Sponsoring Bonkron, a Ghanaian village
14 July 2015, by Jiang Yingxin
We sponsor a village called Bonkron, in the Ashanti region of Ghana. This is done through a charity called Ashanti Development, which our MD Zoe has been volunteering with since 2009 and is now a trustee of. We’ve raised money for our village predominantly through regular Charity Saturdays, but also other exciting events such as our annual stand-up Comedy Night and our birthday party.
Last April, with an initial donation of £19,000, we provided latrines, sponsored hygiene training and started a £300 hardship fund to take care of the elderly and disabled.
With water and sanitation taken care of, this year we faced a choice: what to build next? We were quite keen on getting internet installed, to enable all kinds of support and improvements over Skype – healthcare, teaching English, even perhaps teaching coding? However this turned out to not be super easy and was held up while Ashanti Development talked to Vodafone.
We decided to start exploring other options. The village had been asking for a kindergarten ever since we first sponsored them. As our contact Penny at Ashanti Development explained,
“In Ashanti, the parents often work on their farms all day. There’s nowhere for the pre-school children to go – probably no building large enough to house them – and they are left to their own devices. They play outside and you often see very young children who are badly injured in consequence […] So all the villages want kindergartens and are happy to employ village women to look after them, and since the little children have the worst time (they are the last in line for food, clothes, anything) I think kindergartens are a good idea.”
So in early April we gave them the go-ahead to spend another £12k on building a kindergarten! They were really excited about this, and very quickly started work on it – they hoped to get sand, blocks and roofing done before the rainy season starts. We got running updates about the work, and the building isn’t looking too bad as you can see.
We also spent £250 on sending two people from the village to a bee-keeping course. They’ve built two hives, and were each given a hat and veil, a boiler suit and bee gloves, and a smoker.
We’re really excited by this opportunity to help a whole community. Penny from Ashanti Development recently remarked: “I’m told that Bonkron is changing in leaps and bounds and is even beginning to look a bit prosperous. It’s amazing the effect that sanitation has on health and energy supplies.”
Where in the UK £25,000 probably wouldn’t get you a Central London parking space for the year, out in Bonkron it has gone so far towards helping the prosperity of an entire community. It’s been great to watch the changes in Bonkron take place and we can’t wait to see how they progress, as we push towards introducing the internet and bringing more positive changes to their lives.