A benevolent gesture by the United States Embassy would transform Avetakpo and its surrounding communities in the Ho West District of the Volta Region.
The Embassy provided funding for the completion of a self-initiated 3-unit classroom block in the community through the US Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program.
This follows a feature by JoyNews’ Fred Quame Asare in 2021, which highlighted the lack of a school in the area, denying children access to education.
The only school in the satellite community in the Ho West District stopped operating over a decade ago when the mud structure collapsed.
An attempt by residents to construct a 3-unit classroom block didn’t yield results, as the project was left at the roofing level due to lack of funds.
Some residents had to send their children to live with relatives or friends outside the community to access education, while others have no option but to allow their children to stay back at home and help them.
The Queen Mother of Avetakpo, Mama Akuseme II described the development as unfortunate as some parents had to practically ‘enslave’ their children to work for their guardians so they can be able to go to school.
She said this had affected the English literacy of the children in the community, as they could not read or write the Queen’s language nor could they identify the alphabet and numbers.
“It was devastating, mothers were helpless. So people started migrating their kids to other people in the city to go stay with them, serve and go to school.
Kids as young as 2, 3 years will be sent to somebody to go and serve so that they can access school”, she explained.
Learning of the plight of the community through the feature, an NGO, Write for World tendered a proposal to the United States Embassy for financial assistance to complete the structure.
The proposal was approved and funds were released for the completion and furnishing of the structure, under the US Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program
The Economic Officer of the US Embassy, Daniel Rebacle, represented the US Ambassador to commission and hand over the classroom block to the community.
He explained that the project was shortlisted among over 150 other projects which were tendered in, considering the situation of the community.
The Head of Programs of Write for World, Elorm Kuma, expressed excitement about the completion of the project and illustrated the benefits of the project to the community.
“The community children who had been at the mercy of all harsh vices of life will today be safe, they will be back in the classroom, they will learn and they will have a second chance at life and will also have a very promising future”, he said.
The Chiefs and people of Avatakpo lauded the efforts of JoyNews, Write for World, and the US Embassy towards making their dream a reality.
Mama Akuseme II was elated about the development as the children of his subjects would now have access to “at least the fundamentals of education” while the community mobilises to provide extra classrooms “so that kids can further their education”.
The Ho West District Education Director, Francis Yaw Agbemadi, indicated that his outfit would request the community to collate data on children in preparation to officially open the school next academic year.
He said teaching and learning materials would be made available and teachers would be posted to the school to kick start academic activities in January.
The Ho West District Chief Executive, Ernest Apau, promised to provide a sanitation facility to the school and facilitate extending electricity to the community.
“The poles have been erected, we are waiting for the electrical wires for the extension project to continue, and the community has already agreed to provide accommodation for the teachers. So we will collaborate with all the stakeholders to ensure the school is operationalised”, he stressed.
The Avetakpo Basic School would serve over 10 satellite communities in the enclave, providing children access to education to shape their future.
However, the school would need extra classrooms and an ICT lab and a library to make the school a full-fledged education centre to meet the needs of these children.
Source: Fred Quame Asare
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