Why We Started
Sensitive, informed and celebratory rhetoric is an important part of the way
we operate. But we can't avoid the very real and sometimes harrowing needs that
exist for the community we work in.
The beach community
students come from the very poorest part of Saltpond, where they live in beach
huts or derelict, overcrowded buildings. Many have only one remaining parent,
and lots are orphaned.
Coastal fishing communities are often stigmatised in Ghana
for being poor, ill-educated and even 'lazy'. In reality, they are trapped in a
cycle of poverty that means, whilst some will gather a small income from
fishing many, especially women, will struggle to find work. Many children are sent away, unschooled and unsupported,
to work in dangerous cities as maids or sellers, as their parents cannot afford
to look after them.
the Central Region is a relatively fortunate part of Ghana these children - like so many others in other parts of the
country - cannot afford the uniform, resources, or food that they are expected
to purchase at government schools. Before the project began, most of the
children living on the beach, some as old as 15 or 16, had never attended
school - and were either being sent out to sell water or fruit on the side of
the road, or simply sitting around.
The value of education
The majority of parents and guardians within our community
have never attended school, have no understanding of English, and only very
basic numeracy skills.
Many deaths in these isolated coastal communities happen as a result of
preventable diseases such as malaria, cholera and diarrhoea. Members of this
community cannot afford to buy health insurance or pay for medical treatment. If they are fortunate enough to gather
the funds, many do not understand the necessity of treatment or preventative
processes, and cannot read the hospital-issued communications.
It is difficult to encourage a community who live so
hand-to-mouth to pay anything at all to educate their children. By
providing a totally free primary education for those most in need, alongside
adult literacy, numeracy and ICT classes, we hope we can slowly raise the
understanding and aspirations of the community as a whole, and encourage them
to let their children finish school.
By the time our students are ready to be sponsored into JHS
(middle) and SHS (secondary) school, parents and carers have a first-hand
understanding of the benefits of a well-rounded education. Our
students also help to educate their families and neighbours by putting on plays and performances which educate them on
issues such as hygiene, aspiration and malaria prevention.
We are careful only to offer the facilities to students who
really do not have the option of attending a government school at the time of enrollment, and carry out regular
We hope that, in
time, our services will no longer be required, as the government continues to
develop it's education system, and as our parents and carers understand the
importance of sending their children to school.