For NGOs around the world, collaboration with others is crucial for success. Today, we want to reflect on the last year, recognising the organisations that supported us as we worked to make education more accessible to children in rural communities in Ghana.
Ghana recorded its first cases of Covid-19 in March, with schools across the country closing in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. Learning has been severely affected, particularly for younger children. Educational resources are scarce in our four target communities, with schools lacking books and stationery. For many children, having to learn at home further exacerbates this problem. Access to learning materials becomes even more limited, and some families abandon trying to help their children to learn altogether, preferring that they help around the house or at the family business.
In an attempt to combat this, co-founder Willow Faulkner devised a plan: to send children’s books to all four communities through a series of book drives. We asked for donations and were absolutely blown away by the response, with communities around the world donating thousands of pre-loved books. Altmar Parish Williamstown Central School Alumni in New York, Willow Faulkner’s alma mater, generously donated collaboratively over 4000 books. The community of Carters Lane Baptist Church, in Halesowen, UK, also worked hard to gather donations, creatively working around Covid-19 restrictions to fill boxes of books. We are so grateful to both Altmar Parish Williamstown Central School Alumni and Carters Lane Baptist Church, and to the countless other people who kindly donated. With their help, WIN was able to donate a book to every child in our four target communities, and are looking forward to distributing the remaining books over the coming months!
In December, we collaborated with Halesowen College’s Early Years Department through the help of our Partnership and Development Officer, Hannah Jackson to fundraise for our “Send a Child to School” campaign. Before our fundraising events, we visited the college to give a series of presentations, aiming to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the children in our target communities. The students were very responsive, and eager to learn what they could do to help. They organised a “Tinsel Trail Trek”, and we joined students and staff to walk around the college trim trail, wearing Christmas jumpers and taking part in a festive quiz. Students collected sponsorship from family and friends, and asked for donations from people around campus. Staff members brought in cakes, biscuits and hot chocolate – very much needed as the weather was freezing! Halesowen College did a fantastic job, absolutely exceeding our expectations and raising £557 in total! Students and staff also supported our book drives, bringing boxes of pre-loved books into college.
As fundraising for our “Send a Child to School Campaign drew to a close, we were contacted by the Church of Pentecost, PUCA Assembly in Accra, Ghana, who offered to donate 200 school bags to children in our four target communities. They were true to their word, and Maxwell Odonkor, our founder, returned from a visit to the church with two enormous sacks filled with rucksacks. The church has supported WIN on several occasions over the past few years, and we are so thankful for their kindness and generosity.
The Covid-19 pandemic left many of us feeling isolated; unable to visit family, go to work or socialise with friends. We’ve comprehended the importance of connection more than ever before, finding innovative ways to communicate with one another despite the restrictions we face. 2020 has been a challenging year, but we at World Inspiring Network feel so fortunate to have been able to collaborate with so many wonderful people, working together to help those who need it the most. We are honoured to have received so much support from around the globe, and can’t wait to keep communicating with you all, even if it is through a slightly unreliable Zoom connection!