We recently received a newsletter from Mrs Basil Johnston, the Scottish Director of our Ghanaian partner school. Below are some extracts and photos that share how the teachers and pupils have continued to learn throughout their nine month Lockdown:
Having first bought thermometers and masks we set about organising compound mini-schools. In rural Ghana everyone lives in compounds made up of several families. So during lockdown, since our teachers were going to mix with all the children in their compound anyway, which meant we were able to at least keep a degree of education going for the children in these compounds whether they attended Juliet Johnston school or not.
Simultaneously, we felt that we could use this time productively furthering teacher training. Technology in Ghana has progressed so fast during the last few years, virtually everybody has mobile ‘phones and WhatsApp is now widely accessible. We realised that with some trial and error that we could use this for teacher training as well as for general communication with the school.
We organised a weekly competition to liven things up a bit as everyone was missing school, their children and colleagues and awarded a prize of 25 Ghana cedis (£3.50) to the winner. Out of interest I asked the teachers what they spent their prize money on and for most of us in the developed world it was quite an eye opener - new school shoes, a new bag for school, medicine and blood tests for a son who has sickle cell anaemia, medication for malaria and asthma, two plastic chairs (one teacher had to borrow chairs from a neighbour whenever visitors came round or she would ask them to bring a chair with them!) – and even food. And there I was, thinking they’d be able to buy themselves a little treat.
To comply with new government regulations regarding Covid and social distancing, we bought 50 new mono (individual) desks. We were in need of more desks anyway, so it was a good investment for the school.
I’d also like to thank Christina VERY MUCH AGAIN for the Veronica buckets. As we have no running water at the school these serve as efficient containers for hand washing. We had bought these last year which was fortuitous as they were subsequently specified by the government as part of their new Covid regulations.
The desks and the Veronica buckets meant we were able to start school straightaway after the government allowed schools to re-open. Three inspectors turned up unannounced on our first day – not one, not two, but THREE! And they gave us 10 out of 10 for everything, including how organised our teachers were and that lessons had begun on day one.
Please visit our website (at very kind courtesy of creative company C-21) for further information about us at www.helptafotrust.co.uk.
If you know anybody who would be interested in sponsoring a child, it costs £150 per year for a primary child. And of course, any donations are always extremely welcome!