Education in Ghana is different than it is in the United States. Schools, whether chartered by cities, villages, churches or other organizations, use a curriculum set by the national government. They receive government support only for teacher salaries.
Students, their families and sponsoring organizations supply everything else: books, supplies, equipment, even furniture. There are very few books. Few children can afford paper and pencils, so many students learn only by listening. Most of learning tools –books, markers, paper, calculators – which we in the U. S. take for granted are unavailable to the majority of students because of simple economics.
In America, however, we often find it more convenient to replace than to repair. We need (or think we need) the latest model of computer and new pens and notebooks at the beginning of every school year. So what happens to the things we discard in favor of a newer model, a fresh supply, the latest version? Unfortunately, many times those still usable items end up in our landfills.
There must be a better way, a more creative approach. Why not share those items with those who could – and would – put them to productive use?
Sharing things with people half a world away isn’t a simple thing, but with a little imagination, the enthusiasm of a great number of people, some very long days, and a lot of good old fashioned elbow grease, it can happen…and it has!
What we do to make it happen in the U.S.
- Recruit volunteers
- Collect computers and schools supplies
- Raise funds
- Evaluate and refurbish equipment and supplies
- Pack and ship via ocean freight 40 foot container
What we do to make it happen in Ghana
- Evaluate school readiness
- Assist schools in planning for:
- Physical space
- Business operations
- Educational goals & methods
- Sustainability of project
- Ship and deliver computers and supplies
- Provide support and follow-up advice to African organizations
- Listen to the needs of NGOs and schools
- Work with the E.P.A. of Ghana for safe disposal of e-waste