The Africa Sankofa Fund aims to empower rural communities located in Ghana, West Africa.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

News Letter December 2006

Many of you know that we applied to CIDA in April 2005 for funding to enable us to construct a daycare centre in Amudurasi, Comfort’s home village. In the closing days of last year, CIDA made some funds available for that use. Construction has been under way using community labour and materials purchased with the CIDA grant. Comfort has been overseeing the construction. Work was interrupted in August for some time while she made arrangements for her mother’s funeral which was held in October. The CIDA funds were approximately a third of the amount requested to finish the entire project and so we have decided to try to complete the first of three classrooms plus a kitchen area. We will work on the remaining ones as we are able to find funds. Two photos are attached; one shows the construction site.

The second photo shows cedrella trees which we planted on the school grounds in Amudurasi as six inch seedlings in January, 2006. They were provided at no cost by Ms. Claudine Ethier who was working at the time in the country for a Quebec based company, Pampev International. These trees will mature in thirty to forty years to be harvested for timber. The returns will then be used to fund future educational projects at the school. This is a wonderful example of an investment in our future generations.

In addition to the CIDA grant, a number of people have contributed during the year towards the day care. Many of these donors have been guests in our hotel in Busua. We are most grateful for their contributions and for their ongoing interest and support.

Most countries have tax credits available for donations made to registered charities. In order to capitalize on this in Canada, we presented in July an application to Revenue Canada for Charitable status for the Africa Sankofa Fund. We had hoped to obtain a tax number in time for the current tax year and efforts in that direction are ongoing.

Our American supporters will be interested to hear that arrangements have been made with an organization in the USA who will accept donations on our behalf and forward them to us without charging us any fees. They will issue the appropriate tax credit. Contact me if you would like more information.

Meanwhile, our son, Akwasi, has returned to Ghana and is taking over most of our duties at the hotel. This will free up Comfort and I to pursue a number of ideas and projects for the Edubiase traditional area. I plan to hold a series of meetings with various interest groups in the New Year. It is important to ensure that our ideas fit in with the needs of the people.

Two weeks ago, I met with the District Director of Education in New Edubiase and two of her senior people. It was one of those unplanned but serendipitous opportunities and it was very informative. I learned a few things which confirm some of my concerns about the education system in Ghana. This strengthens my resolve to find solutions to the educational challenges in this area. Allow me to explain.

· The Adansi South district has one of the highest ratios of poorly trained teachers in the country!!!

· The Education Office would like to establish a Regional Library. Their dream would be one that would act as a resource centre for teachers in the District (main floor), and provide a training centre for teachers as well (second floor).

The Director asked us to assist in any way that we are able to fulfil these requests and dreams. Here are some of the potential solutions that have been going through my mind.
Off-campus teacher training in the rural schools in this area. This is an opportunity for experienced teachers in Canada and elsewhere who wish to share their expertise by coming to Ghana and working with people who have been hired to teach but who do not have the training to do the job. One of my dreams is a teacher training program, located in the district, with accreditation from a recognized educational institution (if not in Ghana, then why not in Canada?) providing teachers with the teaching skills that they need to make a serious difference for the children in their classrooms. With their increased abilities and accreditation, these teachers then qualify to receive a better income for themselves and their families.
A central resource library filled with teacher aids, both book based and electronic based, to which the teachers could have access.
A regional lending library and libraries located in the communities of the area.
Life in Ghana continues to be one full of potential and promise. The country is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary since it regained political independence from Britain. Much remains to be done to ensure that the political independence is coupled with economic self determination. In our small way, we hope to be working towards that goal. If you wish to contribute towards our objective, please let us know. And for those who have already contributed, please accept our gratitude. Medassi pii.

Best wishes to everyone as we approach the holiday season,

Rod & Comfort McLaren
On behalf of the Africa Sankofa Fund

1 comment:

Shayna said...

hey, nice blog!