02 May 2019

Inaugural Service trip to Ghana

During the Easter break, a group of 12 Lower Sixth plus staff embarked on a trip across five regions of Ghana.

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During the Easter break, a group of 12 Lower Sixth plus staff embarked on a trip across five regions of Ghana, taking suitcases packed with books and educational resources. This was the inaugural Sevenoaks School PROMO Service trip to Ghana, and was an incredibly inspiring and enriching experience.

Through our fundraising, we had supported two projects in Ekoso. The first is a solar-powered water pump provided by Project Maji, an organisation working to bring clean water to rural populations across sub-Saharan Africa. We had also part-sponsored the creation of a community Reading Spot – a community-led education centre, filled with books and educational resources. Our trip itinerary included visits to both projects.

In Ekoso, we found that basic resources were limited to a few desks, chairs and broken blackboards for the children. A teacher said it is almost impossible to teach in these conditions. The Reading Spot which we helped to stock and paint is an excellent educational resource for teachers, provides consistent solar power energy, and provides a quiet study space for children to use after school hours and at weekends. In Ekoso and Akumadan, the local volunteers play the most important role; they ensure that the project keeps inspiring and teaching children to read by running various activities, cleaning the facilities, organising the books, and helping make Reading Spots self-sustaining.

We also learned about the importance of water and its connection to educational success. Young girls often fetch water, which creates serious health problems causing them to miss school. We hope that with the creation of the new Project Maji water station they will be able to spend time enjoying the benefits of the Reading Spot. This was an extremely thought-provoking experience for us; something we had completely taken for granted was now available to this community for the first time.

During a day in Accra we visited James Camp Prison for young offenders. We were shocked to learn that roughly 50 per cent of the prisoners are illiterate. We contributed some resources to the prison’s education centre and plan to raise funds to help renovate it and transform it into a more inspiring space.

On a visit to Elmina we learned about the impact of the slave trade and colonial rule. Ghana’s warmth, hospitality and forgiveness regarding the slave trade was humbling.

The PROMO Ghana pupil team

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