One year ago, on a rainy August morning, we waited with a taxi to take us to Ponwaakrom village in Ghana. Neither the rain nor the gloomy skies sucked out the eagerness with which we wanted to go to Ponwaakrom—we had brought thousands of books, and loads of pens and pencils to deliver to Ponwaakrom’s schoolchildren. As we waited in our glittering white T-shirts, the muddy rain turned our shirts brown. As we hopped into a taxi, the driver said, “two in front, five at the back.” It was a shock for us all because taxis in Ghana only have four passenger seats. It was an omen of what we were getting ourselves into.
The journey to the village took about two hours on a dusty, snaky, narrow road wide enough for only one car. Our bodies were bruised from the inescapable potholes on the untarred route. Our white T-shirts had been dusted to brown and our hair to grayish.
We had put ourselves in such vulnerable situations to get to serve Ponwaakrom. We had brought with us about two thousand books, and many thousands more of pens and pencils, and a great zeal to support and promote education in the village. However, we realized from our time in the village that children there needed more than just material donations.
Seeing the children of Ponwaakrom under unthatched buildings bred questions such as what the school did whenever it began to rain, or how the kids managed walking seven miles in the rain to attend school. Some kids go to work in the farms during the morning, rush to school, and rush back to the farm in their school uniforms. Some kids could not spell their names according to teachers and when asked what their aspirations were, they rarely had answers. Most girls were not in school or were withdrawn from school after grade 7 by their parents to help them support the farm or family trades to gain income.
After that trip, we decided that we needed a new strategy for lasting impact in such villages. Our interactions with the families, students and teachers, and our discoveries, made us conclude that to really make an impact in the education and growth of the community, we had to help the kids realize their potentials and self-worth, and help them discover their talents and aspirations before anything else. “Teaching,” “mentoring,” and “child empowerment” were the keywords and approach we wanted to use to reach our goal.
Putting all these thoughts together gave birth to the Teach, Mentor and Transform (TMAT) programs, which in addition to helping kids in villages reach their potentials, will also give high school students, college students and professors the avenue to go to such villages to teach and mentor kids.
This coming August, we will be jump-starting our first program in Ponwaakrom and we need your support to reach our goal.
Donations will go to:
Six $500 Scholarships ($3000.00)
Books & Study materials ($1,500)
Program Logistics—accommodation, transportation etc. ($4,570).
You can donate towards any of the categories. Your donation will change a child’s life and bring light to a poor community.
Thank you in advance for considering supporting the TMAT Foundation with your donation. Besides on GoFundMe, donations can be made through PayPal at: [email redacted] , or mailed to:
Teach, Mentor, and Transform
Smith Campus Center
170 E College Avenue #1542
Claremont, CA 91711