It is a common practice for schools to have Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs). Such associations exist to meet and plan together with the school board. It is however uncommon for members of the association to come together and work with their hands. The feeding program in most participating communities is helping to change the trend. Parents now come together and farm to make sure there is a regular supply of maize to support the program. A member of the Kontomire PTA, John, tells Self-Help the school farm has helped to strengthen communal spirit; parents are getting to know each other much better. He hopes that it extends to the larger community to encourage implementation of community projects like construction of latrines and safe drinking water sources. Projects like these will help reduce the incidents of disease and illness.
John recounted the commitment with which the association rallied behind the idea of building a kitchen for the school. The kitchen is needed to make sure the cooking is done in a safe and hygienic environment, and without any disruption from rains. Construction is ongoing but they now have a roof and some protection from the rain.
The community tells SHI they have seen improvement in school enrollment, especially among Kindergarten 1 (KG1) and Kindergarten 2 (KG2), and Class 1. Enrollment increased from 139 in term two to 158 in term three representing a growth of 13 percent. More children now attend school. The challenge to provide breakfast for children before going to school is being addressed by the feeding program and relieves parents of worry.
In June 2014, SHI interviewed two KG1 children; Janet and Victoria, both six-years-old.
Janet eats breakfast before going to school but her friend Victoria goes to school each morning on an empty stomach. Both of them eat the QPM breakfast SHI provides. Janet says the food makes her strong while Victoria says she is able to concentrate on her studies much better. Victoria and children like her would not go to school without the feeding program. The feeding program has contributed to increased enrollment and attendance and helps less fortunate children like Victoria.
Increased enrollment, though positive has exposed another weakness in the school; infrastructure. The school does not have enough classrooms and furniture to cater for the growing number of children in the community who want to go to school. However, with the growing enthusiasm and spirit in the community, the possibility of the community coming together to build more classrooms could be a reality.
Your support has helped this community, and others like it, come together to provide food for their children. Thank you for your donation.
Kontomire is a farming community in rural Ghana, about 32km from Kumasi. There is a lack of electricity, and the village is lucky to have boreholes that supply good drinking water. The local school, which goes from kindergarten to junior high, has observed a decrease in attendance, especially among the younger children.
The parent-teacher association found that most children stay away from school because of hunger. A solution was formed in which each child from kindergarten to primary 1 would pay 50 pesewas ($0.25) to be fed lunch each day. Since then, the school has been serving lunch on a daily basis.
The idea of feeding kids to keep them in school has been a worthy cause, but it still faces several challenges. Children whose parents are unable to afford the 50 pesewas are left out of the solution. Also, when Self-Help International visited Kontomire in October 2013, they observed that the cooking was done in the open and in deplorable condition.
The quality of food was of low standard and cooking was delayed each time it rained. In compromise with SHI, the community provided lumber and labor for a new school kitchen while Self-Help provided aluminum sheets and nails. Although provision of a kitchen was part of the solution, there was still one more challenge.
SHI observed that all the children, including Kofi (6), carried their plates and bowls to school every morning. Some of the bowls were not properly handled and at times the kids used them as play objects. This too, was a health hazard that affected the quality of the food being served.
SHI responded by donating 76 plates to be kept at the school. Kontomire is very thankful for the support from SHI. In February 2014, Kontomire will partake fully in the Self-Help International Quality Protein Maize (QPM) Feeding program. The community has already acquired farmland to cultivate QPM. With the help SHI has given, the community of Kontomire will be able to serve children breakfast prepared from QPM every school day.
With your support, children like Kofi will be fed on a regular basis. Thanks to your generosity, Self-Help International is one step closer in alleviating hunger by helping people help themselves.
In 2012, Self-Help International came into contact with Kobby (5) who had lost both parents at the age of two. Since then, he has been under the care of his aging grandmother, Agartha. He was visibly malnourished at the time and was put on the SHI feeding program. After being given high quality protein maize and vitamins, Kobby’s conditions improved tremendously.
Agartha confessed that although she is a strong believer in God, there were times when she feared for her grandson’s life. Thanks to SHI, regular intake of quality protein maize and vitamins restored her hope for Kobby.
At the start of the 2013/2014 school year, Kobby enrolled in Kindergarten at the Worapong Basic School. Agartha tells SHI that the feeding program is what launched “Satellite Kobby” into orbit. Because of his improved health condition, Agartha believes Kobby will be able to experience many other places and things in his life. He has already promised to buy her a tractor for her farm when he is older.
Thanks to your generosity, Kobby and many other children in Ghana will be able to live a healthier life. With your help, we are able to work towards our mission “to alleviate hunger by helping people help themselves”. Thank you for your support.
Recently the Amanchia Roman Catholic Primary School held its first Open House since it was established in 1920.
Attendance was overwhelming. Chiefs, Educational Officers, parents, government representatives, political party representatives, NGOs, citizens of Amanchia and many people who had passed through the school were there to celebrate the occasion.
The event featured speeches, poetry recitals, drama and choreographed dances school children up to Grade Two. In his opening speech, the Headmaster of the School, Mr. Victor Owusu thanked Self-Help International for the support given to the school. He was particularly happy about the feeding program as it has helped to increase enrollment by 10 percent. More pre-school kids attend school since the introduction of the feeding program.
According to the staff of Self-Help International, all the children who participated in the Open House performances have one thing in common, they eat breakfast prepared from Quality Protein Maize. Protein plays a major role in the formation and development of their brain.
District Director of Education Cosmos Dzansi, also in attendance at the event, requested for deeper collaboration between Self-Help and the Ministry of Education so that more children in the district could benefit from the feeding program. He later presented a certificate of appreciation to Self-Help on behalf of the school.
Thank you for your generosity and support. Your donations have helped to improve the lives of children at Amanchia Roman Catholic Primary as well as in other Ghanaian communities.
A lot of good things are said about Self-Help International’s (SHI) Children’s Feeding Program. Emelia, a KG instructor at Bedaabour Basic School tells Self-Help the feeding program has increased school enrolment from 90 to 150 within a year.
According to Emelia, the children come to school early, the frequent requests to leave during lessons has reduced, and some of the children keep their pocket money.
The staff of SHI had a chat with four children who know how beneficial the feeding program is. Francis, 6; Patrick,7; Constance, 6; and Vida, 5, are exceptionally grateful.
When asked, “What would you like to say to the people helping to give you breakfast?” They responded with big smiles and said, ”We like the food and they should please continue.”
Thank you for your generosity and support. Your donations have helped to improve the lives of children at Bedaabour Basic School as well as in other Ghanaian communities.
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