Thirteen-year-old Musah and his sister Fatimata, 11, from Ghana, have missed years of education. The makeshift classrooms on the edge of their village were frequently shut because of the harsh sun or torrential rain, and the nearest proper school was several hours’ walk away.
High hopes for the future: Musah and his sister Fatimata.
But now their prospects are much brighter, thanks to an organisation which has helped villagers campaign for a new school.
The Social Enterprise Development Foundation of West Africa (SEND) helps people in marginalised communities to speak up about the issues that affect them, thereby ensuring that public funds are spent wisely.
So when the district assembly visited Musah and Fatimata’s village in northern Ghana, SEND threw its weight behind community representatives calling for a new school to replace the rundown old buildings. Among the representatives making their case to the government was Musah and Fatimata’s mother, Dumata.
‘SEND said that we had to think about how we should help ourselves,’ says Dumata. ‘The important thing is to get involved to make life better for our children.’
Life has indeed just got better for her children. A new school has now opened and it’s a big success – Musah and Fatimata are now among the growing pupil numbers (up by a third) attending it.
The brother and sister have high hopes for their future. ‘I really want to be at school,’ says Fatimata. ‘It means I will be able to get a job and buy things for myself and my family.’
Musah says: ‘If you are educated you can earn an income. I want to be a farmer but I want to find ways to do it well. I want to be able to employ people.’
He adds: ‘The thing that would make me happiest is if every child in every community in Ghana could go to school.’