October 25, 2012, by Malvika Johal
By Rachel Third
While we were lapping up the Olympic fever this summer in the UK, a team of University of Nottingham students were busy realising dreams of their own, thousands of miles away from home.
With a grant from the University’s Cascade fund, a team of 54 students committed themselves wholeheartedly to the community of Tamale in Ghana by volunteering on a wide range of placements over a period of 10 weeks.
The Ghana Volunteers had been involved in their own fundraising activities during the year to help finance the trip. They now put their individual skills into practise in several schools; a teaching hospital; a children’s home; a football association; a Women’s Empowerment Organisation; a veterinary practice and the microfinance organisation CEDIS – founded by University of Nottingham Alumnus Chris Skilton.
Florence Bond, a 2nd Year Humanities Student, was one of the Ghana Volunteers. She describes the impact of the projects:
“At Kpawumo Children’s Home the volunteers built a classroom with money that they had raised. Previously there were no classrooms at the children’s home and all lessons were taught outside. This meant that lessons were frequently cancelled and left the children at risk of sunstroke.
“The new classroom was opened in a grand ceremony; the people of 11 nearby villages came to perform drumming and dancing to celebrate the opening of the classroom.
“For some of the student volunteers it was their very first trip out of the UK, and others discovered reserves of strength and toughness they had no idea they possessed. Many volunteers discovered new passions and potential career paths.”
The Ghana Volunteers project is also planning to run again next year, so that University of Nottingham students can continue to make a lasting impact in Ghana for the foreseeable future.
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