An interview with Greta Radaelli, co-ordinator of Recta School Project
Globally, around 120 million children do not attend school. Since its inception World Inspiring Network has been fighting to change this statistic, working with community leaders and teachers throughout Ghana to raise awareness of the importance of education.
In Ghana alone, an estimated 35, 000 children are not enrolled in primary education, despite frequent government initiatives to make learning more accessible.
These statistics are intimidating, and there is no single organisation capable of guaranteeing educational support to every child. At WIN, we understand the power of working together, of collaborating with other fantastic individuals and organisations to transform visions into reality.
Last week, I sat down with Greta Radaelli – co-ordinator of Recta School Project – to discuss her experiences with education in rural Ghana and find out about the work she is doing. Greta visited Ghana’s Volta Region in 2019, volunteering as a teacher for several weeks at Recta school in Frankadua. She recounts the kindness and hospitality of the Ghanaian people, and tells me that she enjoyed delicious local food; fufu with fish in particular.
Women preparing cassava in Frankadua
Frankudua, a community on the Alabo river, is home to around 5000 people. Founded 600 years ago, 90% of its residents are farmers. Recta, like many village schools in rural Ghana, was extremely basic.
Greta recalls improvised classrooms, separated from one another by thin wooden sheets. Educational resources, such as pens, markers and notebooks, were scarce. Classes were overcrowded and chaotic, punctuated by continuous interruptions from younger students. Teaching in this environment, Greta admits, was challenging.
Teaching at Recta school
“The chaos was constant, and we were often distracted by the little (and adorable!) babies that were escaping from the nursery. The learning experience was made even harder by the lack of simple resources like pens, notebooks and functioning markers.”
Despite this, pupils were eager to learn. Greta remembers two pupils in particular, Jennifer and Justice, who scored the highest marks in the whole community in their BECE after attending her statistics class. These pupils, along with headmaster Simon, inspired Greta to begin a campaign to raise money to rebuild Recta school.
“What struck me the most was the endurance and interest of the kids. It felt like they were craving for knowledge and, whenever their teacher was absent, they would shout at me: “Come teach us! Come teach us!”.”
Children at Recta school
Like myself, Greta was fortunate enough to receive a quality education, and is a passionate advocate for learning. By building a new school in Recta, she aims to make education more accessible. The school is currently crowded, with 186 pupils. Only four of these, however, were enrolled in Junior High.
Greta hopes that improvements in the school’s infrastructure and new educational resources will reduce the drop out rate amongst older pupils. Educational opportunities, Greta says, are particularly crucial for girls. Currently, Ghana ranks 107th on the Global Gender Gap Equality Index and is in the lower 25% for female representation in parliament, female literacy rate and women in the professional workforce.
“I think that education sets us free. It is so important because it gives us choice, and it makes us masters of our future. It empowers us, and it shows us that the possibilities are endless. Thanks to education, we become able to deepen our passions and transform them into jobs, into innovation, into community development. It needs to be every child’s right.”
Progress on rebuilding Recta school has already begun. Greta hopes to be able to raise $3250 in total, with any excess funds being used for the purchase of learning materials. To achieve her goal, Greta has designed some brilliant official project merchandise inspired by traditional Kente cloth and Adinkra symbols.
Fabrics hanging at a market in Frankadua. Greta has used these designs as the inspiration behind official project merchandise.
Across Ghana, more children are attending school than ever before. There is a worrying disparity, though, between the number of children enrolled in education and the number of children leaving skills with adequate understanding of language, literacy and maths. Greta’s project aims to create an environment much more conducive to learning for the children of Recta, providing them with an opportunity to complete a quality education.
“I hope to give the kids of Retca the infrastructure that they deserve. I hope that in a few years, the Junior High class won’t have only 4 pupils, but a full class, because the dropout rate will decrease. Most of all, I hope that the kids will know that they haven’t been forgotten, that their education and success matter, and that and they deserve the chance to become the best version of themselves.”
Work on Frankadua’s new school has already begun. Here, foundations are being placed.
If you would like to learn more about Greta’s campaign to build a new school in Frankadua, please visit her GoFundMe page
Hannah Jackson has recently completed an MA in Religion and Politics and is passionate in advocating for human rights around the world. She joined the team at World Inspiring Network in 2020 as Partnership and Development Officer. Hannah Jackson also works with the charity as a volunteer blog writer enjoys photography, and hopes to be a foreign correspondent in the future.