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.

Jun 23, 2014

Update on WHH Scholars

We thought our readers would like an update on those original Western Heritage Home Scholars. As “orphaned or vulnerable children” (a Ghanaian government classification) they spent their early years in the WHH Children’s Home in Axim. In fact, their care was WHH’s first substantial community project and our first collaboration with WHH.
You may recall that in mid-2011 the WHH Board moved the children into kinship/foster homes, both out of their own concern about the long-term effects of institutionalizing children, and also because of some governmental policy changes.
Maryanne visited with most of these children in February this year. She was told by Manye Academy staff that due to the extra tutoring and care in early years at the Children’s Home, they have done well in their studies, considering they had few to no academic skills when they started at Manye at various ages.
So here’s an update.
Ben (P5) and Gladys (P2) attend in Brawie/Akyminim Primary School, in north Axim, near the Community Development Vocational Institute. They live with their Grandma. It’s a tough go, but the school headmaster says as long as we provide uniforms and fees which cover exercise books, pens, daily lunch, etc. they’re ok. We’re grateful to generous neighbors who help out Grandma as best they can.
Philomena (Form 1 SHS) and Charlotte (Form 1 SHS) are on Tullow Oil Company scholarships at Nsein Senior High School. They are both outstanding students, and the oil company pays all of their expenses, so they require no support from us as this time. Way to go girls!!! Way to go Tullow!!
Peter has just graduated JHS, took his BECE exams, and is awaiting results. He will attend High School in the Nzema East area, starting September, either with our help or, because his academic work is tops, he is hoping for a scholarship.  He likes math, science, business, and computers, he says. Peter has moved from Mr. Bentil’s home (how can we thank you for your years of generosity to this boy??) and is now living in the Heritage Volunteer Quarters. He is helping Evans Arloo, the Manager, esp. with the One Laptop Per Child Computers (he’s an early expert!). Peter not only lost his parents as a young boy, but recently both his biological sister (sickle cell) and his brother (typhoid).
Frederic is in P6 at Manye Academy and living in a kinship/foster home in Axim.
Francis (JHS Form1) and Lamin (JHS Form 2) are living in kinship homes and attend Manye Academy. Lamin still loves soccer and has become an outstanding athlete.
Olivia, George, Isaac, and Eric are in JHS Form 1 at Manye.
Isaac dropped out for a couple of years to join his older brother in traditional medicine work, but he has been counselled by WHH board member Nana Adjow Sika (Queen Mother) to finish high school before he makes career decisions and he has decided to accept her wise counsel.
Eric also dropped out and joined a fishing crew in Ivory Coast, but he decided he wanted to be back in Axim, and learn driving or electrician work. But, to do that, he needs to finish JHS first, so he has decided to resume his studies at Manye. (Thank you, Manye staff, for being so flexible---you are true educators!)
George, Olivia, Ernestina, Isaac, and Eric are boarding at Manye Hostel. As they got older, between helping their families with fetching of water, cooking, etc., and lack of electricity so no lights, they had too little time for homework during daylight hours. In the hostel, they have regular food, water, and a generator. It is crucial, in Ghana, for students to finish junior high. Eligibility for senior high school is based on junior high test results. Without JHS training, one simply doesn’t have the skills to work in Ghana’s economy.
Gifty is in SHS in Beyim.
Joanna is with her biological grandmother/auntie in the Takoradi area.
Mary is with family in Accra.
Wahab and Adiza are in Tarkwa in kinship homes.
Emmanuela is at the Blind/Deaf School in Cape Coast. She is doing well. Maryanne didn’t visit her because she has adjusted well, per the teachers, and a visit would perhaps disturb that. We pay for some of her expenses—all of her menstrual supplies, clothing, toiletries, etc.
Godwin has been taken into James Kainyiah’s family in Takoradi and is growing up with the Kainyiah children. He still loves his OLPC and told Maryanne he is tops in his class in ICT (computer studies).
We save Dorothy Armoo for last! She has graduated senior high school and is teaching at a small private primary school just south of Axim. She loves teaching---English and ICT. She is earning her own living. We are so proud! WAY TO GO DOROTHY!!!
Dorothy, second from left, with fellow teachers

One of Dorothy's classes in their "bamboo school"

These WHH Scholars are still a primary responsibility for WHH and for Ghana Together. We jointly continue to support them financially, on an individual, as-needed basis. Our goal is to make sure that one way or another, all who have the academic ability will finish senior high school, a high achievement in Ghana. We’d like to do more for those who are academically capable
They see each other as "extended family" and do look after each other. We are proud of them. Dorothy, the "senior sister" called at 2:00 am on Mother's Day to wish all the "Mums" on Ghana Together's Board a Happy Mother's Day from all the scholars.
We are especially grateful to local leaders, especially James Kainyiah, Isaac Bentil, Queen Mother Nana Adjow Sika, and the various teachers and administrators at Manye Academy, especially Felicia Atta, former assistant headmistress and current teacher.
And you have helped support these children over the years. They and we thank you.
The WHH motto is “Making Leaders of the Least” and so they are…
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Jun 4, 2014

We say goodbye to Tom

This past Saturday we of Ghana Together gathered with family and friends at the East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, Washington State, to say goodbye to Tom Castor.
Both Tom and his beloved wife Louise were among Ghana Together’s founding members. He was an active board member until the day of his death on May 16, 2014.
Tom put his heart and soul into the all the work we did with the people, and especially the children, of Axim, Ghana.

In our early years, we supported a children’s home. He and Louise traveled with us to dedicate the building and launch that effort.

Tom and his wife, Louise Wilkinson, in Ghana
He delighted in interacting with the children. They loved to touch Tom’s skin, gently pulling the hair on his arms and beard, completely unafraid of this gentle white man!

 He was with them when the lights went out and when it was time to get up with the sun to get ready for school!

Tom showing off his fancy camera to his enraptured audience!
He helped set up a science room at Manye Primary School.

Tom receiving a traditional stole from Felicia Atta, Assistant Headmistress, in appreciation for his contributions to the Manye Academy Science Room
He raised funds to build a water tower.
He used his technical background to help rebuild about 50 One Laptop Per Child computers and took delight in teaching the children how to use them.

This One Laptop Per Child stuff is REALLY fun. girls!!
 Tom helped walk the entire town of Axim, recording longitude and latitude coordinates for every water spigot.
He faithfully served behind the scenes as our Vice President and Secretary, approving bank wires, writing minutes, and giving his best candid counsel.

We are grateful to have known and worked with this skilled, kindly, generous friend.
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