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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs