SUPPORTING LITERACY IN GHANA
In 2013 we embarked on our first major Do Good initiative support program. The focus was in the area of education and the benefits would reach across the ocean to students and educators in Ghana, Africa.
To support this effort, we joined with our partners at Tim O. Productions who were supporting this program through their Outer Limits education and literacy program by supporting the organization named LEAP for Ghana.
In 2013 we joined the organization on their mission to Ghana. We wanted to see first-hand the work that was being done to support both educators and students in Accra and the Konko Village. This trip took place in September 2013 and was comprised of 20 writers and educators from the United States, Brazil and Dubai. Each person volunteered their time and supported their own airfare so that any money raised could be used to support the actual work that needed to be done in Ghana.
Many, including our Devlon Paris team member, volunteered to bring donated books and clothing from their respective locations. Our team member carried a suitcase full of education materials and books locally donated for the school library in Konko Village, Ghana.
FIRST ANNUAL GLOBAL LITERACY FORUM
The trip featured a few firsts for the LEAP organization. Most notably, this year was the first Global Literacy Forum they would support in Accra. It was also the first year they had more than 8 team members to join the mission - 20 in total joined this mission. It was also the first time they would travel with a very special guest - the accomplished poet, author, activist and educator - Miss Nikki Giovanni. She was also one of the Keynote Speakers at the Literacy Forum.
The literacy forum was a huge success. Over 300 educators attended and were treated to a variety of creative and inspirational education workshops hosted by many of the attending writers and educators along with team members from the co-sponsors of the forum, The Educators' Network.
THE STUDENTS OF KONKO VILLAGE
The enthusiasm of the educators and the workshop hosts at the Literacy Forum was very contagious. However, nothing could quite compare to the visit to Konko Village. The trip from the capital city of Accra to Konko Village, involved a journey up the winding mountainside lush with local scenery, merchants and dirt roads.
This year, the village would greet the LEAP team with a welcoming ceremony led by the Queen Mother of the village. When the bus arrived, smiles were seen in abundance and all team members were greeted with waves, hugs, "hellos" and even dancing. The spirit of the people was indeed beautiful by nature. The welcome ceremony was both thoughtful and fun. It was a great way to associate with members of the village and help everyone to become familiar with one another.
The week followed with workshops held for the students in Konko Village, and improvement to the school library with an array of additional books being added to the collection. Many from the home areas of the writers and educators also sent clothing and this was also provided to the families and students. In addition, the team also supported the efforts of conducting a census in the village and going door to door to meet with families.
The efforts of L.E.A.P for Ghana have a specific goal for 2014. The organization wants to aim to send the local junior high graduating class to high school together. This would be the first time this has ever happened in Konko. Funding has been raised to send one or two students to high school but never the full class. The challenge is due to funding. It costs about $1000 to send a student to one year of high school.
In addition, they aim to increase the library collection and provide added education tools, such as a school computer, to the materials at the disposal of students and teachers.
The team at Devlon Paris was quite excited to assist in this effort and we look forward to working with our partners at Tim O. Productions to identify more ways to assist in the future.
2014 Update: We are quite happy to announce that our #WellSuited program was able to contribute funding to support 1/2 year of a students education. Coupled with other organization funding, this will allow students to enter their first year of high school with the tuition and education supplies necessary to progress.
Photo Credit: LEAP for Ghana