Thanks to your many kind donations, two hard-working boys in Ghana will now have the opportunity to finish high school. Please keep reading for a quick update on the "Kente for School Fees" program.
In April, my wife, Katt, and I made our first journey to Ghana in order to see the beautiful country and deliver some donations. One of the causes we were most excited about supporting was a program that the Give to Ghana founders, Chelsea and Mike, initiated during their one-year stay in Ghana. They taught at Okomfo Anokye High School in Wiamoase, in the Ashanti region of Ghana. One of their students, Isaac, weaves beautiful kente cloth in order to pay for his high school fees because his parents cannot afford to send him to school. In Ghana high school is not free. In fact, each child who enrolls must pay ~$130 per 3-month term. This cost is extremely prohibitive for most families as the average national income is only $50 per month.
Isaac grew up in the Ashanti region of Ghana, near the interior of the West African country. Isaac’s parents divorced when he was young and his father got remarried. Now both his father and mother have new families that they must care for. While his mother works hard to help support Isaac, his father doesn't provide much support. When he was 16 years old, Isaac moved out on his own to the village where the high school is located. He lived off campus because it was cheaper, and paid for his own food, boarding, and school fees with what little support his mother could provide, plus what he could make by weaving kente.
Kente weaving is a local tradition that uses cross weaving and vibrant threads to make unique and intricate patterns for which the Asante people of Ghana are world renowned. The beautiful cloths can be used as scarves, graduation leis, or home decorations. The cloths usually measure 6 feet long by 6 inches wide, and are traditionally woven with yellow, black, red, pink, and green thread. The task is extremely arduous and time-consuming, but the reward is some of the finest cloth in all of Africa.
Isaac began to weave kente on all of his holidays and weekends and has become exceptionally skilled and quick at weaving. Through his hard work, this year he finally could afford to move on campus, where he has received more steady meals and study time. Isaac has excelled in school, and was even recently elected Head Boys Prefect.
Several other students have also learned the trade and hope to pay for their educations through weaving. Isaac himself taught one of his best friends, Hayford, how to weave kente. Hayford is also an excellent student, but has not had enough money to pay for his school fees for the past couple of years. Despite excellent performance in the classroom, Hayford could not graduate because he wasn't allowed to take his final exams without paying full tuition.
But now thanks to the many kind donations of friends, family, and co-workers, Isaac and Hayford have earned enough money to pay for one to two years of tuition and are on their way to graduation! Both students have lofty dreams -- Isaac wants to be a doctor and Hayford wants to be an accountant. Given the strong work ethic they have exhibited, I personally have no doubt that they will achieve their dreams.
During our stay in Ghana, we had the privilege of seeing a kente weaving demonstration by Isaac. We also used some donation money to purchase the full inventory that Isaac and Hayford had so diligently worked on in preparation for our arrival. As you can see from the photos, the patterns are colors are breathtaking.
We brought the cloths back home with us to share with those who had donated to the Kente for School Fees program. Through this program, we hope to have taught many people about the great need that exists in that part of the world, as well as the impact that even small donations can have on individuals there. I believe that the Kente for School Fees program is a great example of a type of aid that rewards hard work and industriousness. Our hope is to keep in touch with Isaac and Hayford and to help them to develop additional means for selling their product in the future. If you would like to purchase a kente cloth for yourself or would like more information about how to get involved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.