In 1993 a young Ghanaian teacher invited his former university lecturer in the U.K. to visit his village, Sandema, in Ghana’s Upper Eastern Region. That led to the founding of the Sandema Educational Resources Centre in 1997. Since then generous donations from thousands of well-wishers in Britain, combined with the devotion of teachers in Ghana, have created a unique partnership and an institution, where, for the first time in their lives, women, men and teenagers can acquire, free of charge, practical and academic skills. Ghana School Aid has been happy to support the Sandema charity on several occasions. See also the Sandema website.
UPDATE MARCH 2013The Children’s Centre provides food, shelter, clothing and medical care to orphans and needy children in Sandema and its surrounding villages. It also covers all education costs (fees, uniforms, books, school supplies) for the children at the Centre. GSA has awarded it a grant to fund scholarships for girls to enable them to continue their education through secondary school, covering the cost of admission and school fees for one year.
UPDATE MARCH 2016 GSA committee member Patrick Heineke is an ardent supporter of Sandema and spends much time there. He writes: “This wide-ranging community project is now 20 years old. The radio station is a key element, but has had problems with fluctuations in electricity supply and ever-increasing costs. The mango-seedling project is going ahead well. A group of young women recently graduated from the weaving and sewing school (see picture below). UNICEF sponsors a maternal and child health project. The Library is as busy as ever. Some guest chalets may bring in some income. A German charity has agreed to supply solar energy equipment, but it is up to the project to fund the installation.” Patrick submitted a bid to GSA for a grant towards the cost of renovating the staff house/store room, and replacing some of the radio station equipment that was recently stolen. £750 was agreed.
Patrick in the Sandema shop:
Seventeen girls pass out in weaving and dress-making:
Handbags made of home-woven cloth:
Dignitaries at the passing-out ceremony, 2015:
UPDATE February 2017 There is exciting news in Sandema: after much negotiation, the Centre has been given 22 solar panels to power the radio station on the many occasions that the mains electricity supply fails. When they arrive from Germany, there will be significant customs, transport and installation costs. GSA has agreed a grant of up to £2000, to be paid when the actual costs become clearer.
UPDATE May 2017 We learn that the solar panels are not only installed, but up and running. It has been a long saga, with 22 solar panels and batteries being provided by a German charity and transported to Ghana, taking 3 weeks and involving the construction of a building on which the panels are mounted, getting sulphuric acid for the batteries from Kumasi, and finally connecting up. The installation is now powering the radio station from 5am to 10pm. The remaining issue is security for which 24-hour CCTV monitoring is planned. Hearty congratulations to all involved for their effort, their generosity and their perseverance. The radio station unites, educates and entertains over a wide area.