Note from our Co-Founder, Emma, on her latest visit to Ghana
It's been a while since my last blog, and since then I have been back to Ghana and I also took along my Mum. I thought it would be good to give an update on what we got up to while out there and what’s been happening at Pen to Paper Ghana in recent months.
Mother Pegler in Ghana
As I try to visit Ghana twice a year and endlessly go on about my time there when I'm home, my Mum has always been curious to what I get up to in Ghana. It was decided that on my next trip she would join me and it was the best experience.
Of course Ghana holds a very place in my heart and I am so proud of what Pen to Paper Ghana has been able to achieve, so I couldn't wait to show my Mum the country and charity.
Mum definitely took to the African culture quickly and got stuck in straight away, from trying out local food to teaching lessons. She got to meet Katie and Richard and all of Pen to Paper Ghana’s students. It was an amazing trip and she loved every minute of it.
We were in Ghana for just shy of 2 weeks, and spent the majority of the time in Kumasi. We visited Kumasi Children’s Home, Common Faith Academy, taught the NGO’s lessons, visited local villages to hand out clothes donations and spoke at a school event on Parental Engagement.
My Mum got to see first-hand the amazing work of Pen to Paper Ghana and she is so proud of everything we have been able to achieve.
Common Faith Academy
As always, a trip to Ghana is not complete without a visit to Common Faith Academy, and as always the children were as excited as ever. After being almost knocked to the ground by a rush of children, we were greeted by the children with homemade signs and hand written letters. It’s a complete testament to Obour (the head teacher) and the amazing work he and the teachers do at the school to see the children being able to read and write so well. I’m always blown over by the children’s education level. Whilst visiting, we were able to teach some lessons including Phonetic Bingo, which the children loved! Mum also did some reading with the younger years, and of course at break time there was singing and dancing. The children’s enthusiasm is totally infectious and Mum definitely got caught up by jumping and dancing along to ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’.
I always have a great time at Common Faith and come away with the best memories.
While mum and I were in Ghana, Pen to Paper Ghana organised a Parental Engagement workshop in a village, where all parents from the only school in the village were invited. We were asked to discuss how parents can be more active in their child’s education. In Ghana, parents do not usually take a proactive interest in their childs education or school life; home and school life rarely mix like they do in the UK. Teachers are aware of how different a child's learning could be if their parents were more involved, and this is why Pen to Paper Ghana saw the need to educate the parents on this.
We were warmly welcomed to the village and as always the children ran excitingly to us. The village was very typically Ghanaian, with dusty roads and livestock running around. We were taken for a walk around the village to meet and greet the locals and learn more about their daily life. We even tried our hand at pounding fufu!
Soon we were back at the school getting ready to speak. We were introduced by the head teacher and had a translator to help. To get the most out of our time, we each spoke on a different section. I spoke about how it was important to get involved in the child’s school life, and how getting support from home helps push the child to achieve more. Richard and a local teacher spoke about how important the relationship between teachers and parents is and educated them on their children’s terminal school reports; what they mean, how a parent can read them and why they are important. As my Mum was there as well, she agreed to also speak at this meeting. It was nice for her to have the experience of speaking, as well as for the parents as they were hearing from a UK Mother who has been through raising 2 children. My Mum spoke on different ways a parent can get involved in a child’s school life, such as asking about their day, finding out what subjects they like and getting them to read out loud and help count money, which will give lots of well needed practise.
The meeting was rewarding for everyone involved. We hoped we inspired the parents to take a bit more of a proactive interest in their child’s school life.
As always, I get on the plane to travel home and I’m already planning my next trip to visit!
All the best,