Yesterday, I went to the Royal Seed Shelter where I was met with smiling faces producing wet snotty kisses and requesting infinitely many piggyback rides and airplane simulations- which I happily accepted and provided. I met with Pastor Sylvester and Shaibu, the two driven and inspiring men running the school at the Royal Seed Shelter, and I was able to once again see their passion and love for the children with which they work. In addition, I had the incredible opportunity to meet with the new teachers at the school who work diligently day-in and day-out (with very little pay in an extremely challenging environment) to give the 300+ children currently attending school at Royal Seed a better life and a hope for their future. Hundreds of children living in poverty from the surrounding community come to the Royal Seed everyday with the hope for a better education in even the most desperate of conditions. As the sun came up yesterday morning, I was able to witness the overwhelming influx of children into the orphanage from the community. It was both joyful and horrifying- uplifting to see children walking into school ready and excited to learn, and saddening to see the conditions in which they are asked to do so. I sat with 7 girls in Class 2 who were working together on methods of addition- carrying the 1′s, and the 2′s and my hopes with them. They were working together, correcting each other, helping one another and having a blast doing it- all while standing in an open air classroom with desks threatening to fall apart from underneath them onto the dirt floor. This small orphanage cannot sustain a school of 300 children, but the need within the orphanage and within the community is present and growing, so the orphanage addresses it with all available energy and resources.
In my short time here so far, I have seen that this need is based in the fact that many children of Ghana and their loved ones are faced with an impossible decision- choosing between a remedial and often unpredictable but free education at a local government school versus a quality education with a high price tag at a private school. For families living in poverty in the Central Region, there is no option. Because of the inadequate education at the government facilities, many of the families will choose to keep a child at home to work for the family- considering the minor cost of books, uniforms, and transportation a waste of resources in a public education system that has not produced a significant number of promising results.
But in Ofaakor, Ghana, the Royal Seed Shelter is a beacon of hope that seeks to provide a free and quality education to the children living in poverty within and around the shelter. The Royal Seed has thus far managed to run their school based on the actions of kind strangers, volunteers and happenstance donations, but with over 300 children now attending this school, we see a need to provide this program with sustainable resources.
In an effort to pursue this consistent educational need, The Eye to Eye Foundation and the Royal Seed are working toward a pilot project called the Classroom Cooperative. We are thrilled to soon bring this idea to schools and children all across the US and Ghana. The Classroom Cooperative will be a network of classrooms which partner with each other to provide academic, social, and creative support to children of the same age all around the world. The Eye to Eye Foundation sees this opportunity to not only provide academic resources for children in need but also to begin a conversation between children around the world about education, financial resources, culture, and society- inspiring and facilitating creative academic programs whose effects could last for generations. Any group of children can become a member of the Classroom Cooperative and each member will sponsor a specific classroom in need. In doing so, this group will have the opportunity to connect and converse with the children in that classroom- discussing anything from what they learned in history class this week to their new favorite music artist. This conversation will be aided by the Eye to Eye Foundation through our contacts on the ground in Ghana. This program is still in the works, but as it evolves and becomes more established we hope that through it we will be able form relationships between children of all ages, races, and nationalities – connecting both resources and imaginations. If you would like more information about this program or the possibilities of becoming a part of the Classroom Cooperative in the future please contact me at email@example.com.
This monumental project requires a lot of resources on a regular basis. If you would like to help in this endeavor but don’t have a horde of children at hand- we welcome any donations or contributions. All monetary donations will go to benefit the classrooms and the children at Royal Seed through provisions of desks, books, pencils, test materials, and the salary of every teacher at Royal Seed. Please visit our website (www.eyetoeyefoundation.org) to make a donation via PayPal or contact Abby Ellis at +1616.481.4429 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We are so excited to bring this program to life. We welcome any ideas that could further this program and benefit the lives of the children involved. If you would like to join the Classroom Cooperative, receive more information about the program or have any questions, please contact me, Madison Hohman, at +233.020.371.8813 or email@example.com.
As a short introduction: here are a few of the people that would be impacted by the work of the Eye to Eye Foundation at the Royal Seed Shelter in Ghana.
Two of the Class 1 boys playing with Kobe (in back) in the KG (kindergarten) classroom before school assembly. Kobe arrived at the orphanage when I was in Ghana 2 years ago. He is deaf and attends school with the KG classes to learn his ABCs and 123s.
Class 2 (second grade) kids with their teacher, Ms Wobil Joyce.
Some tutoring with the Class 4 teacher before school.
Ms Cynthia teaching the KG 2 class. They were happily working on their times tables for multiples of 2.
Mr Atsou Edem, the french teacher for Class 3 (third grade) through J.H.S. 2 (8th grade), teaching his first lesson of the day to the J.H.S 2 class.
Mr Ebenezer Larbie, the Maths and Science teacher for J.S.H. 1 to J.S.H. 3 (7th grade to 9th grade), teaching a lesson on subtracting indices.
This structure is the Class 6 (sixth grade) classroom. On the left is the new well installed by Orphans of Ghana and in front is the children’s playground. The man walking is Shaibu, a wonderful man who runs the school at Royal Seed.
Inside the Class 6 room, one of the student attentively listens to the spelling lesson for the day.
Always learning, but what normal kids can do their homework after school without a proper afternoon snack?
Before I left yesterday I got to talk one-on-one with the Math and Science teacher, Ebenezer. I asked why he decided to work at Royal Seed (with the remedial pay and the straining condidtions). What he said struck at the heart of the work we are doing here and is (I believe) what makes these pictures so full of beauty and hope. He nearly blushed as he said, “Ah, I dont know what to say except that I believe in these children. I believe in the work here. It is good work. This is God’s work”.
Thank you for helping us make education a reality for these exceedingly bright and endlessly beautiful children.