It is hard to believe quite how far we have come in such a short period of time. Midway through only our second term, and it feels like the school has been part of the community for six years, rather than six months. Staff and students alike continue to progress and impress in equal measures. Rejoice, our wonderfully talented headmistress, has created a really tight-knit group amongst the staff. Of course this is a very difficult task when creating a new structure, with new procedures and methods of teaching, accountability and, crucially, student discipline. However Rejoice has expertly negotiated these potential pitfalls, and has insured that all of the teachers have bought into our concept of 'a student focused education.' Already this is paying dividends. Our end of first term exams have seen a small, but noticeable, increase in grades. This is especially prominent amongst the lowest performing students, who have formed our 'purple group', receiving extra support in basic numeracy and literacy - which is a problem with many students from the rural areas.
PHASE 2 CONSTRUCTION
There is no time to rest though, and we are just starting now on the construction of Phase 2 of the school building. Our new building will be two storeys high, and consist of eight more classrooms, and a science lab. Astonishingly, this will push our capacity up to over 400 students for the next intake this September. The clearing of the land has just begun, and we have to start quickly to get ahead of the game before the rainy season starts in late March. We believe that sport is very important and can be a great source of both enjoyment and learning for young people. Phase 2 also sees us expanding our sports field, with a full size football pitch, and two volley ball courts.
THE ORGANIC FARM AND AGRICULTURAL TRAINING CENTRE
We have also just started clearing the bottom of the site for the Organic Farm. The farm forms a key component of what we are trying to do in Wioso, bridging the gap between agriculture and formal education in rural farming communities. Our Project Manager, George Ansah, has a wealth of experience in organics and agricultural training and has a vision to turn our farm into a centre of excellence within the region.
The farm this year will aim to provide the bulk of the food for the feeding program, ensuring healthy and nutritious organic food for our students. Already we have been rearing chickens and harvesting eggs, which are used each week to feed the students. The natural mixture of local Moringa leaves and natural feed is working extremely well, as you can see in the photos the richer colour of the yolk of our eggs against a locally available one. It is these skills and expertise that the Agricultural Training Centre will promote throughout the community, with our adult training classes. Our partner, the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture has over twenty years of experience in locally available solutions to organic farming, and we are very grateful for their continued support.
From the outset, we decided to focus on using renewable energy at both the school and the farm. Currently all of our water needs are covered by a deep bore hole, and we have just received word that a Ghanaian solar energy company are constructing our micro grid as part of their CSR program (full announcement of that will be in our next newsletter). This is extremely exciting, and secures long-term, clean energy for the school and the farm. Funding target for this year All of the work we are doing is only made possible by the generous donations of many contributors. To each and every one of you a huge thank-you, as quite simply this school would not exist without your support. This year, our funding target is approximately £110k. This will allow us to finish all capital investment for the year, increasing our capacity to over 400, finishing the sports fields, and building a farm to feed the students and serve the local community. We hope you agree with us when we say that represents pretty good value for money! Sponsorship opportunities include; naming of the phase 2 block, the classrooms, the science lab, the sports facilities , the farm, students and teachers.
Once again a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved with us over the past 18 months, and I very much look forward to keeping you updated on our 2016 progress. For any queries, please contact me here:
James Riggs (CEO of Alma Mater Education) 3 Lanfrey Place
(+44) 7766 733008 W14 9PY
Donations: Can be received via bank transfer, as follows, or via post to the address above.
Account no: 62155907
Sort code: 400409