In 2012, I quit my jobs, moved out of my apartment in San Francisco, and signed up to volunteer in Ghana (West Africa). I lived in a small village called Ofaakor. For 3 months, I stayed on a compound with Good Shepherd School & Orphanage where I taught 6th grade. The rest of my waking moments were spent with the kids. I fell in love with all of them.
Approaching the end of my first visit, I told them I would return. One of the teenage boys looked at me and said, "All the white ladies say that, and we never see them again." Not this white lady. I continued to keep in touch with many of the older kids, and the peole in charge of the village where I lived. They were all shocked and excited when I showed back up this January, and I will be returning again soon.
The first time I went, I used my own funds to help the kids with their school supplies, buy them birthday presents, take them to the hospital (a handful of them got Malaria when I was there), and buy them medicine. There are so many kids and so many needs. I know I could do much more this time around if I properly prepare. One kid recently contacted me to "buy him stuff," and what he was asking for was a shirt, shorts, and shoes. This stuff is a novelty for them. It means so much to them just to have a few things that are their own. The second time I went, I used a combination of my own funds, as well as some donations from a collection of generous people to make small differences, but there is still a lot I want to accomplish there.
I helped send one speical boy to high school. He was the smartest kid I met there, and wanted to learn everything I could teach him. He has since graduated and become a teacher himself. I am so proud of him, and I know he has taken full advantage of this opportunity that not all kids in Ghana are lucky enough to have. I am currently trying to help send one of the "orphans," now 20 years old, to IT school, because he is the go-to guy on the compound when your phone is broken - he's pretty amazing!
When I return, I will also aim to help with the local churches that are currently using branches as their roofs. During the rainy season, they have nowhere to worship for obvious reasons, and their faith is so important to them.
If you feel like contributing to all of these things I am trying to do, that would be wonderful. For these kids to know that someone cares means everything. Even buying them an ice cream from the vendor on the street can change their whole day. I want to change their lives. It seems like a tall order, but when you are immersed in their world, its the small victories that count.
I will be taking all of the profits from my Ghana Kids Book I created after my last trip to put into all of these projects. If you are interested in purchasing, it is here: http://www.trappfotos.com/ghanakidsbook/
If you would like to see more of my photos from my adventure, they are here: http://www.trappfotos.com/ghana-africa/
If you would like to be linked to my blog I kept on my last trips, they are here: http://www.trappfotos.com/about-ba/
***If you are interested in making a larger donation and would like a tax write-off form, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
. I have teamed up with the Ghana Children's Fund, http://www.ghanachildrensfund.com,
who will be able to accept contributions on my behalf and provide the proper paperwork.