Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tales from the Trip-- Sankofa School

As already mentioned, our trip to Ghana was incredible. I'll start with a little bit of info about Sankofa Children's Home, where we spent most of our time. There were a total of 6 people in our group, and there was plenty to do! Sankofa has only been around for about a year and a half, so there is a lot they still need. The orphanage itself currently only houses 5 kids. We were able to help paint the rooms while we were there, and saw the coming of actual beds (they had been sleeping on mattresses on the floor). We were also able to help prepare some of the bamboo to build a new schoolhouse.Danny and Patrick, two of our volunteers, helping the kids prepare the bamboo for building.

The school is for kids from preschool to third grade-- preschool and kindergarten kids have school in a rented church, the others in a bamboo schoolhouse built by the director and teachers. Many of the kids still have a rough time in school, since they may not have attended school previously. The age ranges in the classes are a lot wider than they are in the US (i.e. 8-12 year olds in third grade). We were able to work out a system with the teachers where we took the children struggling in English and taught them phonics and basic English each day during their English periods. We were also able to buy some great new English books that the Ghana Education Department has put out. It was so incredible to see how the kids progressed. Some started to grasp the concept that each letter actually has certain sounds associated with it. Some of them went from not being able to read at all to being able to sound out words. And some, of course, didn't seem to make much improvement at all...but I suppose that's how it goes.
Class 2 hard at work in their classroom.

Sankofa is really an incredible place. David, the director, is only in his 20's, and is amazing! He lived on the streets a lot as a kid, and though he did attend school, he paid little attention. He finished the ninth grade at age 18 being unable to read and write. When he realized how much this could affect his life, he did the incredible-- he went back to the fifth grade at age 18, and went back through the ninth grade again. He now speaks, reads, and writes English very well. His desire was to ensure that other children would have this opportunity, and that is when Sankofa began. The teachers who work there are just as amazing-- they live on a salary of $20 a month and some walk miles to be there everyday to offer free education to impoverished children. Shallee and her husband Danny with David.

We had such an amazing time there, and felt so privileged to meet the children and the incredible people who run Sankofa.

McKenzie, one of our volunteers, playing a game with Monica (in the green) and another child.

No comments: