IMG_0495A nursery and day care centre for vulnerable young children from a poor fishing village in Ghana has received a huge cash injection courtesy of students, staff and parents from Harrow Way Community School. Sandy Craig from Partner West Africa (PWA) collected the £1700 during a special presentation held at the school this week.

Harrow Way and PWA have been working together since 2013 when an educational partnership between the Andover based school and Fayef International School in Ghana was set up by PWA. Students from both schools regularly communicate through letter and video and in July 2014 a Harrow Way contingent visited the school in Ghana. It was during this trip that the Harrow Way students were inspired to help children in the local day care centre of a poor fishing village called Oshieye. These children and the centre are now the major focus for Harrow Way’s fundraising activities.

Callum Cook and Caitlin Loveys Year 11 Unicef Peer Educators said: “When we saw the state of the village Oshieye we knew immediately that we wanted to help the children that live there. If it wasn’t for VWA and PWA the children would be left alone without food and water during the day. We decided to fund the day care centre so they can provide the children with food, water and clothes and have the resources to learn.”

The first initiative by the Peer Educators who wanted to ensure every child from Oshieye’s day care centre received a Christmas gift. For most children, this would be the first Christmas gift they had ever received. The students created “Virtual Christmas Boxes” which they arranged through PWA.

Head of RE and Citizenship Hilary Delany explains further: “Sending boxes packed full of toys to Ghana would be prohibitively expensive so with PWA we came up with a creative way to still get some goodies out to the children in Oshieye. Our students selected toys from a list, the money for which, £450, was then sent to PWA who bought the gifts locally and made up the boxes, thereby avoiding the delivery costs. This also had the added benefit of feeding in to the local economy. There was also enough money to buy a trampoline for Fayef International School.”

The £1700 donation was a result of the Student Council’s Christmas Fayre and a non-uniform day. This money will help Sandy and the team at PWA care for the youngest and most vulnerable children of Oshieye to ensure they receive food, safe drinking water, clothes, healthcare and a basic education every day.

Sandy Craig explained to the students at Harrow Way that it is difficult for us in the UK to imagine the circumstances in which the children live daily. In their village there is no running water, no sanitation and living conditions are unhygienic and cramped. She said: “Harrow Way is a Rights Respecting School and so you all understand the rights of every child everywhere to have food, safe water, healthcare and an education. What you have done will make that possible for many children in Oshieye. You should be very proud of yourselves.”

The day care nursery is run for PWA in Ghana by a partner NGO, VWA Volunteer West Africa. It is a long term project which has been set up in conjunction with the approval of the local chiefs and the co-operation of the Ghanaian health and education authorities. It aims to increase the life chances of the children, enable more to access education and support parents with training in a range of areas including nutrition, hygiene, employment skills and literacy. The work is funded through a child sponsorship scheme and general donations. Currently, places can be offered to 70 of the most vulnerable children but PWA hopes that eventually they will be able to fund more places.

Due to the incredible success of the Christmas Fayre students are hoping to run a summer fair when again the funds would go to Oshieye and Fayaf International School.