It’s pretty amazing when you come back to the place that changed your life, and you find that everyone and everything is moving forward in the best way possible.
I have spent the past 4 years traveling back and forth from United Hearts Children Center in Bawjiase, Ghana, and after returning for the seventh time, I am absolutely in awe of the progress that has been made. It is because of many dedicated people committing their time, energy, funds, and hearts to some pretty crazy and enchanting kiddos, that UHCC can continue to move forward and expand their reach in the community.
Here are some long overdue updates about what’s been happening in Ghana!
United Hearts School
Can you believe that school building?? IT’S HUGE! I am so excited about the progress that’s been made, and I am so proud of our local staff, Global Advocates and UHCC volunteers who are committed to seeing this project come to fruition. This has truly been a case of “many hands making light work” as this entire building is the result of so many contributions! From the original foundation being built through fundraising of volunteer Vladimir Visek in 2009, we have been able to build this entire 2 story structure in the past year. The fundraising efforts of UHCC Volunteers Janey Piroli and Bert Wyman allowed us to expand the original foundation, and build the structure for the first and second floor, and global advocates Nancy Kagan and Lillian Ma raised funds to complete the first 3 classrooms. Our current advocate, Shawna-kay Chambers has been doing an amazing job working with Nana and Pastor Elisha, to make sure the school has a sustainability plan in place, and that it can serve the greatest number of children possible. Her fundraising has allowed us to completely finish the first 6 classrooms, start roofing the second floor!
As of now, all 6 of the lower level classrooms are finished and ready for students in September! We will start by primarily serving children grades Kindergarten through 3, and then continue to expand and eventually use the second floor as a Junior High School. We currently have the capacity to have more than 180 students, and will be recruiting and opening up to more students throughout this next school year.
United Hearts is excited to have 2 more Global Advocates who will be arriving in Bawjiase at the end of September! Juliane Brosowsky-Landau is fundraising for a school bus, which is an integral part of giving children in the outskirts of Bawjiase access to education. You can support this cause by donating here: stayclassy.org/julianeUHCCbus. Global Advocate Sara Carrion is fundraising to finish the school building, you can support her here: stayclassy.org/sarauhccschool
Thanks to the generosity and fundraising efforts of volunteers Surinder Kular and Kendra Nicolai, UHCC has been able to prepare for the school’s expansion. Surrinder donated to build a dining hall, create a playground, and drill a borehole for the school, so the school will be able to provide meals for students, and the children will have space to gather and play. Kendra fundraised to furnish the inside of classrooms, including adding desks, cupboards, and whiteboards, as well as teaching materials for first six classrooms. United Hearts is so grateful for their support in making this school ready to serve more children in the community!
United Hearts Sustainable projects are moving along splendidly – it feels like a zoo over here with all the animals we have! The goat and sheep farm has been a great success, with more than 15 babies being born in the past 8 months. UHCC plans to begin selling the goats within the next 6 months, and they will provide enough income to supplement the food budget for the Children Center.
The fishponds are also going well! With 2500 fish to be harvested in February, this sustainable project has the potential to bring in more than 7500 GHS at the beginning of 2015. Our last harvest paid the UHCC electricity bill for the entire year, so it will be exciting to see what next year’s harvest will provide!
UHCC’s most recent sustainable project has been a drip irrigation garden, created from contributions of the Yes to Seed fund. This garden will support staff salaries at the United Hearts School, and also serve as a demonstration garden for the children to learn about farming and agriculture. The staff and children at UHCC have currently planted 700 chili peppers, and the land has the capacity to hold more than 3,000 plants. The profits from the sale of this produce will directly contribute to the runnings of the United Hearts School.
Upcoming sustainable projects include a pig farm, and expanding land to plant more produce! United Hearts has also been able to purchase 4 additional acres of land, which we be used to plant a number of crops and contribute to the sustainability of the school. We plan to move our numerous animal farming projects to this land as well!
It’s hard to believe that when I first came to Bawjiase this building had not even been built yet. Now complete with electricity and running water, it is a home to some of the funniest, smartest, and cutest children on this earth. Can you imagine living in a giant house with all of your best friends? That’s exactly what life is like for the kiddos here. But you don’t have to take my word for it – I think these pictures speak for themselves!
Needless to say, life is pretty wonderful over here.