Children line up to get their meals
Bedaabour is a farming community in rural Ghana with about 1,000 people. They are mostly farmers growing cocoa, rice and vegetables. It has no electricity but is blessed with one borehole as a water source. Like many rural communities, pupils rarely stay in school beyond Junior High, partly attributed to economic hardship, low enrollment and poor attendance. Parents are usually unable to pay school fees regularly, to provide breakfast regularly, or to purchase the school supplies to sustain their children’s interest in learning.
In January 2014, Bedaabour Islamic Basic School became a beneficiary of the Self-Help International (SHI) School Feeding Program, which provides breakfast prepared from Quality Protein Maize for school children. Both the parents and teachers have since supported the program relentlessly. In March 2014, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) cultivated one acre of maize (corn) to ensure the school had a regular supply of maize for the breakfast porridge. The PTA has resolved to grow maize yearly.
In addition to maize, the school plans to have an acre of rice to feed the increasing number of pupils in 2015.
Initially, the school had no proper kitchen and cooking was done under a wooden shed; flies and dust were major distractions, a situation which affected food quality and pupils’ health. Due to the poor roof, cooking was halted whenever it rained. With Self-Help’s support, the school has constructed a new kitchen. Self-Help also provided health and hygiene education to the volunteer who prepares the daily meals, lessons she has shared with the students, including information regarding hand washing.
The feeding program has directly contributed to increased student enrollment and improved daily school attendance. Enrollment at pre-school and kindergarten grades increased by 13% from 87 students to 99 students, necessitating the construction of an additional classroom.
With improved enrollment and attendance, the need for a latrine became extremely urgent. The PTA has provided the school a temporal latrine. Provision of a latrine coupled with proper hand wash has brought about significant improvement in pupils’ health. Sicknesses related absenteeism has reduced. In the past, pupils would run home to answer nature’s call and would not return for the rest of the day. These cases have stopped now that students can answer the call at school.
In a country where corruption among political leaders is rife, it is gratifying to observe that through the Feeding Program, people of Bedaabour, especially parents and teachers of the Islamic Basic School, have exhibited patriotism, communal and ‘can do’ spirit, something which have eluded many Ghanaians.
Your donations, which brought the school feeding program to Bedaadbour, has helped this community come together in support of its children. Thank you for your generostiy.
Happy kiddos at the Beddabour Islamic School