Big changes are coming to the small village of Kpedze Todze in Ghana thanks to an incredible partnership between a dynamic group of volunteers in Canada, a nonprofit, international volunteer organization in the U.S., and a humanitarian aid organization in Ghana.
Jamie Piekarz, of Toronto, is a Globe Aware volunteer and communications executive in Canada. She, along with some co-workers spearheaded a special initiative to build a school in Ghana. They aspired to leave a bigger mark in rural Ghana than their one week volunteer program could provide. The solution? Raise enough money to build an entire school.
Says Piekarz, "We didn't think too much about the fundraising, other than the fact that we had to do it. Kids need a school. It was that simple and that need alone, gave us all the energy and drive that was necessary for the task at hand. We gave ourselves 6 weeks to (raise the money) fundraise and it just seemed natural that with our energy, time, resources, and ideas, we could raise enough money for a much needed school."
The idea gained momentum and kept growing bigger and better. Soon, in addition to raising all the funds needed, Piekarz was able to enlist the help of architectural students from a University in Toronto to assist with designs for the building, and eventually build it.
The school, which is being built during the month of May, will serve over 30 kids from Kpedze Todze and surrounding communities. With the commencement and completion the new school building there is expected to be an increase in enrollment due to the fact that the school will be more safe and convenient. Additionally, the new structure is expected to promote effective teaching and learning, increase morale for the students, and provide immediate access to better education through the use of chalkboards, desks, and materials.
On the topic of how efforts of volunteers like Piekarz can impact communities around the world, Richard Yinkah, Globe Aware's Ghana Coordinator states "We must accept our roles as global citizens and work in union to achieve a brighter tomorrow. Working with Globe Aware, we have been able to help many communities that are in dire need here in the Volta region of Ghana."
Kimberly Haley-Coleman, Founder and Executive Director of Globe Aware says, "Thanks in part to global citizens like Jamie Piekarz and her co-workers, the Globe Aware family of volunteers, Ryerson University students and leadership like Richard Yinkah and Disaster Volunteers in Ghana, class will soon be in session for the children of Kpedze Todze".
Globe Aware(R) is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit charity that mobilizes short term volunteer programs around the world. These adventures in service focus on promoting cultural awareness and sustainability and are often compared to a mini "peace corps" experience. All volunteers are accompanied by a bilingual volunteer coordinator to assist the volunteer throughout their program. The program fee and the airfare to get there are fully tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Globe Aware is a member of International Volunteer Programs Association, Volunteers for Prosperity, the Building Bridges Coalition, was recommended for United Nations Consultative Status for Social and Economic Council, and administers the President's Volunteer Service Awards. Additionally, Globe Aware offsets its carbon emissions with Carbonfund.org, the country's leading carbon offset organization. Our carbon footprint is estimated at less than 70 tons annually, and we have chosen to support carbon-reducing projects in renewable energy to offset the CO2 that is produced in running our offices worldwide, from powering our offices to the transportation used to get to and from our work sites. This commitment places Globe Aware as an environmental leader in the volunteer abroad community and demonstrates proactive steps being taken in the fight against global climate change.
If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Globe Aware's founder and Executive Director, Kimberly Haley-Coleman, please call Catherine McMillan at 214/824-4562 or e-mail Catherine@globeaware.org.