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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid