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.

Nov 21, 2014

Ending a Great Year!

For those of you (most of the Americans on our list) who receive our annual update letter by snail mail, you can skip this (we just aren't smart enough to figure out how to slice and dice...)
We can truly say, “Missions Accomplished” this November, 2014!

These strong young women are the future of Axim, and the future of Ghana!  And we are helping them to help themselves.  The collaborative relationship between us (including each of you!) and Ghana Together, and the local leaders in Axim and the youth of Axim, is producing results now that will ripple out to the broader community and beyond! 

These high school girls spent the day clearing the land around their Axim All-Girls Senior High School. They are celebrating because, thanks to your contributions, this year we renovated a decrepit building on their campus into a dining, assembly, and study area.  The local PTA is providing tables and benches and interior clean-up.
These kinds of partnerships between ourselves and our Ghanaian associates are what enable real progress.

It was a good year! Thanks to your contributions and gifts, in addition to the high school building renovation, we:
---renovated a Central Axim Junior High School building, providing two new large classrooms so students can attend all day rather than half days, and administrative space for teachers to meet and gather. 

---created the One Laptop per Child laboratory next to the children’s room in the public library, with fifty OLPCs, electrical installation (works when power is on), and work tables and benches.  It drew thirty to forty children a day during vacation periods, and continues to serve many after school and on Saturdays---and about half are girls! 
---shipped literally hundreds of high quality children’s books, providing stories and reading for local children who have never before had access to books. It takes a team. Friends in the US who acquire books… a friend in Maryland who works with his friend, a commercial shipper…friends in Ghana who go to the port at Tema, pick them up, and transport them to Nzema East area. We threw in some neat dinosaur puzzles and science posters, too! THANKS TO YOU ALL!!

---acquired a motorized tricycle to carry books to schools too far from Axim Center for children to walk to the library
---funded 72 scholarships.  These include young adults learning trades at the Community Development Vocational Institute, elementary school children at the Apewosika School serving Axim’s poorest population, and our Western Heritage Home youth whom we’ve been supporting since the beginning and who are themselves starting to make their marks in the world.  Charlotte and Philomena are top in their class, and they and Peter are now on full scholarships from the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation due to their academic achievements.

We loved connecting local Axim leaders with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (Bellingham). They amazed the town by building a UDDT low-impact toilet at an Axim JHS. Headmistress Yawson reports it’s working “very, very well.” The students have some ideas for improving the design---EWB engineers…listen up!!! J
Because we collaborate closely with our Ghanaian friends and partners and track carefully the emerging needs and goals, our plans develop as the area develops. We have counted on nearly bi-annual trips to Axim to nourish personal relationships and our understanding of where we can make the best use of our resources and talents.

However, the devastating Ebola outbreak forced cancellation for our visit to Axim in September. Therefore our goals for 2015 are not as developed as we’d like them to be. But, now that the Ebola situation in Ghana is better understood, Maryanne Ward intends to visit Ghana in early 2015 to review projects and nail down plans with local leaders there.
So, in spite of some uncertainty, we do ask for your support in 2015. We know for sure we’d like to:

---Continue to support students with scholarships
---Expand and improve living space in the Western Heritage Home, which is now a dormitory for girls from surrounding regions attending Axim Girls High School.  They now have a place to live. As more girls arrive, we want to provide the additional beds, tables, and benches to give them the best possible learning environment.

---Ship more high quality children’s books (contact us if you have some books or want to discuss).
---Work with “Unleash Kids” to provide the Axim All-Girls High School with Internet-In-A-Box (IIAB). The school has a new computer lab stocked with notebook computers provided by the Ghana Education Service, but it does not have internet access. IIAB will give the girls access to research materials such as Wikipedia (in English, French, Arabic, and Swahili), Khan Academy Math and Science videos, world maps, medical encyclopedia, and other excellent resources.

And this year, sadly, we lost Tom Castor, one of our founding board directors. Tom, a retired businessman, could be a somewhat gruff, no-nonsense kind of guy, but he melted in the presence of our Ghanaian WHH Scholars who, after their initial shyness, approached him fearlessly, and called him “Uncle Tom.” A gentle white man who didn’t mind if they touched his skin (“does his feel the same as mine?”) or tried to figure out his fancy camera.

Tom loved tramping around Axim with his GPS system, mapping water spigots, greeting adults, and being followed by a trail of inquisitive children. And, as our Vice-President for nearly nine years, Tom made sure our organization ran in a businesslike, professional manner. We all miss him so much.
We thank you for your partnership in these projects that change individual lives and community futures.  We again assure you that we use 100% of your donations toward our projects.  We on the board handle all administrative activities, travel, and other costs.

Best wishes to you in the New Year,

Directors:  Maryanne Ward, Jerome Chandler, Rich Ward, Sue Pederson, and Louise Wilkinson


Ghana Together, 808 Addison Place, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Tax ID: 26-2182965