Today, let's travel to rural Ghana, where I have one child:
Ernest lives in the city of Cape Coast, which is located in the very far south of the country.
Here, weather is typically tropical all year round. The climate has periods of rain and periods of drought. During these periods of drought, people must travel long distances in order to find water. Water typically comes from dirty water sources, like ponds or rivers. The job of collecting water is often given to the children of the family.
Homes in rural Ghana are usually made of a combination of mud, wood, and iron sheets and usually have 1-3 rooms, depending on how much time, energy, and money the family puts into building their home.
In Ghana, primary school and junior secondary school are required by the government and are tuition-free. However, communities in the rural areas sometimes don't have any schools at all. In the communities that do have schools; children have to travel long distances to arrive at school and the schools usually do not have adequate supplies to teach the numerous students that are in each classroom. On top of all of these difficulties, many families in rural communities have a belief that education is neither important or necessary. Older children and teens are often expected to work outside of the home to earn money for the family. Compassion is working extremely hard to change these attitudes about education, by getting children enrolled in safe, quality schools. Children are also provided with extra tutoring and homework support at their project.
Adults in this area typically work one of three jobs. They are either farmers, vendors, or fisherman. During long periods of drought, when crops aren't growing, families take to one of the other jobs to earn money for their children.
Due to those periods of drought, food insecurity runs rampant in the rural communities. When crops aren't growing, vendors have nothing to sell. The rural communities are often situated very far away from the nearest city, the nearest food source, and travel is difficult. Large families often share a small amount of food and often don't get enough nutrition.
Compassion makes sure to provide a nutritious meal to their enrolled children on every project day. In Ghana, communal eating is a very important part of the culture. Large dishes of food are shared between several children. Compassion makes sure to keep cultural integrity intact at the projects, where they can.
On top of all of basic survival aspects of life, Compassion also works to provide children with various skills that could help them in the future, through the use of classes. Some of these classes teach sewing, jewelry making, dance, woodworking, and lesson in musical instruments.
Of course, the most important, underlying message that Compassion teaches is that each and every child was created by and is loved by God. Children are taught to read and understand from the bible and they are taught how to pray for themselves, their families, their schools, their community, and their culture.
Compassion in rural Ghana asks its sponsors to pray for the following things:
- Pray for job opportunities in rural communities to reduce rural-to-urban drift.
- Pray for caregivers to take advantage of all the trainings that are organized by the churches and Compassion Ghana to make their lives better.
- Pray for more complementary interventions proposals to be funded.