guide and support them to become the very best they can be. Of the teachers we have met so far in Tema they are passionate about making a difference so all of their children in their classes learn well, speak well, make the progress they need to successfully complete the English, Maths, social sciences exams so that they can access a good secondary school. The better secondary schools attended by children in Ghana opens up a wide range of opportunities and thus more successful life for those individuals will be. Sadly in Ghana not all young people access the best education but it is the vision of SOS Village Schools that education is radically improved to ensure that all children have access to ‘quality education’.
Children coming in to a village often have suffered trauma and loss, almost certainly poverty that you and I have will have rarely encountered nor experienced. It is heartbreaking to scratch the surface and hear about some of the experiences of some children here in Ghana. The children live with a ‘mama’ the mama is in charge of up to 10 children and has two aunties to help her support, care for, love, clothes, cook and educate the children. She becomes their mother. The mamas are trained for three years they are closely monitored and supported in a variety of techniques to best help the children. The mama’s alongside the children’s educational experiences and the teachers at SOS Village Schools here in Ghana work earnestly to ensure the children understand right and wrong, have morals and values as well as good behaviour and making sure the children complete a range of chores to a high standard. The mamas are absolute angels and take their work extremely seriously leaving their own families behind to work. In Tema we had the privilege to meet Mama Juliette who cared deeply for Lisa and I ensuring that we had all we needed throughout our time there. She cooked delicious food for us and brought this from her home to ours so Lisa and I did not have to cook nor worry about doing this. We have been very well cared for by her. She welcomed us in to her heart and she will always remain in ours.
On Sunday evening we met her children, they greeted us with smiles, laughter and absolute joy in their eyes opening our hands with their urgent little dexterous fingers to grasp our hands tightly. The older children wanted to help us carry our things taking them from our shoulders whilst also sussing us out. The children were very interested in us and word spread like wildfire that the two visitors from England were in their midsts and suddenly we had 40-50 children who all wanted to meet us, speak to us and find out all about us and England. There was an array of children from 3 years old through to young men and women in their twenties. The older teenagers glanced from afar secretly intrigued but like all teenagers, far too cool to show it. Though after the initial mayhem of the younger children mauling and crawling over us some dared to make the break from friends and the football match to come across, their intrigue finally getting the better of them.
Thanks to @musicmind (who shared this little gem off an app with me) I whipped out my phone and showed them YAKIT KIDS, an amazing interactive app which caused absolute delight amongst the children. To the point where so many of them wanted to create one. These children laughed hysterically as they focused on creating faces and adding their voice recordings. We had such fun, the children desperate to play with this. There are a selection of videos here:
We had brought with us some of the pencils donated to ITL (thank you to all that sent them) so after a short but intense while we put away the tech and wanted to get an understanding about their school experiences. We chatted to them about what the it teachers and classrooms looked, smelled and felt like initially and Lisa had the idea of encouraging those who wanted to to draw them for us. This was especially interesting as the children wouldn’t initially commit coloured pencil to paper and needed guidance or support. Lisa drew her classroom as an example and having seen this they set to work with glee. See a selection below: It is interesting that classrooms are similar with these children having access to desks, chairs, exercise books and stationery. It appears that the Victorian style of teacher at the front children sit in rows is still a feature in many classrooms across the globe.
The children opened up and shared their likes and dislikes about school and when questioned about their aspirations I was awestruck to hear the range of professions that the children had set their sights on. Their teachers and mamas clearly have high expectations of them and despite many of the children being of primary and junior school ages they were very clear on the direction of their lives. We heard of aspirations to be doctors, teachers and gynaecologists. I was particularly humbled to hear the response from Martha aged 13 who has set her sights on being a gynaecologist, her reasons are because the mortality rate of new born babies and their mothers are very high. She spoke purposefully about how she will care for and support the mothers along their amazing journeys to birth to ensure excellent health of the mother and the child. She went on to say that although she can learn this at university here in Ghana that it would be her dream to travel to several countries outside of Africa to learn new and modern techniques to bring back to Ghana to help other healthcare professional by cascading the training to her peers here in Ghana to further educate whilst also improving healthcare for mothers and the neonatal system in Ghana. This young lady took my breath away and the calm and quiet passion with which she spoke will stay with me for quite some time. Martha (pink tshirt, front right) with her friends and family.
Life is hard, brutal even for orphaned children living in Ghana unless they come to an SOS Village school where they are cared for, loved and given access to a new family, healthcare and education however this is all extremely expensive and SOS Village Schools are doing the best they can with the means they have. If you would like to support the work of these big hearted professionals making a real difference here in Ghana then please follow the link below to read more and donate. One English pound is worth much much more here so even a small donation will help to change lives. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pedagoos4n
Also please take a moment to look at the fantastic work being completed worldwide by @WWEPuk the charity for which Lisa and I have the privilege to be working here for. http://www.wwep.org.uk/projects
From @lisajaneashes and I as well as the children in Ghana, thank you.