New classrooms and toilet block thanks to the efforts of Deer Park volunteers.

Ciren Deer Park Students and Staff in Ghana

New classrooms and toilet block thanks to the efforts of Deer Park volunteers.

A volunteer team of staff and Year 10 pupils at Cirencester Deer Park School returned on April 19th from a life-changing trip to help children in the coastal community of Woe in Ghana’s Volta region.

The African Adventures Foundation, started in 2009, began working in Ghana in 2013, where education is severely under-funded and resourced. Instead of going to school children in the Volta region often help their parents from a very early age with agricultural duties to help provide for their families.

The Deer Park team spent 14 months fundraising for their two project schools, Rhema Abutia School and Dedzidi Community School, and during their two-week long visit in April, the team taught lessons, organised sports activities and worked to make bricks, concrete the floor of a new canteen, plaster new classrooms and build new toilet cubicles.

Siva Vordzorgbe, founder of The Young Shall Grow International that runs the volunteer hostel, thanked the team for their hard work and enthusiasm and was particularly grateful for the donation of toilet pans that will transform the experience of the children at Dedzidi Community School, who previously had to squat in the sand as there was no sanitary provision at all.

The team’s time in Ghana was extremely humbling and memorable. On Easter Sunday the volunteers were privileged to visit the village of Lolito, whose community faces significant challenges regarding access to water and employment, poor living conditions, health and wellbeing. Allegedly the first white people to show interest in their plight, it was explained to the team that their visit had been the answer to the community’s prayers.

Many of the pupils returned with a new perspective. “Volunteering in Ghana was incredible”, said pupil Sam. “It’s definitely changed the way I think about life back home in the UK. Seeing the children’s smiles and reactions to the simplest of things made me realise just how grateful and appreciative they are about the things we can often just take for granted.”

Headteacher, Chiquita Henson added: “ We are very fortunate to have experienced first hand that this project is working and really helping the children of Woe. A huge thank you to everyone who supported and contributed to our fundraising and to St James Place, D&J Sports, GH Knight, Cirencester Town Football Club and Cirencester Rugby Club for the generous donations they made. The gifts were very much appreciated and I am confident that they will be put to good use.”

Cirencester Deer Park has kept in touch with the staff and pupils at both Rhema Abutia and Dedzidi and are keen to forge long lasting links with both schools and the local community. So watch this space…their involvement in Ghana has really only just begun!

Check out the team’s blog: https://cdpsghana2017.wordpress.com

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