Challenging Heights has been undergoing some great new changes! As many of you know, one of our biggest changes has been in the Child Sponsorship Program where we made the switch from individual sponsorship to a human rights based approach, focused on recipient participation, equality, and empowerment. With your generous donations, we are able to utilize a more equitable and sustainable use of sponsorship funds, allowing more of the students at Challenging Heights School to benefit! Here are a few of the successful projects that have been implemented under the new system.
New Textbooks for Students
While students previously only had access to textbooks when in school, thanks to your generous donations, over 250 of our students grades three through six can now have their own textbooks to take home and use for individual study. Rather than having to copy entire sections of text by hand, these students can have access to their text at any time. By providing these additional resources to our students, more time can be devoted to active learning in the classroom allowing more freedom for personal study at home! Allowing for this consistent academic engagement can help keep children in schools.
Cookware for the Boarders who live at the School
Previously, the nineteen JHS students who live in the boarding house at the school would have to wait for their families to bring them food, which only came periodically. With your help, however, these students now have the means to take matters into their own hands and cook food for themselves. “It is better now that we do not have to leave the school and borrow cookware to make our meals,” says one of the boarders. “Before it was difficult to both cook and study in the evenings, but now I can make my own jollof rice here at the boarding house.”
Lunch Money for at-risk children
Throughout the school year, teachers noticed that some of their students were struggling to pay attention in class due to hunger. It is clear that lack of food is a common reason why children may not succeed in school and may be put into forced labor situations. Determined to ensure that these hungry children receive an education, Challenging Heights School staff members, in partnership with the Child Sponsorship Committee, identified particularly at-risk students and provided them with a small stipend for lunch. This allows the children to pay better attention in class and make the grades to keep them in school.
New Classrooms for JHS 3
As our school continues to grow, it has become necessary to expand in order to properly meet the needs of our students. This term we have added a new class curriculum, JHS 3. With your help, we constructed two additional classrooms to support this new growth. The JHS 3 class completes our Junior High program, making Challenging Heights a full primary and junior high school. Our current junior high students can now remain at Challenging Heights all the way up until the time they must take the Basic Education Certificate Examination to move onto Senior High School.
Repaired Drums and Sound System for Cultural Club
Thanks to your generous donations, the students who take part in the Cultural Club can now practice and perform music with repaired drums and sound system. This month, the Cultural Club was able to perform for the school at the World Children’s Prize Global Vote to promote enthusiasm as students from all across Winneba came to Challenging Heights to cast their votes for the three nominees, including Challenging Heights Founder and President, James Kofi Annan. Clubs, such as this one, help children to gain the confidence and discipline necessary to succeed in school and achieve their ambitious goals for the future.
These interventions are only a few of the wonderful things going on at Challenging Heights School due to your generous donations. Thank you so much for your continued support! We can’t wait to begin even more projects to help keep these children in school and away from forced labor!
While many schools in the U.S. have ended for the school year, schools in Ghana are still in session full force. Classes will continue until at least the last week of July at the Challenging Heights School and may even push into August. We are excited with the progress our students are making this term and are looking forward to the next school year in September when the Challenging Heights School will reach a massive milestone.
At CH School we have been adding one class/grade per year. Next year we will add class junior high school three (JHS3). This is the final year of junior high school and the grade in which students take a national exam called the BECE. Each student’s results on the BECE will determine to which high school they will gain admission. At CH School we have been making efforts to ensure that our students will be prepared to take the BECE, whether they are taking it next year or in the following years, while at the same time offering our students greater opportunities for developing critical thinking skills that are sometimes lacking from the national curriculum. One way that your donations have made a large contribution to preparing our students for the BECE is by providing brand new English text books for all of our students in JHS1 and JHS2. Most students do not have money to purchase their own text books and often resort to copying large amounts of text into their notebooks to be able to study at home. By purchasing classroom sets of English textbooks, we have been able to provide each student with a book so that they can study in the evenings and on the weekends. Students will also learn responsibility, as each book has been marked with a number and that number has been recorded next to each student’s name by their teachers. Students know that they must keep the books in good condition so that their younger classmates will also get the opportunity to use them next year. Through your continued support, we hope to provide students with textbooks in other subjects.
Thanks again for your continued support! We know that our students will make us proud next year on the BECE as they make us proud everyday with their numerous achievements!
For the past week, students at government schools in Ghana have not been able to attend classes as their teachers are striking. We are grateful that our students have been able to continue their education during the strike thanks to supporters like you who make our highly subsidized private school possible. Over 750 students are now enrolled at Challenging Heights School in nursery through junior high school two. Nearly 70 of these students are directly supported by GlobalGiving donors. These survivors of trafficking continue to excel in their coursework, sports programs, and whatever new opportunities arise. Recently, Challenging Heights was asked to join a research project that would train students as researchers to gather information from their classmates in order to inform the post MGD discussions. When the programs staff gathered 20 randomly selected students to be trained as researchers, we didn't know what to expect. We were ecstatic to find that not only were the students excited about this opportunity, they were well prepared through their coursework to make the most out of trainings in data collection and other research skills. During one of the training sessions for which the budding researchers had given up their mid-morning break, Ebenezer said, "I love Challenging Heights and I love being a researcher." The next week when the actual data collection began, Patience informed the facilitators that her interview had went better than expected, proclaiming, "I want to be a researcher in future." Through your educational support, children who once had little hope for their futures are now researchers in their own right. Others are working toward a variety of careers, including doctor, lawyer, actor, and activist. Most importantly, these children now know that they can do anything they set their minds to and they are working toward their goals. Thanks again for your help in making our students' futures bright!
Earlier this week I met with a parent to explain the fantastic news that their child has been matched with a sponsor. This sponsorship, thanks to generous supporters like you, provides a child with equipment such as books and pens as well as a uniform, shoes and a bag for one year. The sponsorship also heavily subsidises school fees. This dramatically aids the financial burden of sending a child to school and is evident from the ecstatic reaction of parents, who may otherwise find this burden overwhelming. When a child is in school, their chances of being used in child labour or being trafficked are drastically reduced. Over 120 students at the Challenging Heights School now receive sponsorships from donors like you. The sponsorship scheme is just one of many ways in which Challenging Heights is working so relentlessly to ensure that every child in Ghana sees their rights to freedom from exploitation and access to education fulfilled.
One of the parents I talked to this week reminded me of the grand celebration we held last month when she proudly informed me that her daughter was part of the choreography group at the school. This term Challenging Heights School celebrated its 5-year anniversary. Celebrations saw the children performing traditional, cultural, and modern dances as well as drumming displays, drama performances, and a choir. Government officials visiting the event said that the performances were impressive and that regular rehearsals and shows should continue so as to build the talents of our students. The atmosphere on the final day of the program was wonderful and every child left with a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. They certainly should be very proud of themselves. Their dedication saw them practicing after school most days of the week for months before the final celebration and their hard work paid off with successful performances all around. Challenging Heights School is currently giving over 700 children the chance to receive an education, the opportunity to fulfil their potential and ever so importantly, the chance to enjoy being a child. We couldn’t have gotten this far in our fight to provide every child with a meaningful education and protection against forced labour and trafficking without supporters like you.
Thank you for all you do to support our work. We wish you a lovely holiday season from everyone here at Challenging Heights and look forward to updating you again in the new year.
The school year commenced this month at the Challenging Heights School. Over 710 eager students, in their blue and yellow checked uniforms, started classes from nursery to Junior High School. Thanks to support from GlobalGiving donors, 65 at-risk boys and girls from deprived families and underserved fishing communities were guaranteed at least one academic term of education last quarter. Through your donation, these 65 boys and girls had their school fees paid and received other school supplies such as uniforms, books and book bags, shoes, pens and pencils. Your support is especially important in this community that is severely affected by the menace of child trafficking and other worst forms of child labour.
Historically, children from the oceanic fishing communities surrounding the Challenging Heights School have been sent 10+ hours north to the top of Lake Volta and forced to work in the fishing industry there. Poverty, lack of education, lack of awareness, and deception all play a role in how children get to be trafficked and forced to do dangerous work. In addition to the school for survivors and at-risk children, Challenging Heights runs awareness programs in communities so that they can begin to take control of stopping child trafficking for themselves.
The effectiveness of these community outreaches has been particularly evident as school reopens and returned survivors and children who were recently intercepted from being trafficked come to Challenging Heights for technical advice and seeking possible enrollment into our programs including the school. Just this week, one boy was referred to Challenging Heights by a Community Child Protection Committee, who intercepted his impending transport to the lake. Another child was referred by his uncle, who after attending a Challenging Heights awareness event, realized that his nephew was soon to be trafficked. Additional cases are being reported and investigated as the week goes on. Challenging Heights will work to get all of these trafficking survivors enrolled in school and YOUR support through GlobalGiving makes a huge contribution toward making this happen.
Thank you once again and we look forward to sharing more successes from first term with you next time!
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