News / Africa

    Ghanian School Offers Hope to Vulnerable Children

    School children play at the Mmofra Trom center
    School children play at the Mmofra Trom center

    Multimedia

    Audio

    A foster home for HIV/AIDS orphans in Ghana has launched a school and other business ventures to support its work, thanks to a partnership with an American university.  

    Mmofra Trom, which means "children's garden" in the native Dangbe language, is more than a school.  It is home to 22 orphans in eastern Ghana, allowing them to live near their original homes and maintain ties with their villages and remaining relatives.

    Though the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Ghana is relatively low at about two percent, the country is struggling to deal with more than 150,000 children who have been orphaned by the disease.

    The orphanage's director, Olan Adjetey, said aside from individual contributions, the home did not have the support of any major donors, so they turned to Bentley University, an American business school in Massachusetts, in the hopes of making the orphanage financially self-sufficient.

    "We realized that there would be the need to find other alternatives to sustain the project.  For that matter, we got into partnership with Bentley University in the United States.  We drew up strategies, business plans and out of that we came up with certain ventures that would help us make some money,"  Adjetey said.

    The first step was to open an elementary and middle school in 2006.  Named after the Mmofra Trom's founder, Carol Grey, the school is open to disadvantaged children as well as those from paying families.  The majority of its 200 students pay tuition, and those funds help support the educations of those who can not afford it.

    But the project's program director at Bentley University, Diane Kellogg, said Mmofra Trom soon realized it needed additional business ventures to make the orphanage and educational center truly self-sustaining.

    "We recognized we needed more business than just the school or we were going to be overcharging the parents in the school.  And so [we started] a mango plantation, corn, a bank of grasscutters, which are an excellent source of protein, a tilapia pond which has been successful and will continue to be successful providing protein for the children.  It is an educational center where the children are learning traditional skills which gives them pride in their Ghanaian heritage," she said.

    A soccer match at the Mmofra Trom center
    A soccer match at the Mmofra Trom center

    Thanks to continued cooperation with the university, the Mmofra Trom Foundation runs a school, mango orchard, chicken coop, vegetable garden and a sports academy among other projects on its 38-acre plot in eastern Ghana.  The educational center provides job skills and computer training, as well as bead-making and weaving facilities.

    Kellogg said non-profit organizations dependent on donations can overlook the potential to earn money from services they may already be providing or could provide.

    In just four years, Kellogg said Mmofra Trom center has become financially self-sufficient.  It is a success she says that does not need to stop there, and the university plans to collaborate with other organizations in the region.

    The real judges of success, though, are the children themselves.

    "I am 12 years old. I am one of the orphans here, and I have been in this school for five years. I am feeling good here and I like the people who take of us. They are kind," said Naomi Coffie, an orphan living at Mmofra Trom.

    Adjetey said they hope to one day offer free education to hundreds of other under-privileged children in the community.

    Ruby Amable contributed reporting from Accra, Ghana


    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora