Building a More Peaceful World

two boys pose and smile outside the Beposo Islamic School

Martin and Nazareth, pupils at Beposo Islamic School

Ghana is blessed with many natural resource but remains underdeveloped, partly because the citizens are overly dependent on the central government. It is thus heart-warming when group of people decides take their destiny into their own hands.

Beposo is a rural community with a population of about 400 in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region in Ghana. Despite being a farming community, one in three children in Beposo is stunted from poor nutrition.

Beposo has had one basic school, Beposo D/A Basic School, for over two decades. Then on July 14, 2014, the Islamic Community in Beposo decided to establish a second school, Islamic Primary School, to bring about diversity and competition to improve the overall quality of education in the community. It was an uphill task.

On a ¼ acre parcel of land, a wooden hut was built in 2014, and Beposo Islamic Primary school was started with just five pupils: 3 boys and 2 girls. It had no toilet facility, no kitchen, no separation between the three classrooms, and the classrooms were dusty and without cement.

In December 2014, Self-Help began supporting the school by teaching farmers in the area how to grow Quality Protein Maize (QPM) and turn the harvested maize into a high-protein breakfast porridge to feed schoolchildren.  This led to rapid increase in overall enrollment and daily attendance.  Enrollment quickly grew to 89 children: 40 boys and 49 girls. The need for a kitchen and a toilet became very pressing. With local raw materials, the PTA constructed a kitchen and toilet.

young girl stands in front of the new latrine at Beposo School

A new latrine improves sanitation in Beposo

Though encouraging to see that more children were getting a quality education, this rapid rise in population took a toll on classroom conditions. The dust pollution was unbearable and had adverse effects on the health of children, as well as on teaching and learning ability. Children looked dirty all the time, respiratory related cases were rising, and teachers complained about poor environmental conditions.

students and teachers gather in dusty classrooms

Dirty classrooms make learning different

The parents, teachers, and pupils never gave up. They stayed and worked together. In May 2016, thanks to your donations, we were finally able to respond to their cry for help with a donation of ten bags of cement to add to floors. The fathers in the community hauled the sand and stone to the site, while the mothers fetched water to cement the floors. The children now study in a dust-free environment.

children gather in a classroom with new concrete floors

New concrete floors reduce respiratory illness

Conditions at Beposo Islamic School are still not the best – they lack enough desks and chairs and have few school supplies – but the can-do spirit exhibited by the community and the pride they take in their school is commendable.

Beposo is also home to a public school. We offered to introduce the school feeding program in the public school at the same time as the Islamic school, but the public school initially declined the offer.  Seeing the success of the breakfast program at Beposo Islamic, the Beposo public school is now ready to join the school feeding program, and we plan to bring them on board this semester. Now that there is healthy competition between the two schools at Beposo, quality of education is improving for all students.

Through the school feeding program, parents are taking a greater interest in their children’s education and taking pride in what they are able to contribute to their community. They send their thanks to you – their friends abroad – for helping make these improvements to their communities possible.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug cautioned us long ago, “We cannot build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery.”  We at Self-Help are working to do our part to partner with all people who wish to fill those empty stomachs and build a more peaceful world. We thank you for joining us in this mission.

Many more schools are requesting to join the school feeding program than we can currently accept.  When you make a gift of $30 or more, you’ll ensure that one more child gets a healthy breakfast every day of this semester! Donate here!