(i) Guinea Worm Education and Treatment
Guinea worm infection is one of the greatest threats to people living in rural communities. The guinea worm is a bacterium found in dams providing water to the villages and it can infest anyone who drinks it. Currently, Ghana is ranked second after war thorn Sudan by the WHO in terms if guinea worm infection. The guinea worm takes a long time to emerge from the surface of the body and when doing so it unleashes untold pain and suffering on its victims, who can be afflicted for months at a time and sometimes years. The effects can be to retard growth and drastically reduce the quality of life.
Volunteers who work on this program will be trained by Government health experts and shown how to treat and educate people in 15 of the worst suffering villages. You will visit twice a week and liaise closely with the village volunteers in the delivery of this support.
This is a program to suit those volunteers who are interested in health issues and being ‘hands on’ in the delivery of treatment. Possibly not for the faint hearted! Training is essential before you can become fully involved and you’ll be supervised closely by the Programme Co-coordinator. You’re also encouraged to look for signs of other illness amongst the villagers, bringing these to the attention of the Programme Co-coordinator.
(ii) Working at the Orphanage Homes
Working with babies and children is always a popular choice for volunteers and requests to work on this program is no exception. As a result, the places are available for you.
Tamale Childrens’ Home cares for about 30 infants and children aged from just one week to early teens. It’s a Government run home with very little funds and employs just two Ghanaian workers. As a result the home relies almost entirely on the active help and support of volunteers.
The Home has existed since 1967 as the fourth Orphanage in the country for the following categories of Children:
(a). Babies whose mothers have died
(b). Abandoned Babies
(c). Handicapped Babies
Normally volunteers work either mornings or afternoons and alternate between caring for the children in the home and teaching in the on-site school. Other responsibilities include washing, playing and feeding the babies, preparing the older children for school, taking the children for walks or places of interest, playing sports, mending clothes, cleaning & general upkeep of the facilities.
(iii) Rural Water Programme
We all know that water is essential to human existence but not everyone has access to fresh, unlimited supplies. In Ghana it is mainly the poor and vulnerable who do not have access to clean water, the very people who can least cope with the health risks associated with drinking and washing in dirty, infected water.
To help overcome this problem we work with other local organizations to help provide water supplies to approximately 15 villages. Working as part of a team you’ll be involved in various activities that are both educational and practical.
Part of your role will be to educate the villagers on the need for fresh water, on the health risks involved with using dirty water in their daily lives, and encouraging them to change their practices accordingly.
But education is only of value if fresh water supplies are available and so other activities include digging wells or bore holes in the villages, and distributing water filters where these can be used.
This is a program for those who like to be more physically challenged and capable of doing heavy work. But the interaction with the villagers and seeing their delight at getting their own fresh water supply more than compensates for those aching muscles.
(iv) School Building and Renovation Programme
Several factors contribute to the low level of school attendance in those villages where schools are available. These include poor, badly constructed school buildings, a lack of educational materials and teaching staff, the low value placed on education by parents who would prefer their children to be working in the fields.
As a volunteer you will visit villages to help educate parents on how important education is to society in general and to their children in particular. Working with the Chief and the Elders you’ll help persuade parents that attending school is a way of ensuring a better future for their children and one that could well benefit themselves in the long run.
(v) Teaching Assistant
This programme offers the chance to teach in one of the many deprived schools in the area. It is an ideal way for practicing teachers from other countries to have the experience of teaching in a Ghanaian school.
But this is not just a one way benefit. The knowledge, skills and ideas that teachers from other cultures can bring to a Ghanaian school is invaluable to both teaching colleagues and students alike.
You could well find yourself teaching groups of children in an ‘open-air classroom’ where there are no chalkboards and the children have no books or pencils. The need for improvisation & creativity in teaching methods is paramount and can challenge the most experienced teacher, but the rewards are amazing.
If you choose to volunteer as a teaching Assistant and would like to bring such educational equipment as pens, pencils, books and other learning and teaching materials with you, these would be most welcome.
How can you help?
Volunteers on this programme enjoy a rewarding experience by
- Assisting our teachers to deliver lessons.
- Helping smaller groups of children with their reading, writing and numeracy skills
- Giving administrative support
- Fundraising either here or at home
- Sponsoring a student through her education