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Ready, set, learn!

On April 06, 2021, the time had finally come: The Ghbalahi remedia School in Taha opened its doors for the first time.

After eight months of construction and many years of preparation, the Ghbalahi remedia school in Taha was able to commence classes in April. Due to the Corona pandemic, the start of school in the whole of Ghana had been postponed to January 1. However, since our school is still privately owned, we were able to determine the start date individually and thus ensure that a well-thought-out hygiene concept could be enforced.

The school has now started for 21 students aged 15 to 18 who have not passed their SHS (Secondary High School; comparable to the German Gymnasium) final examinations and therefore do not have a degree. They now have the opportunity to obtain one. In addition, students who do not have the chance to attend a SHS because the nearest school is too far away are also taught here. With targeted instruction and tutoring by trained teaching staff, they are specifically prepared for the final exams in the core subjects of mathematics, English and science.

A single teacher for each of these subjects holds lessons each afternoon or during the weekends. Many of the students have to work or help their parents in the household or at the farms and that’s why they can’t go to school in the morning. The first 21 students come directly from Taha or the surrounding villages.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we developed a hygiene concept based on the guidelines of the Ghanaian government in order to be able to create a safe learning environment. Before classes begin, all participants must wash their hands thoroughly. Afterwards, the temperature is measured with a so-called “temperature gun”, a contactless thermometer. Only when the temperature is safe the students are allowed to enter the classroom. Masks are mandatory in the entire building. In addition, the rooms are cleaned daily. Masks and disinfectants were provided by the association.

Most of the students come from low-income families. Therefore, the running costs will continue to be covered by the association. We want to offer the young people education and thus perspectives and more opportunities for their future. We are therefore still dependent on donations and are grateful for any support! For more information contact us under info@tahaschulprojekt.de.

Bank account:
recipient: Taha-Schul-Projekt e.V.
IBAN: DE31 7426 1024 0005 7637 54
BIC: GENODEF1CHA
Raiffeisenbank Chamer Land eG

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The school is completed!

Even though not many days have passed since the plastering of the walls, the pictures which our partners sent us in November looked very different. As if somebody put the technicolor into the camera, the building shines now in bright colors.
We are really proud of the beautiful school and you can understand why if you see the pictures. The building shines in yellow and red and fittingly also windows with green blinds were installed. One could think that the painters got their inspiration from the Ghanaian national flag.

Hence the construction is complete. Currently the furniture is being made but this should also be done in a few days. Then is will not take long and the school can open its doors. In March education for 40 students should start. Since one classroom isn’t sufficient to be approved as secondary school, we will run it as a special type. Our so-called pre-school should prepare the kids for the Junior High school exams. For this purpose, three qualified teachers will be employed.

The start of the education and the running of the school come along with big costs for us. Exercise books, textbooks and pens have to be bought and of course, the teachers need to be paid. For this we have started a new donation campaign. With the slogan “2021 – In Taha Schule machen” we collect donations for the above-mentioned purposes. At the same moment we want to inform in Germany about our project and the educational situation in Ghana. You find a nice promo video here on the slide “accomplishing schooling”. Help us to improve the educational situation in Taha!

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The building stands

What a wonderful feeling to see those pictures! After all these years of hard work finally the price for our effort shows. Of course, the school is not finished yet, but the construction is really going on well.

Where one could only see a big, rectangular concrete area, now stands an impressive house. After the works on the floor were finally done, it could be started with the brickwork. These didn’t even take a week, so that it looked like our school shot out of the ground like a mushroom. After the masons it was the carpenters’ turn to erect a wooden roof truss on top of the walls.  Finally, they set a shiny crown in the form of a corrugated sheet roof on top of it. Now it shines bright in the Ghanaian sun.
However, after this successfully completed stage, the work immediately continued. The remaining walls to the pediment had to be raised. Then, our workers could already start with plastering. This hard task took quite some time, but the result proves that it was definitely worth the trouble.

The toilets are our second construction site and here it was almost the same as with the classroom – just in a smaller scale: First, the walls had to be raised. Doing so, four separate booths were built and one wall surrounding it. On top of the booths likewise a wooden roof truss was built and rounded off with a corrugated sheet roof. Finally, everything was plaster and the toilet house waits along with the classroom building for its paint. We will report on this soon.

 

The construction of the school proceeds

Not even half a year has passed, since the beginning of construction in May, but what we have achieved in Taha during this time is simply great. The whole summer the workers were really busy and helped to let our school at record speed. There were only small interruptions because of the rain.
After the mounting of the foundations the floor was filled up, compacted and covered with a concrete layer. Then already the superstructure could be put up. The blocks which were formed on site from concrete during the other works conferred our school soon the appearance of a proper house.
Also, there was steady progress in the works on the toilets. The drainage pit hat to be mantled with concrete and the hole had to be finally filled again. Above of this the floor was laid with the suitable holes, which are absolutely necessary for the typical squat toilet. As a next step the actual toilet house will be placed on top of that.
The progress on the site gives us courage that we can soon achieve our aim of a school in Taha. See for yourself in the gallery.

The construction starts

It took less than a week, after we received the good news of the funding by the W.P. Schmitz Foundation, and the first excavators and trucks rolled into the otherwise tranquil Taha. Where there was previously green scrubland has been a lot of activity since the beginning of May. It is dug, concrete mixed and bricked.

The outlines of our future school can already be seen from the foundations. Those were raised at record speed, just in time before the beginning of the rainy season. Latter almost postponed the start of the construction work until September, because it is important for the foundations that the ground is dry, so that there is no consequential damage. But we were lucky and the next steps are not dependent on the weather except that a construction break must be taken in the case of rain.

The first stage in the construction of the toilets was just as crucial, because an approximately two meter deep pit had to be dug for it, which of course should not be filled in by the rain. But here too the critical point was exceeded, because the hole had already been bricked up with concrete blocks. The next steps are to continuing the work on the footing of the building, to fill and level the base area with a total of three layers of earth or gravel and to pour the floor plate.

Management of the construction site is entrusted to the local company Modi constructions, which convinced us with a very affordable offer and already has extensive experience in constructing school buildings. The rapid progress in construction is evidence of its efficiency. In addition, an independent engineer who was hired as a supervisor certified that the work was of high quality. So we are confident that the construction will continue to go so smoothly and satisfactorily and will keep you up to date.

 

Good news

With February also our campaign “10for10” ended, which attracted much attention in social media and in the local area of ​​our association. This campaign was a great success and we were able to collect € 14,225 for our project.

Many thanks to all the donors in this place!

But we did not only receive much money, but also great enthusiasm and motivation, which also means a lot to us, because it always reinforces us in our work. Last but not least, we want to express a huge thank you to the people in charge of the campaign who have a large share in its success.

If you remember the video, you will know that “10 for 10” is part of a larger campaign to secure the funding of the first building of our planned school. The other part was an application for public funding from the W.P. Schmitz-foundation. Last week we finally received the long-awaited message: The W.P. Schmitz foundation funds us with € 10,000. This means a great success for us, because thereby the overall financing of the above mentioned project is secured.

This also means that our work continues with the same verve, since we now want to turn our intention into deeds. That´s why we are working almost around the clock to meet all the necessary precautions. We hope to announce the start of the construction very soon!

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2020 – a year in review

With the beginning of the year we had to bear a setback. We had applied for public funding und hoped that we could start the construction of the school with it. Unfortunately we were classified into a minor funding category and so the already planned project couldn’t be realized due to the big total costs.

However we were not put off through that und started to plan a smaller project of which we will be reporting below. Furthermore our partners in Ghana were very successful in negotiating with the Ghanaian education service (GES) and received an acceptance letter which guarantees the take-over of the school by government once it is completed. This is a big success for us since it means that no further costs for running the school will become due for our NGO.

Die Organisatorinnen des Sportfestes übergaben die Spende bei der Schulabschlussfeier

In July we were happy about the great commitment of the students of the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Gymnasium (JvFG) Cham. Together they ran 1116 km for charity reasons. For each round a private sponsor donated 2€ to our project or the JvFGs partner school in Togo. So that in the end we could thank them for an amazing donation of 365.40€.

We already invested part of this sum in the small project we talked above. Our Ghanaian partners had initiated it already in the beginning of the year. Because according to a study by the GES huge deficits in education can be traced back to lacking reading experience. However the children in Ghana often don’t have the opportunity to read, since they hardly own any books themselves and not every school is equipped with a library. That’s why our partners from the NEA acquired in total 600 reading books from various Ghanaian authors and distributed them to children in four primaries and JHS in the area. But the project is not done yet, because with events like reading competitions we want to further encourage the children to practice reading.

Even though we made a visible impact with this project our main focus lies on our big aim: the establishment of a secondary school. And we approached this in the second half of the year.

Already in August the planning of a new project to build a small part of the school complex began.
This will contain a 42 m² big classroom, an office and a storeroom. Additionally a sanitary station with four separated toilet booths will be constructed. Furthermore the project includes the furnishing with desks and the provision of the relevant schoolbooks, so that directly after the end of the project the education in form of a pre-school can start.

Even though we have reduced this project to the essential elements, it still exceeds our NGOs financial resources. That’s why we began with writing an application for funding to the W.P. Schmitz foundation in September, which supports NGOs in executing projects in unprivileged countries. The application was already submitted to the foundation and should be examined in the beginning of the year.

Simultaneously we wanted to motivate as many donators with our “10for10” campaign to acquire the missing part of the budget of 10,000€. We could raise a lot of attention with a tedious video and reports in the local media, so that we had already collected more than 7,000€ before Christmas. During the Christmas days we received some further generous donations which helped us to reach our goal already before the end of the year. Nevertheless the campaign is still running and we are happy about any donation which will be guaranteed put in our project.

We hereby want to thank all our supporters for the last year. We are looking forward to the year 2020, when according to all projections we will start with the construction and we hope that we accomplish many more great projects to assist the children in the North of Ghana in getting an education of high quality. Thank you very much!

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Kofi and his adventures made children happy

Do you know Ananse and how he managed to outwit Mr Tortoise? Or Kofi, the clever schoolboy and his tricks? Have you heard of the black pot, out of which suddenly a rabbit jumped? And do you know what happened to the boy who turned into a tree?

The circuit supervisor of Sagnarigu hands over the books to the principal of a primary

No?!? Then maybe you should ask the children of Taha.
Because while you are reading this article, they probably sit excitedly over the books, in which these adventures are told. Overall theses are 600 story books for primaries and Junior High Schools in Ghana, which our partner organisation Northern Educational Alliance (NEA) distributed to children at four schools in the Taha area last week. They were proudly supported by the circuit supervisor of Sagnarigu, the Northern chairman of CCT and delegates from the chief palace.

This was part of the reading-project, which we conduct in close partnership with the Ghana Education Service to improve the children’s learning skills. The GES found out that you can catch up deficiencies in learning with continuous reading exercises. The problem herein is that the children are lacking the materials since they own very few books themselves and only the bigger schools in the country possess libraries.

That’s why together with the NEA we planned the “schoolbooksproject”, where, in a first step, we distributed story books. In the following weeks the children will have time to read the books and events like reading competitions or quizzes will motivate them alongside.

The project could be financed with the donations of the last months, but we would especially like to thank the students of the Joseph-von-Fraundorfer Gymnasium Cham, who collected more than 1800€ at a charity run. But we also want to express our gratitude to all other supporters!

In the gallery you can get a few impressions from the books distribution:

Helping “Old Shatterhands”

On behalf of the whole NGO we want to thank the “Chamer Squash und Freizeitclub e.V.” for their donation of 1,000€ for our project. These are the revenues of this years sommernight-festival. The “Old-Shatterhand-Festival“, how it is widely known, attracted a lot of people in Pitzling for the 31st time this year. With the donation the Chamer Squashclub wants to give us starting aid for our planned start of construction.

Raimund Huber und Hans Schmaderer (li. u. re. außen) vom Chamer Squash- und Freizeitclub e.V. übergeben im Beisein von Schulleiter Uwe Mißlinger die Spende von 1000,- € an die Betreuerin des schuleigenen Kinderhilfswerks, Wally Kutscher, die damit das Taha-Schulprojekt unterstützt.

Furthermore we thank the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Gymnasium Cham, which supports us since the beginning within the framework of their children-social-aid unter the chair of Wally Kutscher and which accepted the donation for us. Special thanks goes to StD a.D. Christian Nowotny, who adverted our project to the chair of the Chamer Squashclub. (Originalreport: jvfg-cham.de)

Motivated students ran 1116 km

1116 km. This is the distance between Cham and Rome. However this wasn’t about an extreme Marathon to the Italian capital. Because the students from the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Gymnasium (JvFG) accomplished this distance in totally 1800 rounds around the “Quadfeldmühle” in Cham. They made this sudatory effort not just for fun but for charity: In the end of the charity run they collected 3,653.40 € in total, because 2 € were donated for each round by a private sponsor.

The organizers of the charity run handed over the donation at the JvFG’s closing ceremony

This sum was shared in equal parts between two charity projects which are both closely linked with the JvFG: First of all the partnerschool in Togo, the Collège Saint Albert le Grand Atakpamé, got the subsidy for urgent renovations. And second our NGO got the other part of the donation for our big project, the start of the construction of the first classroomblock. The JvFG is supporting us since the very first beginning, mostly within the framework of their “children’s social-aid”, but also with events like this.

We want to thank all the students for their great effort but also the organizers of the event, Margot Alt and Andrea Rothfischer and we wish you all a happy vacation.