During the 1st week of August 2011, Cheerful Hearts Foundation had the privilege of hosting a group of nineteen (19) students and four (4) of their faculty from the School of Social Work, University of Washington, USA. They spent over four (4) weeks in Ghana, learning the Ghanaian culture visiting many different parts of the country and many more. One of those weeks they spent volunteering with Cheerful Hearts Foundation.
They assisted with all our three main projects running during the summer. That is, assisting with our Child Labour Project, summer holiday school teaching project, as well as HIV/AIDS Awareness campaigns for students at the Raykon International School and Great Promise School Complex, Kasoa, Central Region, Ghana. Five students volunteered to assist with the Child labour project in Nyanyano Village, 5 students on the HIV/Aids awareness campaign, whilst 9 students assisted with the summer holiday teaching program.
Child Labour Project
For those not aware, the Child Labour Project is located in the fishing village of Nyanyano, and focused on rescuing children involved in child labour and enrolling them in school. During this stage of the project, we were focusing on interviewing some of the children on the shore that do not go to school. The students were teamed up in pairs alongside indigenous translators to assist in communication. While the first day was a little nerve racking for some, everyone soon got into the swing of things. The group conducted interviews over 4 days, and made a real impact for this project. As well as this, the group got to connect personally with many of the village children and other members of the community. From the feedback, the students found the whole experience incredibly rewarding, and were incredibly thankful for the opportunity. Cheerful Hearts really valued their input to the project as well, and the time they spent will certainly contribute to the overall project.
Education (summer teaching project)
While some of the students were down at Nyanyano, 9 students were involved in teaching at local schools in Kasoa. The students had the opportunity to participate in the classroom, teaching a variety of subjects including mathematics, English, Social Studies, Physical Education, as well as Creative Arts. Though were nervous in the beginning they found the opportunity very rewarding after a day teaching in the class room and it was a pleasure working with this group. They contributed greatly towards the success of this project.
HIV/AIDS Awareness Program
Five (5) students from the University of Washington also assisted Cheerful Hearts Foundation with HIV/AIDS education in schools. They taught the children about HIV/AIDS, causes and prevention. This team also introduced fun games at the beginning of their presentations which helped with total involvement of the children during this project.
The faculty namely, Dr. Margaret Spearman (Associate Dean), Juanita M. Ricks (Director of Admissions, Zynovia Hetherington MSW (Director of Child Welfare Training & Advancement Program) and Jo-Nathan Thomas (Academic Advisor), also assisted with project supervision and monitoring in all the activities and were a motivation to their students, the local community and the Cheerful Hearts Foundation team.
On the final day of their volunteering with Cheerful Hearts, the foundation team organized an evaluation session for the students and faculty to access the overall performance of the project. This is an important session of the foundation since it helps to know the views of people involved in our project. Their comment helps the foundation to know its project performance and successes. The group gave very good and interesting comments about the foundation and also commended Cheerful Hearts Foundation project team for implementing such wonderful projects to support the Awutu Senya District. They also promised to work with us again soon though it was sad for them leaving the lovely children they were working with.
A fun football (soccer) game was organized between the students from University of Washington and the students from Great promise school, Kasoa. The football was organized for both men and women and was very entertaining.
On the 20th August, 2011, some staff and volunteers of Cheerful Hearts Foundation visited the group to witness the project performances of the students on their experiences in Ghana. Moreover, our visit was also to encourage, show appreciation, present testimonials (Certificates) to the students for the wonderful contribution to our projects and to say goodbye since it was their last day to depart from Ghana.
It was a great pleasure to working with this group and our special thanks and appreciation to the Faculty of Social Work, University of Washington, USA for organizing such a wonderful trip.
Cheerful Hearts Foundations project team.