Hometown: Queensland, Australia
Video - New Beginnings International
Why should you be the IVHQ volunteer of the year?
I have taken my incredible experience in the villages of Ghana and transformed it into an impetus for real change. My love of the country and my passion for education have led to a desire to improve the lives of the children who have given me so much.
The four months I spent volunteering in Ghana helped me to appreciate not only how fortunate many of us are in the Western World but also our potential to make a significant difference to the lives of people living in developing nations.
In just 18 months, we have provided thirty village schools with much needed libraries, however there is so much still to be done.
There is no doubt that my commitment to this cause is ongoing. I feel a sense of responsibility to continue the work we have started and a grant such as the one currently offered by IVHQ would be the ideal stimulus for future success.
How will you use the award money for your project?
One of the most powerful weapons against poverty is a quality education and the effective use of literacy. This is often out of reach for those living in remote regions and therefore their future prospects are adversely affected. Thanks to my experience with IVHQ, I was exposed first hand to the poverty and lack of resources available to those trying to educate the future generations of Ghana. As a result, I have made it my mission to provide valuable educational resources to needy school children in the villages.
Below is a brief description of how we would utilize the funds:
US$5,000 would supply libraries of 200+ books to 15 Ghanaian village schools
US$3,000 would supply libraries of 200+ books to 9 Ghanaian village schools
US$2,000 would supply libraries of 200+ books to 6 Ghanaian village schools
US$1,000 would supply libraries of 200+ books to 3 Ghanaian village schools
How will the award money help to build skills and self-sufficiency the local community of the project?
The work we have done over the past 18 months has proven that providing literacy resources to remote villages can substantially improve children’s grasp of the English language.
In a country where prosperity depends largely on your ability to speak and use English, we are providing an opportunity for these children to break out of the poverty cycle by enhancing, and in many cases extending these children’s education. This has been proven, in a number of studies to impact positively on mortality rates, general health and nutrition, standards of living and positive self-image.
With the local resources we have available to us and the commitment and support of local teachers, we aim to not only improve the children’s grasp of English but to appreciate and indeed embrace their own culture. So much of their heritage is truly incredible and should never be ignored, however there are certain realities that exist within a developing nation and these children need to be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to help them succeed in this context. A genuine engagement with literacy allows children to not only understand other key learning areas at school but lays the foundation for life-long learning into the future.
How will you measure the success of using the award money at your project?
Having made strong connections within the community and having met with a number of the principals during a recent visit, I am confident that they will provide us with regular, in-depth feedback as to the effectiveness and significance of the resources within their individual schools. We have already had some reports of improvements in literacy standards and will be endeavoring to monitor this type of progress in the long term.
How will you ensure the difference you make through investing the award money is sustainable in the long term?
The money that could be invested in this project has the potential to significantly extend the work we are doing and promote future development. Any feedback and images we receive will be used to positively highlight the effectiveness of the work we are doing in these villages. We are confident that there will be a number of significant outcomes that will drive the future success and continued funding of the program.
What is your long-term vision for this project?
We share the sentiments of Nelson Mandela, when he said:
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”
It is our aim to improve the overall prospects of children who originate from more remote regions throughout the country. This can be done directly through education.