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.

Mar 22, 2014

Western Heritage Home (Axim, Ghana) and Ghana Together (US) Finalize Plans for 2014

When Maryanne Ward, President of Ghana Together, visited Axim, Ghana recently, our Western Heritage Home associates discussed with her their project priorities for 2014.

This past weekend our Ghana Together Board met to discuss those priorities and finalize our own goals for this year.

We will continue to sustain these ongoing programs:

-Fund school tuition/fees/boarding and other costs for the original Western Heritage Home scholars who still need our help. We are so proud of Dorothy, who has graduated high school and has a teaching job (!), and Gifty, Philomena, and Charlotte who received full senior high scholarships from one of the oil companies working in Ghana.

-Fund 47 tuition scholarships to Apewosika Village Primary School, targeting the poorest families. We are grateful to Nana Adjow Sika, the Queen Mother, for working with Headmaster David to select and monitor these students.

-Continue to collect and ship books to the children’s library.

-Fund minor ongoing support for the soon-to-open children's computing laboratory (using the One Laptop Per Child machines), located next to the Children’s Room at the Library
-Help with some minor expenses as they arise on Heritage Building, now a hostel for senior high girls.

In addition, we will try to muster funding for this new project

...which looks a lot like our 2013 renovation project we are so proud of!

Remember this school building from Jan 2013?


...and how the WHH and the PTA with our help totally renovated it?

And how in Jan 2014, 80+ JHS students go to their classrooms in this very beautiful building?

Maryanne took this photo just a few weeks ago and happily received the heartfelt thanks of students, teachers, and parents

Built on that success, we plan a similar project at the Axim All-Girls High School.

WHH and local school leaders will renovate this old building that is structurally sound, per the Axim Municipality District Engineer, Mr. Hadden, himself...

 ...taking into consideration that the inside is in pretty good shape, not having been exposed to tropical rains, heat, and humidity...


...putting those same carpenters/masons/PTA members/very capable high school young women to work to clean it up, replace the roof, fix the masonry, replace windows, add mosquito netting, paint...

...mixing in about $11,000 help from Ghana Together...(yes, we can use some help with this)

...and give those high school girls...

  • who eat all three meals at school
  • study there
  • basically live at school except for sleeping 
  • and who ARE, after all, the future women leaders of Ghana...

A nice, clean, dry study/eating/assembly hall.
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Mar 6, 2014

Axim Community Development Vocational Institute (CDVI)

You may remember that Western Heritage Home, our partners in Axim, Ghana, renovated the CDVI Women’s Dormitory with our financial help back in 2013. We wrote about it about a year ago:

Newly renovated women's dormitory
So, it was Maryanne Ward’s pleasure to tour the dormitory building and to meet our 12 scholarship students, eight of whom are living in the dormitory, with 16 in residence total.
The young women reported they LOVE living in the nice, clean dormitory, and promised to use their marketing skills (one of their classes is marketing) to spread the word to friends that there is a good place to live, now, for those who want to attend but live beyond walking distance.

Resident shows off her room, demonstrating her bednet (malaria prevention)

Students typically have few possessions.
The courtyard provides space for getting together, doing laundry, drying clothes...

Inner courtyard showing area for relaxing together, laundry, clothes drying, etc.
 Ghana Together sponsored scholarship students because we wanted to kickstart the dormitory and also help a few with major financial barriers. We awarded funds to Western Heritage Home, which in turn granted the funds to the CDVI Parent Teacher Association.

Eleven of the 12 scholarship students with a teacher
The CDVI staff traveled to outlying towns and villages in the municipality of Axim, and distributed brochures describing CDVI’s programs.
Many students applied. Staff and the Headmistress interviewed all of them and their families, short-listing those who had major financial problems—not an easy job.

They awarded 12 candidates two-year bursaries, including 3 young men. Eight women receive boarding and three meals at day for two years, or about $500 each. Four “day” scholars, one woman and three men, receive lunch for about $150 each for six terms (two years).

The parents had to commit to pay 60 cedis in tuition plus incidental expenses per term for six terms as their share (about $200 total). To put this in perspective, the official minimum wage in Ghana is 5.25 cedis or about $2.10/day based on a 27- day month (about $700/yr).

What happens at the end of the two years?  The families will have to pay all costs for the third and fourth year, if the student decides to continue. Most do, because they want to acquire skills in multiple trades, ensuring greater economic security. Some leave after two years to apprentice or go into small-scale businesses. Four-year graduates are eligible for polytechnic schools.

CDVI Women Strut Their Stuff at the Annual 6 March Celebration (Independence Day!)
CDVI is a trade school, with classes in catering/cookery, hairdressing, computer science, sewing/tailoring/fashion, entrepreneurship, marketing, basic mathematics/bookkeeping, English, home management, and women’s health. These trades are in demand in this region.
Cooking/catering class.

The government of Ghana supports these students. For example, students specializing in sewing/tailoring receive a “kit” upon graduation, containing sewing machine, scissors, measuring tapes, thread, and other items necessary to start a business or enter an apprenticeship.
Since our last visit in 2013, the government of Ghana has also completed a new classroom building that had been years in the making! Ghana is investing strongly in education at all levels.

New classroom buildings at CDVI, completed in 2013
And, Maryanne and James Kainyiah, her Western Heritage Home counterpart, were delighted to attend and speak briefly at the retirement celebration of Madame Hajara Yakubu, who served as Director of CDVI for 38 years. She will be missed. We wish her and her successor, Madame Safiatu Seidu, well.

Hajara Yakubu, giving her farewell speech to her beloved students.

Hajara is a dedicated educationist, and a lay leader in the St James Methodist church.. She is a skilled manager and orator. She has served on the Western Heritage Board since its inception, and has provided exceptional leadership to the community of Axim.
In her remarks, Hajara fulsomely expressed her thanks to Ghana Together and Western Heritage Home for our contributions to the school. And we, in turn, thank all of you.
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