Ghana Together News Updates

Ghana Together works with our Ghanaian friends of Western Heritage Home, a Ghanaian-registered and managed non-profit, to improve social, educational, and health conditions in Axim, Ghana. Together we accomplish projects, connect WHH to resourceful individuals and organizations, and create sustainable programs. We make a real difference to real people in a local, grassroots effort. Our website at http://ghanatogether.org tells our story.

Dec 8, 2018

Progress!

Ghana Together supports education. Let’s not stop now!


To help us in 2019...go here!


During 2018 we supported so many students in one way or another. Here are many of them!








779 students paid a small fee and are now registered Axim Public Library members. Thanks to the mobile library serving 17 schools, they checked out at least 10,000 books 2018.



The Axim Public Library has 969 more books now than they had in 2017.



The library’s computer labs, for both children and adults, are running, thanks to help with electricity and a new printer.



Some 400+ senior high girls are learning more with Internet-in-a-Box, science and math videos, and a new printer/copier to help out their teachers.




Several hundred nursing students have up-to-date medical information, thanks to the Wiki-Med “internet-in-a-box” type devices installed in two nursing schools.




 


We wish we could magically transport all of our generous supporters to Ghana so you could visit these schools, talk with the students, and get a sense of the energy and enthusiasm they share!

Dorothy's graduation photo says it all!!



THANKS!


Nov 12, 2018

Making Leaders of the Least!

Wow! She DID it! 

This very morning, in Takoradi, Ghana, Western Heritage Home Scholar Dorothy Armoo formally went through her graduation from Asanta Nursing/Midwifery College and her induction ceremony into the Ghana National Health Service.

She is now a certified professional nurse!

Nov 12, 2018
Dorothy has been "one of ours" since 2006. She was a child who needed a home. Western Heritage Home Chairman James Kainyiah found her and brought to live at their Children's Home. She became a "Western Heritage Home Scholar".

She learned to spell her name! She attended nearby Manye Academy. She graduated from Nsein Senior High School. Her dream from when she was a small child was to become a nurse. And she has achieved her dream! 



James Kainyiah and Dorothy after her graduation ceremony. He is the proud "father," having provided overall care for her for so many years!

Western Heritage Home's motto is: "Making Leaders of the Least." And Dorothy is a prime example!

Ghana Together has worked hand-in-hand with WHH to support Dorothy for many years. We especially thank her "special sponsor" who has been so faithful. 

Dorothy herself worked as a kindergarten teacher for one year, while she waited acceptance into nursing school after graduating senior high. And she's been supporting herself as part of the Lou Moon Lodge cleaning staff for a few months between end of classes and today's formal induction. Now she awaits assignment to her national service post. 

Congratulations Dorothy! We are proud!



For earlier News Updates and to subscribe: http://ghanatogether.blogspot.com/
808 Addison Place
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Email: info@ghanatogether.org







Oct 16, 2018

October News Update from Ghana

We sadly say good-bye to Queen Mother Nana Adjow-Sika, who passed away last week.  What a loss to the Axim community! 

Nana served on the Western Heritage Board since its first day. She was a co-signer on all WHH bank checks. Because of her knowledge of the Axim community and families, she was crucial in helping select our scholarship students. 

Nana, second from left in rose-colored dress, with James' arm affectionately on her shoulder. She was part of the Western Heritage Home NGO team from the beginning.

Nana with her beloved Nyame quilt, made for her by Ghana Together's Jerome Chandler. The symbol in the middle is the traditional Ghanaian Adinkra symbol for God. It is revered and found widely on buildings, windows, clothing, etc.

Interested especially in girls’ education and maternal health, she was proud of her role in creating a purpose-built maternal health center at the hospital. She counselled innumerable girls, and a few guys, too, in how to wisely handle the mysteries of human reproduction!

Students, especially girls from the Axim Girls Senior High School, use the path past her simple home and market stand as a short-cut on their walk to school. She knew the students and never failed to encourage them in their studies as they passed by.

She tried hard to gather the region’s Queen Mothers on a regular basis, to work together especially for women and children’s issues. She was highly respected in the community. She and Maryanne Ward of Ghana Together became friends over the years. All of us of Ghana Together knew and respected her and we will miss her.
Nana and Ghana Together's Maryanne Ward having a nice conversation in May, 2018 in her home. Good friends!

On other news, we are delighted to report that Western Heritage Home Scholars Kingsley Lamin and Peter Assuah have been accepted at Takoradi Technical University. They began classes on Oct 1---Kingsley in Advanced Welding/Fabrication and Peter in Computer Science.
Peter (left) and Kingsley just a couple of days ago. They are "brothers", both having lived in the Children's Home in their early years and Axim boys forever
Remember the Heritage Building, which Western Heritage Home began building, and we joined in to help via the Seattle-based non-profit Global Citizen Journey and the Boeing Corporation…before Ghana Together was even in existence? 

For about 5 years or so it was a Children’s Home. Then, when the Ghana government closed children’s homes, it became a dormitory for girls attending the then-new Axim Girls Senior High School.

Now, the girls’ high school has its own dormitory, and WHH has found a new way to help the community. The Heritage is now a hostel for workers putting up a new seawall to protect Axim from the rising ocean! This is at least a two-year project.  
This is a great use of the building because Axim is rather isolated, and there is really no other accommodation within reasonable distance of the shoreline for the 25-30 temporary workers. They travel to the seawall area by a short bus ride provided by the contractor. The contractor has provided a caretaker to clean and maintain the building. 




WHH has used the initial rent funds to paint the building inside and out, repair the roof, and repair some of the windows, etc. on the inside.  They plan to modify the inside with more partitions, to better accommodate the workers. Longer term, they will use the rent funds for their charitable projects in the community.
Beginning work on sea defense. They first had to build a road so they can get the heavy equipment to the area

And, thanks to Barry and Regina, Ebby Mienza, George Hayford, and who knows how many other generous folks, there are another 969 children’s books at the Axim Public Library, ready to go out to 17 schools via the tricycle/mobile library. Those kids are going to learn to read no matter what!
Unpacking the boxes of books, readying them for delivery to 17 primary schools, via the tricycle-mobile library.

And that's it for this time! Thanks to all for helping with scholarship funds, AND for donating, packing, shipping, and delivering the books to the Axim Library! Whew! 
And thanks to the Western Heritage Home folks for all the work involved in turning the Heritage building into a hostel for construction workers. Not so easy and a real community service!

Ghana Together
808 Addison Place
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Email: info@ghanatogether.org



Sep 18, 2018

OK, you guys, break is over...

OK, you guys, time to get to work…

Oh yes, it’s been fun playing on the beach for the past 3 weeks or so... 


Or helping Mom with her market stand...


Or doing your nursing practicums in a hospital... 


And, yes, Kundum Festival is OVER. The music was great, the food was plentiful, the drumming, the dancing!! After all, it’s a festival meant to thank God for harvest and food and family…what a celebration! But good things do end...


Lots of drumming, with guys in funny costumes!


And so much DANCING...

 BUT, now it’s time for school. Time for you students to do your part, yes! And you will LOVE it!


Methodist JHS in Axim, in classroom renovated by Western Heritage Home & Ghana Together

After all, your country is trying its best to get you all educated. As of this year, Kindergarten through all three years of Senior High School is tuition-free and boarding if warranted. Your schools are jam-packed! But we know, for some of you, help is still needed.

--You may live in an isolated fishing community, way too far from a government school to reasonably walk and the closest school is private… like Maako School in a small fishing village...

Maako Preparatory School
--Or you may attend a vocational school, which are not yet tuition-free... 

Male students at Community Development Vocational/Technical Institute who helped build their school's urine diversification/dehydration toilet

Or you may have done very well in senior high and are now in nursing or technical college…with substantial costs. Or one of the many other reasons why school may still be difficult...

So, we’ve helped Western Heritage Home, our affiliates in Ghana, support:
  • 2 pupils in Manye Academy
  • 2 students in Asanta Nursing
  • 1 student in Ghana National College Senior High for the Blind
  • 10 students in Axim Community Development Vocational Technical Institute
  • 40 pupils in Axim Christ the King Academy
  • 15 pupils in Esiama Maako Future Leaders Preparatory School
  • 1 student in Takoradi Technical University

We thank our fellow "investors" and our dedicated Western Heritage Home colleagues who have made it possible for these 71 students to go to school.
OK kids!! Now it's up to you!! 
To contact us: info@ghanatogether.org
For prior News Updates: http://ghanatogether.blogspot.com



Jun 27, 2018

"Meat and potatoes" at AGSHS


Our last News Update was so satisfying for us---Graduations! Missions accomplished! Young people launching the next phase of their lives!
This one is more prosaic…but we want to share it anyway because it’s just so great in its own way…J

First a bit of background:

In 2009. Axim started its Axim Girls Senior High School with 23 students, after years of work and the support of Chief Awulae, Member of Parliament Catherine Afeku, Founding Headmistress Mrs. Bonku, businessman and Western Heritage Home Chairman James Kainyiah, and so many other local leaders. As Chief Awulae said so many times:

 “Educate a woman and you educate a family.”

AGSHS became “certified” as an accredited senior high in 2012. We published a News Update about it back then: http://ghanatogether.blogspot.com/2012/05/axim-ghana-all-girls-senior-high-school.html.

We’ve helped the school a bit over the years---some science resources, scientific calculators, “Science News” magazines, internet-in-a-boxes, a few scholarships, renovated a building to be an assembly/dining/meeting hall, and repaired the damaged school bus. The Tullow Oil Company came through with 2 classroom buildings, a 200-bed dormitory, and two computer labs.

By September of 2016, the Axim Girls Senior High School had 88 new first-year students. Each student paid hefty fees for tuition, books, lab fees, supplies, and room and board….beyond most families economically…especially for daughters.

Then…WHAT A CHANGE! The newly-elected Ghanaian government implemented the long-held national dream/promise to focus on education—for sons AND daughters. It started funding “free” academic senior high school for newly incoming freshman---even including room and board if needed.

What a change! AGSHS had 210 new first-year incoming students in September 2017!
The “free” SHS has now extended to all three years. So, when Maryanne Ward visited the school in May 2018, there were just over 350 students in the entire school. More than 500 are expected in September 2018! We are hoping/praying that Ghana can somehow keep this all going…not easy.

What a challenge for Principal Madame Theodora Appiah and her staff! To go from 23 students to more than 500 in not quite 10 years! 

When Maryanne asked what she needed, Madame smiled. 

---How about a new dorm for 500 girls? Completely furnished! And yes, with modern toilets, showers… and please throw in a completely reliable source of water
---Always-on electricity would certainly be welcome! 
---And, oh, could you throw in a complete, fully-equipped science lab so the girls don’t have to take the bus to Nsein Senior High School, a half-hour ride each way at least, way over in the next town, for once-in-a-while physics and chemistry labs…since, of course (!), they are deeply into “STEM”--- teaching those girls science and technology and math... 
--- and, oh, for sure…we need an assembly/dining hall that’s at least 3 times as big…and…
Well, all that was a bit beyond our bank account, but we did settle on Mrs. Appiah’s TOP PRIORITY…a...PHOTOCOPIER/PRINTING MACHINE

Yes! That we could manage, so...our Ghanaian Western Heritage Home Operations Manager Evans Arloo traveled to some schools to check on their machines, and to the city of Takoradi, and here we are...in time for the September start of the 2018-2019 school year!
How does this thing work, anyway??



Wow! 21st Century Technology Coming to good old Axim!!



Principal Theodora Appiah and Her New Machine! Thanks you all!


And, well, if you know someone who can help her with all the other stuff, you know who to contact!

Ghana Together
website: http://ghanatogether.org
email: info@ghanatogether.org










Jun 11, 2018

They DID It!!

Remember those Western Heritage Home Scholars(?)…the ones we’ve written so much about over the years? Well, as of about a week ago, SIX of them have graduated!

And we are pleased to give each of the four senior high graduates the “Leif Pederson Graduation Award” in the amount of $300 US --- about 3-4 months income for basic work in Axim, Ghana.

We lost Leif, one of Ghana Together’s founding members, in 2010, but the children remember “Uncle Leif”, and his computers and just his fun ways with them, and we know he would be so very proud of them.

We got to know all six because they spent their early years living in the Western Heritage Children’s Home. Western Heritage Home, our associate NGO in Ghana, and we have supported these young men and women in one way or another since 2007, so yes, we are proud of them!

Western Heritage Home Children in 2007. Our newest graduates are somewhere in this pic!

Dorothy has graduated with an Nursing Associate degree from the Asante Nursing School. She will be placed by the Ghanaian Government in a locale needing medical staff in the near future. Meanwhile, she is supporting herself by working with the cleaning staff at the Lou Moon Resort not far from Axim.

Peter graduated from Nsein Senior High School. He took all the "extra" classes in science and math, and dreams of becoming a computer engineer. His WASSCE test scores (like our SAT) will be available in September. Meanwhile, he is considering offers for two teacher positions (math and science skills are scarce and so even at this stage he can help younger students) and/or a position in a bank until his future educational plans materialize.

Ernestina (left) and Gifty have graduated from Axim Girls Senior High School. Both have already had some experience in market selling, and plan to use their Graduation Awards to start their own businesses

Kingsley has graduated from the Axim Community Development Vocational and Technical Institute. He has specialized in Welding and Fabrication. He has done some apprentice work, and his training at CDVTI included business and computer skills, English, and entrepreneurship as well as training in his technical specialty. He is looking for a job!

Godwin has graduated from Manye Junior High School. He will next attend Kikkam Technical Institute, which offers a wide range of vocational/technical classes for further training. 

We (and they) have so many to thank!
-James Kainyiah, Founder/Chair of Western Heritage Home, and Evans Arloo, WHH Operations Manager who managed the relationships with the schools, teachers and keep the program going, no matter what!

-To Sue, who generously provided the funds for the awards
-Mindy and family who supported Ernestina all through senior high

-Gary and the Mount Vernon, WA Kiwanis who supported Peter for many years, and also the Bentil family in Axim who gave him a home and some business experience during his vacations
-Bonnie who supported Dorothy through nurses training

-James and Beatrice Kainyiah who took Godwin into their own family home along with their own children, for his entire primary school years, until he became a Junior High Boarding Student at Manye Academy (common in Axim)
-Madame Felicia Attah, teacher and now Headmistress of Manye Academy who took a special interest in these children, and also Madame Safiatu Seidu, Director of the Community Development Vocational/Technical Institute, and Madame Theodora Appiah, Principal of Axim Girls Senior High School, and the teachers and staff of each of the schools

-And all of you wonderful “investors” who enabled us to support these children for their entire schooling, in one way or another.
We give these new graduates our congratulations, and our confidence in them, and our best wishes as they launch their adult lives!


AND, we're not done yet!! Come September and start of the 2018-2019 school term, we hope to support 70 students in one way or another. (Did we mention how much fun this is?) Stay tuned!

Thank you...thank you...

Ghana Together
http://ghanatogether.org
info@ghanatogether.org