NORTH WALSHAM TEACHER RETURNS FROM SUMMER VISIT TO GHANAIAN SCHOOL
A North Walsham teacher is helping to build an ongoing link between the town’s high school and a ‘Street Academy’ in Ghana, after she spent part of the school summer holidays helping out at the African school.
Teresa Gascoyne, director of teaching and learning at North Walsham High School, travelled to the country’s capital Accra to help out at the charity-run school, which provides a free education, daily meal and basic medical treatment for children who would otherwise be on the street.
She took over a backpack full of pencil cases for the children at the school, donated by NWHS students – and having seen first-hand the poverty and lack of facilities in Ghana, she is now hoping to build an ongoing connection between the two schools to provide continuing support.
“Nothing prepared me for the level of poverty and the lack of resources over there,” said Mrs Gascoyne. “For many of the children and their families, finding enough to eat every day is a challenge, let alone providing the kind of educational resources that we take for granted.
“The school had only one toilet – essentially a hole in the ground – and basics such as chairs and tables were in short supply. It makes you realize just how lucky we are in this country.”
Mrs Gascoyne spent her time in Ghana working with the teachers to help prepare new syllabuses, and with professional development. She was given a warm welcome in the classroom.
“Although they have next to nothing, the students and the teachers are proud of their school, and like to show off what they are achieving,” said Mrs Gascoyne. “The school was set up by a Ghanaian boxer around 20 years ago to fill the gap between street kids and mainstream education, and most of the children there would be on the streets if it didn’t exist.”
Now back in the UK, Mrs Gascoyne is using her experiences in Ghana in the classroom in North Walsham. She is now seeking to provide further help by sending out a shipping container with chairs, tables, computers and other classroom equipment, and is appealing to schools with surplus items such as these to contact her at NWHS.