700 Christmas presents & thousands of smiles: our trip to Ghana
On Saturday 8th December I set off to Ghana; very excited and raring to go.
I arrived in Accra early Sunday morning, and Ernest Asamoa and myself (our Head of Operations in Ghana) went to the distribution centre to sort the items. Agbeko (a fantastic helper) and I organised the items and sorted the school Christmas presents that we had shipped. Thanks to your hard work, we had 700 Christmas presents, including full pencil cases, activity books and games.
Ernest, Mercy Asamoa and myself went to Winneba in the afternoon and had a meeting with the rest of the team to plan our time in Ghana. Here’s what we got up to:
So many smiles (and some happy tears from Annie)
During our busy week we visited seven schools (some twice) and two hospitals. Each visit was so moving. You wouldn’t believe how happy the children were to get their presents. Many of these children would otherwise not get anything for Christmas. They never expect anything. But the fact that they were unwrapping a doll, a ball, a game made them so happy. We’ve never seen so many smiles, heard so much laughter or heard the sound of so many children jumping with excitement!
We wish you could have seen it. Whether you donated a present, or carefully wrapped it, the sight of so many happy children would have warmed your heart. Seeing the children so happy was also wonderful for their teachers. The teachers in the schools we support are really doing amazing work with the limited resources they have, and we’re looking forward to sending more Teacher Packs out soon so we can help them. More on that a little later….
The schools we support are fairly spread out and we only had a little car (and some car trouble!) but we managed to distribute all 700 presents to 3 schools. Fantastic efforts by Eldad, Emmanuel and Patricia for all their efforts in this process. This was our largest Christmas present distribution to date, and we did it.
Many people in the UK and Ghana worked hard to make sure everything was sent, and arrived, on time, and we are very grateful to you for your efforts.
We’d like to give a particularly big thank you to the pupils of Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School who donated presents, and to the around 70 students who wrapped over two days. Big thanks also to members of The Oxfordshire Project, and their families, who donated and helped wrap up on that cold Saturday morning in October.
Spreading the love
During the week, we visited all the schools we support, as well as a further two schools recommended to us by Social Services in Ghana. Working closely with Social Services means we know we are helping the schools and the children who need us most. Here’s what we discovered in the second half of our trip:
The Teacher Packs are a great success
In March we sent some teacher packs out to one school to see if they would be useful. The Teacher Packs contain: mini whiteboards, whiteboard pens, notebook, chalk, pens, pencils, earasers, sharpeners, rulers and Post-It note pads.
They went down very well, and we were delighted to see them in action! This is a fantastic resource; especially when you consider that the class sizes in our Ghanaian schools can be double the size of classes in the UK. We’d love to give Teacher Packs to all our schools, so now we just need to get collecting and fundraising for the Packs.
Some of the orphans in our schools need the fundamentals of life like food, something to sleep on and basic toilet facilities.
Ernest and Mercy donated food items for Christmas to one school, and we plan to send funds for mattresses for the other. The schools involved don’t have any corporate sponsors and they get very little help. We’re going to think about how we can help these children – watch this space and let us know if you have any ideas. We know you’re full of them!
School uniform and shoes – keep them coming!
Haddenham Junior school has changed its uniform and ever since we’ve received hundreds and hundreds of items. We’ve also received uniform from other kind Alfan supporters.
These uniforms have been given to five schools so far and it’s wonderful to see the children wearing them! Often, the uniform is reserved for special days, such as Thursdays, or when the weather is “cold”.
Not every child has shoes for school, so we were really happy to distribute shoes as well. Please keep shoes and uniform coming!
Do you have a computer you’re not using?
All our schools need computers. We’re working with them to get their classrooms computer-ready – now we just need the computers!
Thanks for reading about our amazing trip. If you were involved in helping us with our Ghana trip in any way, thank you! And if you’d like to get involved and help us in the future, we can’t wait to hear from you.
A quick reminder
The schools and children we support in Ghana always need:
- Computers and their accessories
- Whiteboards including mini whiteboards
- Children's clothes and shoes
- Stationery (pencils, colouring pens, erasers etc)
Please deliver these items to us at 16 Quakers Mede, Haddenham, Bucks HP17 8EB. Alternatively, give us a call on: 07939 050 258 and we’ll arrange to collect them from you.
We also appreciate financial donations which help us fund the building of computer labs and the contents for Teacher Packs, as well as covering shipping costs and the distribution of resources. To donate through PayPal please click here.