I have just finished writing our year-end newsletter. This annual exercise gives me a chance to reminisce and reflect on all the crazy ups and downs, achievements and challenges, heartbreak and hysteria that typifies our work in Ghana. It is always “two steps forward, one step back”... which is rather frustrating for us Americans, but completely expected by our Ghanaian counterparts. Challenge, disappointment, corruption, and setbacks are part of their everyday life. So it really is REMARKABLE that we have been able to achieve as much as we have for the past several years. Our programs are growing steadily and reaching more and more kids. Here is a quick review of what we are currently doing to bring HELP and HOPE to the kids of Ofaakor:
1.) We have 48 children now receiving high school scholarships. They each will be able to attend three years of high school at the government boarding schools. What an amazing opportunity this is for our top graduates from the Good Shepherd School.
2.) We are about to award scholarships to 16 children for “job-training and apprenticeship programs”. These students have completed 8th grade, and now they must learn a trade that will provide them with some income to survive.
3.) We continue to pay for two full-time caregivers at the orphanage. Gloria and Millicent have been at the orphanage for several years now, and we are so grateful for their commitment to the kids.
4.) We continue to subsidize all of the teachers at the school, and this year we gave each of them a salary increase AND we have bought health insurance for all of them.
5.) We are funding an afterschool program so that the children can get help completing their homework.
6.) We had 6 college students volunteer for two months each, helping out with a variety of GCF programs. THANK YOU to Peter, Tyler, Sonja, Abby, Chris and Marissa!!
7.) One very generous donor, Melissa Waggener Zorkin, donated money for us to buy 1,000 chicks to continue the poultry farm. These chicks have finally reached the age where they are laying eggs, so the children are now getting regular protein in their diet, and the extra eggs are sold to subsidize the overall food costs.
8.) Several other donors over the course of the year enabled us to buy many “little” things that make such a diffference: underwear, uniforms, recreational equipment, two trips to the beach, a Christmas feast and Christmas presents, and an end-of-year excursion for all of the kids in the orphanage.
NONE OF THIS WOULD BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE GENEROSITY OF OUR WONDERFUL DONORS!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.