August 15, 2016

Sharing Some Of Our Favourite Stories – An Update on Ghana

Posted in: Family

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When Andrew and I went to Ghana last year, it started a ripple effect, thanks to a little boy named Kwaku. There is no way we ever planned on making a difference to this extent. By us going there, it ignited something in people to help out too and because of people caring, lives have changed and it’s pretty mind blowing.

The best way to demonstrate this ripple effect and how it has and continues to change lives, is through a timeline.

It all started in 2012

-Andrew and I decide to travel to Africa, not for a holiday, rather we want to go and offer our skills to a local community. We discover TANF, a small organisation that rescues children who are taking part in child labour and places them in a school, Wisdom Academy, through sponsership. We like the sound of TANF, as it is a small organisation, run only by one man, Laud, with the help of volunteers. We organise to go in November, 2013.

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November 2013

-We set off for Ghana, hoping for the best, hoping that TANF is a legitimate organisation and hoping that Laud is who he says he is.

-We land and Laud and TANF exceed our expectations, we can’t believe how lucky we are to have found something like this that we can be part of.

-Two days after we land, Andrew and I start teaching at Wisdom Academy and I meet a little boy named Kwaku (you can read all about him here) who also turns out to be our neighbour. He is the coolest dude I have ever met and we fall in love pretty hard. We spend every day together, having breakfasts together, getting ready for school together, walking to school together, coming home together, hanging out together, napping together, you get the gist. This is him, he is glorious…

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-I discover that Kwaku has 3 brothers aged 2, 11 and 12 but they don’t go to school like Kwaku. Instead, they take part in child labour each day. I discover that Kwaku has been sponsored to go to school by a lady from Germany who volunteered with TANF last year. Knowing Kwaku’s brothers are living a parallel life to Kwaku doesn’t sit right with me. I want those boys to have the same opportunities as Kwaku later in life, which can only happen through education. That night I can’t sleep, thinking up ways of how we can help change these boy’s circumstances.

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-I ask Laud how much it will cost to send each child to school for the rest of their school life. He tells me it will cost $1,000 per child. That will pay for all their school fees, their uniforms, their books, their recess and lunch at school, plus all their medical needs until they are 18.

-I create a fundraising page through YouCaring.com, hoping family and friends can help us out by donating their spare change. I announce this on Facebook and very quickly, I get momentum:

At the moment I am in Ghana, teaching. I have fallen in love with the sweetest boy that goes to the school, Kwaku. Kwaku is a child that has been given the opportunity to leave his impoverished environment and seek freedom from child labour through education. Kwaku has been sponsored to go to school through an organisation that I am working with at the moment, and his future looks bright.

I was heartbroken to discover that while Kwaku goes to school each morning, his brothers (pictured above) do not. The reason why is because their parents cannot afford to put them through school and they are not sponsored. Not being in school means they roam the streets and take part in child labour, hard labour, washing dishes at local road side restaurants.

I am desperately asking for all of us to work together to raise money to send his brothers to school. If we raise $3000 that money will go DIRECTLY, EVERY CENT to their education, which will put them into the education system and keep them there. If we raise more, even more children will be taken off the streets and put into school.

I am working with The Anidaso Nsae Foundation (TANF) at the moment, which is a non profit organisation. An amazing man, Rev. Laud Kwaku Akuffo is the soul person behind TANF who has made it his mission to get children off the streets and into schools with the money people donate. I have been able to work with him everyday and see first hand the work he does, I so desperately want to help and am asking for your help.

If everyone puts in as little as $10 and we raise the $3,000, we can empower Kwaku’s brothers through education and give them the chance for a happy, healthy, future. If we raise more, we give more children the opportunity to go to school.

Maybe you can sacrifice a few cups of coffee this week and donate today, instead.

On behalf of the children that we help out, I thank you, so much.

– See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/help-send-kwaku-s-brothers-to-school-/109627#sthash.O7eSsOob.dpuf

 At the moment I am in Ghana, teaching. I have fallen in love with the sweetest boy that goes to the school, Kwaku. Kwaku is a child that has been given the opportunity to leave his impoverished environment and seek freedom from child labour through education. Kwaku has been sponsored to go to school through an organisation that I am working with at the moment, and his future looks bright.

I was heartbroken to discover that while Kwaku goes to school each morning, his brothers (pictured above) do not. The reason why is because their parents cannot afford to put them through school and they are not sponsored. Not being in school means they roam the streets and take part in child labour, hard labour, washing dishes at local road side restaurants.

I am desperately asking for all of us to work together to raise money to send his brothers to school. If we raise $3000 that money will go DIRECTLY, EVERY CENT to their education, which will put them into the education system and keep them there. If we raise more, even more children will be taken off the streets and put into school.

I am working with The Anidaso Nsae Foundation (TANF) at the moment, which is a non profit organisation. An amazing man, Rev. Laud Kwaku Akuffo is the soul person behind TANF who has made it his mission to get children off the streets and into schools with the money people donate. I have been able to work with him everyday and see first hand the work he does, I so desperately want to help and am asking for your help.

If everyone puts in as little as $10 and we raise the $3,000, we can empower Kwaku’s brothers through education and give them the chance for a happy, healthy, future. If we raise more, we give more children the opportunity to go to school. Maybe you can sacrifice a few cups of coffee this week and donate today, instead.

On behalf of the children that we help out, I thank you, so much.

At the moment I am in Ghana, teaching. I have fallen in love with the sweetest boy that goes to the school, Kwaku. Kwaku is a child that has been given the opportunity to leave his impoverished environment and seek freedom from child labour through education. Kwaku has been sponsored to go to school through an organisation that I am working with at the moment, and his future looks bright.

I was heartbroken to discover that while Kwaku goes to school each morning, his brothers (pictured above) do not. The reason why is because their parents cannot afford to put them through school and they are not sponsored. Not being in school means they roam the streets and take part in child labour, hard labour, washing dishes at local road side restaurants.

I am desperately asking for all of us to work together to raise money to send his brothers to school. If we raise $3000 that money will go DIRECTLY, EVERY CENT to their education, which will put them into the education system and keep them there. If we raise more, even more children will be taken off the streets and put into school.

I am working with The Anidaso Nsae Foundation (TANF) at the moment, which is a non profit organisation. An amazing man, Rev. Laud Kwaku Akuffo is the soul person behind TANF who has made it his mission to get children off the streets and into schools with the money people donate. I have been able to work with him everyday and see first hand the work he does, I so desperately want to help and am asking for your help.

If everyone puts in as little as $10 and we raise the $3,000, we can empower Kwaku’s brothers through education and give them the chance for a happy, healthy, future. If we raise more, we give more children the opportunity to go to school.

Maybe you can sacrifice a few cups of coffee this week and donate today, instead.

On behalf of the children that we help out, I thank you, so much.

– See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/help-send-kwaku-s-brothers-to-school-/109627#sthash.O7eSsOob.dpuf

– In the space of 3 days, we raise $3,000 (I get chills just writing that, that day will stay with me forever) and just like that, the course of those boy’s lives are changed forever. Below is the moment we reached $3,000, we were all overwhelmed and in shock.

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-The next day, after hardly any sleep because I couldn’t believe what had just happened, Kwaku and I walk to school and bump into Kwaku’s older brother, Prince. He has just finished work and is going home while Kwaku starts his day at school. I feel like blurting out the good news, but have to stay quiet for now.

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– On Facebook I let everyone know, we did it! Kwaku’s brothers are going to school. I thank everyone a million times but the money doesn’t stop coming in. More friends and family, people from work, all the grade 4 students from my school, strangers, all continue to donate to help get even more children off streets.

– My fundraising event ends on Christmas Day and within weeks, we manage to raise over $8,000, changing the course of so many little people’s lives.

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December 2013

-Laud, Andrew and I sit down with Kwaku’s mother and brothers and tell them the news, they will attend school for the first time, after the Christmas holidays. They aren’t as happy as we thought they would be. The boys only know life on the streets, so school seems very foreign, scary and unnatural to them. We were hoping that they would all be jumping for joy. Andrew and I get worried, wondering if these boys will be able to adapt to their new life and stay in school. Time will tell.

-Andrew creates this video with all our students and Kwaku to say ‘Thank You!’ to everyone who helped us out. We are so happy!

-Andrew also creates Facebook page, telling people the success I had with getting people to help send Kwaku’s brothers to school. Andrew thinks maybe other people would like to run a ‘personal campaign’ like mine and raise money for a specific child or children. Gizelle Basiri, from Australia, hears about this and contacts Andrew telling him, she would like to be involved in helping send a child to school. Andrew sends her a photo of Mawuna (below), a little girl who does not go to school and Gizelle starts asking friends and family to help out.

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– Gizelle raises enough money to allow Mawuna to leave her impoverished life and entre the school and health care system. Below is Mawuna in her school uniform this year, with her health care card.

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January 2014

– After the most magical adventure of our lives, we say goodbye and hope that Kwaku’s brothers make the most of the opportunities presented to them. We hope for the best but we have our doubts.

-Laud sends us this photo of Kwaku’s brothers outside Wisdom Academy, in their uniforms. At the age of 11 and 12, they are going to school for the first time in their lives, the chance for a struggle free life starts today. We are over the moon that this is actually happening, print out this photo and stick it on our fridge, sending them telepathic positive vibes to stay in school, each morning.

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-Kwaku’s brothers are put in grades 4 and 5. However, they have to spend a few classes a day in the lower grades, learning how to hold a pencil, how to count and the letters of the alphabet. Below is Kwaku’s brother, aged 11, with Kwaku in his kindergarten class.

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-I post this, this and this on the blog and get thousands of hits around the world, spreading the word of our adventure and of TANF.

-From my posts, people want to help out. I get emails asking questions about TANF, asking how they can help. People also contact me and want a list of school supplies they can send to Wisdom Academy to enhance the resources to allow students to have a better education. Below are photos of two parcels that have so far arrived, one from Meg and the other from Kaylene Hack. Unfortunately, it takes many months for the parcels to arrive.

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February 2014

– Gem Kaplan, a TobyWigglebottom reader, contacts Laud and tells him that she wants to  help out by sponsoring 3 kids who are taking part in child labour. Because of her, they are now in school. Below are the three children, Anabel, Bentil and Senduro.

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March

-I get another update from Laud about Kwaku’s brothers and it’s all good news. They haven’t missed a day of school, they are kicking goals and my heart is full. Below are Kwaku’s brothers, centre and on the right.

kwaku update

-People continue to contact Laud and send donations to strengthen his organisation. Through people’s donations it has been possible for TANF to help out other schools within their community. Laud and volunteers are able to speak at a community hall to various schoolteachers and students about the importance of understanding basic first aid procedures and having and knowing how to use first aid equipment such as bandages. Teachers and students are shown how to help out a person when injured and how to get them safely to a hospital if needed. At the end of the presentation, Laud is able to present all schools with a First Aid kit full of medical supplies. These First Aid kits are only possible through people’s donations. Below is Laud and TANF volunteers presenting to school communities and presenting them with First Aid packs.

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April 2014

-Gizelle Basiri makes plans to visit the little girl she helped, Mawuna by going to Ghana and working with TANF.

-Sarah Allen from Girls Guide Australia contacts me and asks if I could speak to the girls about my experience at Wisdom Academy to allow them to understand the struggles other people their age face on a daily basis in Ghana. After my presentation, adults and children are inspired to help out and create care packages for the children from TANF and Wisdom Academy. Below are some of the girls and their teachers from Girls Guide Australia.

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-People’s generosity allows Laud to get Health Insurance for all the children who have been rescued by TANF. The card the rescued children are holding, below, entitles them to see a doctor when they are sick, if they need an operation, that card will give them one, if they need medication, that card will provide it for them, without them having to pay anything. Every person that has helped get Kwaku’s brothers and the other children off the streets, has helped give them that card. In a place like Africa, what they hold in their hands is something that we will never understand the meaning or value of.

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So, that’s it so far, pretty amazing, hey?! And all of this because Andrew and I met a little boy named Kwaku, asked people to help us out, which caused a ripple effect that I hope will never end. To everyone, you are awesome and saying thank you a million times, will never be enough.

If you would like any information about TANF, volunteering or just have questions, you can contact me through the contact tab on the blog or Laud, here.

P.S – Those of you who follow us on Instagram or Facebook may know that we are up for Pet Blog of the Year with the Bupa Blog Awards 2016. We would love to win the category and if you have a few seconds we would sincerely appreciate you voting for us, here. Voting ends at the end of August.