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Friday, 27 May 2016

Education: a right not a Privilege



This week marks the half-way point of our project, and it’s hard to believe how quickly the time has gone. It has been a great couple of weeks and we are really starting to get our teeth into the project and focus on the issue at hand, the importance of education.
As a team we have been really busy at work with several tasks, which have included awareness raising, sexual health training sessions facilitated by the Interns and running educational sessions with three different communities (Literacy Classes and Kid's Club Sessions).
Team After A Radio Sensitization Program at North Star Fm

Our team members Jennifer and Francis, as well as our team leader Fred and an intern from Create Change, have earned themselves local celebrity status after appearing on North Star Radio last Saturday to talk about Create Change and the work that we are doing. Unfortunately the UK volunteers  and a couple of the in-country volunteers were unable to attend as the show was entirely in Dagbani, and their Dagbani leaves much to be desired (it doesn’t extend much further than good morning, good afternoon, good evening and key).  While some of us couldn’t be there ourselves, we know that Jennifer, Francis, Jelila and Frederick did the team proud and did a great job in getting the message out there. It was great to learn that people  called into the radio station, eager to find out more about Create Change and how the organisation can help their children in their education. Schooling in Ghana can be very costly and many children do not receive education past a primary level (rural communities), if at all, and this seems to apply more to girls due to gender roles where a woman’s role is generally to act as the homemaker. This is where Create Change really has an impact and makes a difference. They provide the monetary and the moral support that is needed to get young girls through school and see them succeed. Sadly, not all girls who apply for this support are accepted due to the charity lacking funding and it seems unfair that a child should be turned down or denied their right to a basic formal education. We can only hope that our awareness raising has gone some way to highlight the need for public support so more girls can receive education.
ABC Team with Senior High Students after Sexual Health Training

Over the course of the last week we have also started running sexual health training sessions with the interns from Create Change. We have been heading out to local Senior Schools to teach the students about practicing safe sex. We covered topics such as how to use a condom, STIs, contraception and consent and answered any of their questions. Here teenage pregnancy will mean that the girl has to drop out of school and it is often the case that the girl will not be able to continue with her studies until she has had her baby. She can be out of education for up to two years. Some may not return at all. While we appreciate that abstinence is an important part of sexual health sessions, we want to educate girls on safe sex not only to minimise their chances of STIs or pregnancy but to also make sure that their education is not compromised.
We’ll be rounding off our very busy week with a Kid’s Club in Kpunduli on Friday. The purpose of these clubs is to try and encourage children who have either never been to school or have dropped out of school early, to get back into the classroom and show them how valuable education is and give them an insight to what there is to learn. Prior to the Kid’s Club that we will be running, we will also be carrying out an impact assessment to measure the impact of a borehole that was drilled in the community. We learnt not too long ago of girls missing out on school as they were expected to travel to fetch water for their homes, something that is completely alien to UK volunteers for whom education is compulsory and water is easily accessible, but is a very common occurrence in the more rural areas of Ghana. Not only is this a strenuous and time consuming, but it also isn’t too far removed from the adverts seen on UK television, highlighting the plight of many in Africa. 
It was at this point we realised how precious a resource water is, and how much of a difference access to water can make to a child’s life. Not only does it make the difference in a child’s health as one might expect but also directly impacts upon a child’s education, especially in this community. As most people would know the difference between having a formal education and not having a formal education is marked. It shapes a child’s chances in life; it equips a child with the skills, the knowledge and the qualifications necessary to gain skilled employment and it can open up opportunities. It arms a child with the power to change their lives, to succeed, to earn, to end the cycle of poverty. And thus, education is one of the most powerful tools an individual can have at their disposal and without addressing the importance of education we fail to address the ways in which we can tackle poverty.
By: Jenny and Jennifer

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