Partner Ghana

Sacred Heart Secondary is privileged to be registered with the Partner Ghana project which develops long term relationships between schools in the UK with schools in Ghana.

Supported by Sabre Charitable Trust, this is a fantastic way to engage with pupils and teachers in another part of the world, sharing projects and experiences whilst learning about each other’s lives. The aim of the project is to foster greater cultural awareness and understanding in both communities.

Partnership activities include pen pals, shared projects, themed assemblies, curriculum projects, reciprocal teacher visits and team expeditions. The schools also have a live link via the internet so that shared discussion can take place in lessons.

Sacred Heart Secondary is partnered with Ayensudo Junior High which is located in the Keeda District on the Southern Coast of Ghana.

The Partnership Journey so far

Ayensudo Junior High is a school of 400 students set in the middle of a farming community. 

With the help of the Sabre Trust, Ayensudo School drew up a list of possible projects that we could help them with:

  • Rainwater Harvesting System
  • Redecoration of the Kindergarten Class Rooms
  • Malaria Awareness

The Sacred Heart community then set about raising the thousands of pounds needed to carry out the work and send an expedition team to Ghana.

In March 2012 two members of staff from Sacred Heart went out to Ayensudo to meet the Ghanaian teachers and students and observe their very different teaching methods.  The whole village community had prepared for the visit and they put on a special welcome ceremony.  Discussions began about the school partnership and the summer projects.

In July 2012 two teachers from Ayensudo, Solomon Appiah and Orpheus Armah travelled to the UK to join Sacred Heart for Community Week, sampling some formal lessons, school activities, and local food. Many staff hosted them during the week and as well as school life the two were able to observe the differences between the coastal regions of the North East of England and Southern Ghana.

During August 2012 the first student expedition to Ayensudo took place. This was the result of eighteen months of fundraising and planning. The whole project was well supported by the school community with many successful fundraising events taking place such as a Prom Fashion Show, Sponsored events and the Summer Fayre.

During the three weeks in Ghana the Sacred Heart team lived within the heart of the village and were able to learn a great deal about Ghanaian culture, local cuisine and daily life.

The Projects

A Rainwater Harvesting System was the main project.  Up to this point in time the school had never had running water despite two rainy seasons a year. Using a local plumber and community volunteers the team successfully installed a 5000 litre polytank. Guttering was put up to collect rainwater from the school roof and transfer it to the tank giving the school a form of running water for the first time.

The classrooms had never been painted making them very dark and dull. The expedition team painted the three kindergarten classrooms and had enough paint left over to paint on of the primary classrooms. The artistic talents of Sacred Heart students were revealed as they painted an alphabet artwork around the walls. The Ghanaian children and teachers now have bright colourful classrooms to learn and teach in.

A partnership mural was created on the side of the school building to remind the school and community of our partnership. The design of the mural signifies the coming together of two very diverse cultures who want to work together to broaden the life experiences of the students from both schools.

Malaria is a major problem in Ghana and the expedition team wanted to help the whole village community become aware of this killer disease.  Having prepared posters in the UK, the team worked alongside local health professionals to deliver a presentation to the whole community following which all children under 5 years of age were screened for malaria.  Most were found to be infected and they were then offered treatment.

October Expedition 2013

The focus of this 10 day expedition was the complete repainting of the Ayensudo Community library which stands in the grounds of the school. It is used as a staff room and ICT suite as well as housing all the books.  With the help of the Ghanaian buddies and staff the whole of the outside of the building was repainted and every window was fitted with mosquito netting, making the library a safer place to work. The courtyard area was brightened up with paintings depicting different subjects studied. Our famous partnership mural was another requested addition to the area.  On seeing the quality of the artwork the headmaster asked for the school logo to be painted on the outside of his office too.

Carefully wrapped within our luggage we took 3 microscopes and 2 sets of astronomical binoculars and tripods. The Ghanaian children were very keen to actually do some practical microbiology work. With the help of our students they were soon making their own slides of plant cells using onion and iodine. Next was animal cells using their own cheek cells and blue food colouring. These microscopes will now give hundreds of children in Ayensudo the ability to do practical scientific work that is only available to some Universities in Ghana.

The binoculars gave the students the chance to see the moon and stars in much greater detail than they have ever seen before.

During this expedition a survey was carried out to see what sort of equipment the kindergarten would like in their playground. This was to be the chosen project for the February 2014 expedition. With plans and measurements drawn the team said a reluctant farewell to their friends in Ghana with many saying they would return.

Take a look at a selection of photographs from the expedition here.

February Expedition 2014

At February half term, the third expedition team travelled to Ghana. This time the luggage contained brackets, chain, swings and tools ready for the playground construction. As the timber list had already been sent ahead we were ready to get started straight away.

What we weren’t ready for was the change that had occurred since October. With the paint we had left behind the students and staff had continued with the painting of the outside of the classrooms around the playground area. Also, the playground had been levelled and a perimeter of stones had been laid down. The school looked completely different. They are now planning to get some ‘black’ soil and sow grass seed when the rainy season comes in June.

We were very keen to continue with their work and make a difference in the playground, especially for the kindergarten children. They watched eagerly as the see saw, monkey bars, balance beam and swings were constructed. To brighten the area up the surrounding concrete was painted and bright stylised lizards and frogs were painted on the walls. On the grand opening the children were thrilled to finally get to play on the equipment.  The school staff commented that "the children are now eager to come to school so that they can play in the playground at their break times"

Take a look at a selection of photographs from the expedition here.

What Happens Next?

A member of staff at Ayensudo will be spending four weeks at Sacred Heart during March 2014 and we are planning to bring over two students and another member of staff to spend a week here at Sacred Heart in October 2014. 

Although we had planned that a further expedition would take place in August 2015, due to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, and the uncertainity of its containment, the planned expedition to Ghana was postponed.  Naturally the team were very disappointed but supported the decision to delay the visit and seek an alternative destination for 2015.  So now they are off to India.  For more information go to our Partner Schools Worldwide - India page.

As fundraising had already taken place for project work in Ayensudo, the money raised will still be sent out to the community to enable them to carry on with much needed work.  Our partners in Aynsudo are still working hard to acquire passports for four students who will visit us here at Sacred Heart.  We hope to get them here as soon as possible, but again we are awaiting a settled outcome of the Ebola crisis.

Our partnership with Ayensudo is still continuing and we hope to see our friends there again soon.

In the meantime the Academy community in the UK will be raising funds for the visit with a series of events.  We are very grateful for all the help given to our students by parents and friends and to all the local business who have helped us.  If you are interested in supporting the Partner Ghana project please contact Mrs Meadows, Community Co-ordinator.

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