Alex, the fifty-something, volunteer teacher for the Pajaaf Foundation, wrote on the board: When to use “has” vs. “have”? What is the difference between “pit” and“pet”? Make sure you can pronounce your “ar” sounds…car, star, bar…etc. About twenty students sit in groups ordered by their English proficiency. Alex goes around and addresses each group, helping pupils (ages eight to mid-forties) complete the appropriate assignments. While they work Alex stands at the front of the class the conductor of a beautiful cacophony of English.
The students that benefit from the Pajaaf Foundation’s English classes commit to attending classes three nights a week(Mon, Wen, and Fri). The Pajaaf Foundation rents the schoolroom, the English lessons are free and open to whoever would like to attend, and all teachers are volunteers. The Foundation has been offering these classes for three years to over 65 pupils; one can sense the camaraderie in the room that has developed over years of traversing the complex English language.
Alexis and I talked with Hannah and Madam Dina, two ladies that have been learning English from the Pajaaf Foundation for two years. Both wanted to learn English so that they could be more competitive in the job market. They were shy at first, but after a few minutes they were speaking splendid intermediate English. Hannah who looks like she is in her mid-twenties sells tea, and Madam Dina hopes to open her own business as well as one day visit her brother in England.
The Pajaaf Foundation also gives scholarships to vulnerable children for them to attend private school (school with under 50 students per class). We met two of the four children who the Pajaaf Foundation currently support. In this post I will introduce Josilene. She is an orphan; and lives with her aunt who has four children besides her. Josilene has a mischievous smile, which is even more adorable since she is missing her two front teeth. She kept poking me while I was sitting at the desk and then running to hide. I believe she is only five or six years old, and can already say many simple English phrases. It is important to see the community taking care of its orphans.
Both Alexis and I strongly endorse the Pajaaf Foundation. Philip, the Ghanaian co-founder we met, was inspired to start the foundation because he had to work three jobs to support his own way through school. When he got out of school he wanted to reinvest in his community and give children and adults the opportunity that he never had – a free, quality education. The Pajaaf Foundation is grassroots development at its best, an individual who sees their community in need, and then takes it upon them self to help meet the community’s needs. If you are looking to invest in a worthy grassroots organization with little to no overhead expense, look no further.
Lorraine and four other In-the-Field Travelers are currently in Ghana before they are making their way to Mali and Burkina Faso. They'll be visiting more than 30 GlobalGiving projects in the next month. Follow their adventures at http://itfwa.wordpress.com/.
School is Fun