Humanitas Charity Talks for Forms 4 & 6

International Development Manager at Humanitas Charity, Ms Genevieve Jones-Hernandez, delivered a talk for children in Forms 4 and 6 about the work the charity is doing in Ghana and, in particular, at Ayensuako School in southern Ghana for which St John's has been raising money. This is as part of a larger humanitarian project by the charity to help provide much needed resources for the school and to help it continue to succeed. Humanitas Charity believes that, “Everyone is entitled to healthcare, an education and a family. We strive to provide these 3 keys rights in countries and areas where it is most needed.”

In 2014 Humanitas charity set up a primary school located in the remote rural community of Ayensuako. It forms part of the charity’s Education Matters programme. In Ayensuako, families live in basic mud huts without electricity or sanitation and do their best to live off the land, although the climate and conditions make it a real challenge to grow or sustain crops. Three hours’ drive from the nearest city, this isolated, hidden community is miles from the main road and receives no aid or support from other charities.

Thanks to the help of Humanitas fundraising efforts, Ayensuako Pre and Primary School teaches 255 children providing them with free full-time education, fresh portable water, a school library and a chance to break the endless cycle of poverty in their community. The school is staffed by qualified teachers and its donations enable much-needed provision of the tools and the books the children require. The school has grown in numbers, going from strength to strength, and Genevieve explained that crucial funds are used to build and run a High School in close proximity to the current Pre and Primary School, to ensure all of the students can move onto further education.

Genevieve showed a clip of the Ayensuako school’s cook and how she prepared the ‘one pot’ of food for the pupils’ lunch with a baby on her back! She introduced us to Prince, who is a 10-year-old Ghanaian boy who has never been to school and, through the help of the charity and with donations, (some from SJCS) has been supplied with a school uniform and is happily attending the school. Prince is now doing so well that he has become part of the football team and as one Form 4 explained, “It was incredible to see Prince’s smile and how happy he was to now have something we all take for granted. His smile was infectious.”

Head of Geography and Humanitas Coordinator at St John's, Miss Grant, explained, “Part of the clip of Prince showed his joy at being offered a place at school and another revealed how he and his sister collected water from a pond over 25 minutes away and then had to carry the water and deposit it into a container outside of the house without putting the bowl on their head down on the floor - this was to prevent spillages." After the talk, the children were asked to recreate part of that journey (on a very small scale) by collecting water from the pots and transporting on their heads and then trying to deposit it into another vessel in order to show them how much they wasted and that it is a precious commodity.

A Form 4 child commented, "Whilst the water jug activity was fun at a surface level because we were all desperately trying not to let the water spill, it also served to help us realise the extent of the water crisis in places such as Ghana and how we take clean water for granted in the UK." In Ghana, more than 5 million people (18%) rely on surface water to meet their daily water needs, leaving them vulnerable to water-related illness and disease. Further, 81% of Ghanaians lack access to improved sanitation or are entirely without toilet facilities.

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