BACK from her travels in Ghana, Wigan Evening Post reporter Natalie Walker speaks about her experiences teaching underprivileged children.
In the third week I was given a timetable and a book to write down what the children had done, making my job much easier.
It was interesting to see how different things were from English schools. First of all, when it rains, everything seems to stop,
The buses can’t get to the school as it is down a dirt track, so only a handful who can walk turn up. As the classes are outside, the children can’t work as their books get wet. So often they are huddled together in one dry-ish classroom.
One thing the school tries to instil is respect for the teacher, Pupils are not allowed to talk in class and the teacher has a cane, which I witnessed being used.
Volunteer Project Ghana also has a splinter organisation - United Through Sport.
Three weeks ago, 29 young boys from the age of 12 upwards were offered five-year scholarships to become part of United Through Sport’s School of Excellence, which provides education with both Ghanaian and English teachers, as well as coaching in football, tennis and boxing.
The School of Excellence opened last Monday, with lessons in English, maths and science.
When the school expands, girls will be admitted. I visited the school just once during my trip and sat in on the after-school session for other boys who are not part of the School of Excellence.
While teaching was my main purpose in Ghana, I obviously got to learn a lot about the culture.
The country has a horrific slave history, many families live in shanty huts with no mosquito nets, and the driving situation is very precarious. To make a living, many people sell things such as water and food, carrying the items on their heads.
I certainly took a lot away from my experience,
Although many people in Ghana do not have much in the way of luxuries, they always seem to be fulfilled and there is a great community spirit where people share.
And the love I received from the children was remarkable They were so grateful to receive some stationery and sweets when I left. But in reality, it was they who had given me the most invaluable gift and taught me so much.
For more information or to sponsor a child visit www.ghanavolunteerproject.net