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 tells our story.

Aug 25, 2012

First-ever "Vacation Camp" in Axim, Ghana

We are absolutely delighted to report that 117 upper primary students are taking advantage of the first-ever Western Heritage Home/Ghana Together sponsored “Vacation Enrichment/Remedial School” held in the WHH Heritage Building in Axim, Ghana.
It’s a sort of Ghana-style “summer camp,” with students working on English, math, science, and One Laptop Per Child computers (OLPCs).
A couple of months ago, the Western Heritage Home Board came up with a plan to run 3-week vacation enrichment classes for upper primary students in their Heritage Community Learning Center. They singled out upper primary, because, although Ghana now provides tuition-free education through Junior High, many students drop out after primary school.

WHH Board members believe vacation classes will inspire the children to continue with their education beyond primary school, study hard for the tests to qualify them to continue on to junior high, and encourage families to continue to provide the uniforms, underwear, shoes/sandals, exercise books and pencils required for all students, often at substantial sacrifice to the family.
Maureen Kainyiah, a young WHH Board member, and Ussif Mariko Zakari, WHH Manager-in-Training wrote a proposal. The WHH Board approved it and, in turn, requested funding assistance from Ghana Together, which we agreed to do, after reading the proposal ourselves and discussing with James Kainyiah (Chair of the WHH Board).

Fast forward to the first week of August. Children walk either to the Heritage or to the Axim Town Center Junction from various points---at least 30-60 minute walk for many. At the junction, they are met by a bus which transports them to the stop near the Heritage. Actually, the bus makes three runs due to the number of students.
The first week not many students showed up, but word spread quickly and now, Zak says, they have the problem of “overpopulation”with 111 attending the cost-free program. The families must provide water, food, and some sort of clothing to enable their child to attend.

Zak reported this morning, chuckling, that the children are “very, very happy”, especially with the chance to use the OLPCs---this is exciting beyond words!!
We strongly are encouraging them to use Jerome Chandler’s “Science Experiments for Junior High,” venturing just a bit outside the rote curriculum (this is “camp” after all!) to have a little fun adventuring with science as exploration and experimentation rather than just memorizing facts.
We requested that the English classes include, at the end, an essay about what the students like about the program and “how they would improve it.” It will be interesting to read their comments! They are pioneers, after all.

We’d love some photos. Patience. There is one camera in town, as far as we know, owned by WHH, thanks to us. Zak is learning how to use it.
The first task was for Zak and the other young teachers to figure out how to take out the chip which was “full,” and download the photos onto one of the laptops (thank you, “big company,” that donates laptops now and then). That done, they are now taking photos. Next comes the challenge of figuring out how to select and upload pics to internet and send to us, not easy in out-of-the-way Axim with very poor internet service. Did we mention how proud we are of these young adults learning all these new skills?

We thought maybe you’d like to see the budget Zak and Maureen prepared (in estimated US dollars) for the 5-week program:
$400 for 4 teachers (1/2 days for 17 days)
$200 for radio announcements and banner at the junction
$125 for bus (six trips/day, for 17 days)
$250 for exercise books, pencils, erasers, chalk, magic markers, etc.(expensive in Axim!!)
$ 50 for "contingency"
$1025 TOTAL
We'll post photos when we get them!