Another important reason for the trip to Ghana by our board member, Christoph Wenzl, was the organization of the further project steps. But before any further measures can be taken it was essential to meet all the relevant authorities.

First up here are the Chiefs. Those are the traditional, royal rulers in Ghana and have many responsibilities beyond their important representative function. They regulate many local affairs and act as judges at this level. They also make decisions about land ownership.
Christoph, together with our project partner Alhassan Salifu, met two chiefs during his visit: the chief of Saguli and the chief of Gbalahi, who is superior to the former. These visits follow a strict protocol. First, the assemblyman of the village announces the guests. Only when the chief is ready are the guests allowed to enter the palace. Then kola nuts are traditionally presented as a tribute. According to Christoph’s personal opinion, this can only be due to traditional reasons and certainly not because of the very bitter taste of the nuts. After the introduction by the assemblyman and a greeting from the chief, visitors can express their concerns. But because all this was in the local language Dagbani, our German representative didn’t understand very much. Fortunately, our local project partner, Alhassan, interpreted. It was noticeable that the chief very often used proverbs to express his thoughts. In an almost poetic way, he showed his gratitude for our commitment. He finds it extremely important that young people in his area now have easier access to education.

In addition to the chiefs, there are also democratically elected authorities in Ghana. Christoph paid them a visit, too. First, he met the municipality chief executive for the Sagnarigu district, Mohammed Yakubu Ahmed. He was also delighted with our project.

However, to meet the next one on the list, the member of parliament for the Tamale North constituency, Christoph and Alhassan had to travel to the capital, Accra. There, Alhassan Suhuyini welcomed them to his office and was so happy with the work of the Taha School project that he promised to donate the furniture when the school was expanded.

Another visit to Accra took place in Ghana’s most important political building, the Flagstaffhouse. There our representatives met with Dr. Samuel Frimpong, the Vice President’s adviser in economic affairs. Delighted with such a great project, he welcomed them between meetings and promised his support for anything needed.

As you can see, there were some important appointments for Alhassan and unsurprisingly they were very tired afterwards. But it was definitely worth it, because with the support of all important authorities, nothing will stand in the way of further project steps.

 

For one and a half years our school has been standing now, but no member of our association from Germany has ever visited it. But in May of this year the time had finally come: Our board member, Christoph Wenzl, set off on a project trip lasting several weeks. Among many other activities on the agenda, such as meetings with local authorities or government representatives, another one was at the top: visiting the school.

It was an indescribable feeling for Christoph when he proudly entered the school for the first time. The assembled students were initially curious about the unknown guest. But after our Ghanaian partner, Alhassan Salifu, introduced his German colleague, he was greeted with thunderous applause. The students expressed several times how grateful they are to the association and all supporters.

The teachers were also happy to get to know the guest from Germany and thanked them several times for the commitment of the Taha School project. They spoke of an incomparable project. Because the remedial classes in Taha give the students a second chance in life that they would never have gotten otherwise.

Most of them come from difficult backgrounds. Christoph Wenzl was able to convince himself of this when some of the students told him their stories: Many have lost one or both parents, the majority had problems at school and poverty is omnipresent. Added to this is the poor quality of teaching in many schools, which is why it is often no wonder that young people fail the final exams.

With the remedial classes they now have the chance to catch up and repeat the exams. Then they can study and learn a profession with a secure income. During his visit, Christoph also asked the young men and women about their career aspirations. The answers were very diverse: nutritionist, nurse, teacher. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see an alumnus back at the school in Taha, but this time as a teacher.

Because of the ongoing corona pandemic, the annual general meeting had to take place online like in the last year. That’s why the members followed the review, which the chairman, Christoph Wenzl, gave on the last year, in front of their screens at home. The year 2021 went very positive in many ways for our association. The chairman was especially happy about the beginning of the classes in the newly built school in Ghana. For the first time 33 youths received education in math, English and science.
Most of the students in Ghana have problems in those core subjects and the free education at the new school in Taha provides them with the opportunity to prepare themselves intensively for their final exams which took place in December. Even the results are not out yet, the teachers were very content with the performance of the scholars and praised the association’s initiative which gives the young people an unprecedented chance. Unterricht in Taha

To this also the Danubius foundation contributed substantially since it took care for the examination fees for all the 33 students. Also in Germany the association was very successful and could raise donations at charity concerts and through talks as well as promote its work.

A special highlight of the meeting was a video call with the representative of the Ghanaian partner organization, Alhassan Salifu. The members used this opportunity to ask questions about the running of the school and the current situation in Ghana in general. Alhassan, too, was pleased about this exchange and thanked them for the good collaboration.

The goal of this year is to build on the successful work and to continue the education. All interested supporters can foster this with a scholarship. Beyond that the school should be extended for two more classrooms because of the active demand.

The temperature was quite lower than in Ghana but the audience was of the same age as the students at the NEA remedial school in Taha, when Christoph Wenzl gave a talk about our project at his former school, the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Gymnasium (JvFG) Cham in November.

In front of numerous highschool students he told of the difficult situation in Taha at the beginning and the successful construction of the school in the last year. The Chamer students showed brisk interest, especially when Wenzl began to report of the start of the classes in April 2021: It began with only 21 students under strict hygiene rules. Today 30 young women and men between 18 and 29 years are visting the school.

The audience was astonished when they heard from daily routine in Ghana, which is quite different from their own. The classes take place in the afternoon and at the weekends, so that both students and teachers find time for their other duties such as work, help in the households or at the fields.
Three skilled teachers for the subjects English, Mathematics and science prepare the 30 students in Taha systematically for the final exams in these core subjects. These will start in December and thanks to a generous donation all students could get scholarships for the exam fees.

Finally, Christoph Wenzl gave a special thanks to the JvFG’s “Kinderhilfswerk” and the students who made the purchase of new school materials possible with their great donation this summer.

Following a field visit to the school in May, where the director of Northern Educational Alliance (NEA), Mr Alhassan Salifu interacted with both the students and the staff of the school, he identified several challenges. Most of them were related to the lack of materials. With the generous support of donators in Germany, namely the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Gymnasium (JvFG) Cham, the following items worth of 8,105 Ghc were bought which will significantly improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Marker board
The marker board which was in use so far was very small of size. This caused big delays in the lessons since the teachers had to wait for the students to copy the content of the board before they could clean it and continue with writing. With the money a new full class size White Marker Board could be purchased which will help the teachers with making sketches on the board and enable unobstructed, faster lessons.

Exercise Books/Note Books
This was described by one of the masters as an eyesore and very pathetic during class. Most of the students were not having note books to write neither were they having exercise books. What they used instead was either one book serving the same purpose or loose pieces of papers. It is obvious that this is not healthy academic practice and that’s why in total 90 note/exercise books were bought for the students to take notes during classes and to do their homework in.

Selected Litrature Books
The English master drew the attention to one aspect of the english syllabus which required the reading and studying of selected litrature books for the final English WASSCE paper. Failure to read this books highly reduces the chances of passing the English paper since the questions on them constitute a greater marks in the exams. That’s why in total 90 literature books by three different authors were purchased and allocated to the students.

 

The NEA wishes to show its profound gratitude for the support given toward the purchase of the mentioned materials to assist the students at the NEA Remedial Classes Centre. This support will have a huge impact on the pending WAEC exams. The students were very happy after receiving these items and equally wish to express their gratitude. The Taha-School-Project especially thanks the JvFG Cham because without its support the quick enforcement of this method could have not been possible. We hope that the materials will be put to the best use.

 

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

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!

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.

 

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.

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.