In Africa schools are sponsored by both the Government and the Private Sector for grades K through senior high. The government schools are “FREE”; However, all “Free
” means is that they supply the teachers and limited amount of staff. Books, supplies and other items are supposed to be provided to maintain the schools. But, due to funding issues and an environment of extreme poverty that surrounds these schools, even the buildings are not maintained. Many families cannot afford textbooks, library books, computers and extras required for a good education. Often children go to school without textbooks and learning takes place with just the single text book that the teachers’ own. As a result, many students drop out of school at the primary and middle school levels due to lack of resources.
Most of the children attending government schools come from families that are very poor economically. There is even a practice of sending children to Kumasi, from neighboring villages or from the northern part of Ghana, because their families are hoping they will get a better opportunity. The relocated children often live with guardians, like an aunt, a grandmother or a sister who take them in to help with household chores in exchange for a place to live. If the guardian or the family cannot afford to pay the necessary school fees, the children stay home to work on the farm or to sell water or to do petty trading with an adult woman. Sadly, these children do not get a basic education! The poverty in Africa is extreme and many people are suffering because, many, many families lack the funds for the basic fees required for their children to attend school.
It’s hard to imagine going to school with no text books and/or the tools necessary to excel?
As noted above, most poor children just don’t go to school. To counteract the educational deficiencies due to the government practices and the local community’s poverty, Bridge-To-Africa Connection, Inc. started the Limitless program in 2016 when the AFI Trailblazers came to visit Ghana. The travelers were excited to see the work that Madam Dawn Sutherland was doing in Kumasi with the twelve Sunday Morning Girls. They recognized the obvious potential in the girls. Limitless started when a few Trailblazers said they wanted to sponsor some of the Sunday Morning Girls. The Trailblazers were very impressed with the improvements made by the girls under Madam Dawn’s mentorship. They understood the value of education and saw it as the enabler to transform young people’s lives. They believed that success can come with a good education, as a result, the sponsorship program for girls started with the first twelve girls.
During the 3 years since 2016, Limitless has grown from sponsoring 12 girls to over 150 girls and 4 boys attending various schools across the Ashanti Region. Sponsorship helps to cover the cost for the required school uniforms, school levies, textbooks, exercise books, note books, lunch, bedding and sundries of supplies needed for school. Also, due to the poverty levels we supply most the children we serve with more than school supplies, like, clothes and even hygiene products. Recently we started a “Days for Girls” interest group to teach the young girls about feminine hygiene, their menstrual cycle and to provide them with kits so that they won’t miss school during their monthly cycle.
We are fortunate to have a circle of supporters that provide sponsorship for a child (or children), so she or he can do well academically in school. As needed, we even arrange for tutors for our children so that they can do their very best because, anything less than “Very Good” rating is not acceptable. Keep in mind, most of our sponsored children have to do chores at home to assist the family, so each one of our scholars must sign a contract along with their guardian to ensure that the child will get adequate time to study at home.
We are grateful, that hundreds of our children attend school with sponsorship as little as $100 per
child/per year. When donors are able to give more, they designate in advance if the support can be used for more than one child, to help with food, for cost beyond educational needs or to even take care of entire families. The needs in these economically challenged communities are overwhelming at times. We will continue to do the best we can with support from our partners and individual sponsors.