Friday, August 29, 2008

Gifts from Berwick Academy Students Bring Help to Impoverished Village in Ghana

For nearly a month this summer, Berwick Academy eighth grade English teacher, Janet Miller, visited The Republic of Ghana in Africa on a group service trip. The group brought donations of medical supplies, school equipment and supplies, clothing, footwear, a solar panel, and much more for the impoverished village of Kpenoe (PEN-way). Upon their arrival, the group was given a special audience with the chief and elders of Kpenoe to present the donations and learn more about particular areas of need in the village.
In addition to material donations, Ms. Miller contributed over $3,000.00 in funds raised by Berwick’s eighth grade class. The students raised the money through a Walk-a-thon held in South Berwick this past spring. Part of Berwick Academy’s contribution went towards the first year of tuition for a high school student named Pearl Ayi. Pearl, who is from the village of Kpenoe, hopes to someday become a nurse. The generous donation from the Berwick community has helped make this a genuine possibility for the young woman. Ms. Miller hopes to continue funding the girl’s high school education through fundraising with her Berwick students over the next few years.
Another portion of the funds raised by students at Berwick Academy went towards the construction of a clean water purification facility being built in Kpenoe. The facility will provide, for the first time in the history of the village, fresh water made available free of charge in each of the clan areas of the Kpenoe community.
In addition to donating supplies and funds to the village of Kpenoe, Ms. Miller also donated her time, teaching English as a Second Language at the Mawuko Secondary School for Women, in the town of Ho. Her classroom was filled with an astounding 41 students who had the bare minimum for school books, supplies, and equipment. Knowing this situation, she brought copies of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet, as well as school supplies, all donated by her students back home at Berwick Academy.
Ms. Miller reflected on her time at the school, saying how inspiring it was to see underprivileged children be as eager, appreciative, and dedicated to learning as they were. It became evident to her that an education is their only hope for leaving poverty behind one day.
As a whole, Ms. Miller’s service group, with the help of her students at Berwick Academy, was able to raise thousands of dollars in monetary and material donations for Kpenoe. Many of the donations went directly to the most indigent villagers with specific needs, and in one circumstance, helped save an infant life.
Caption: Ms. Miller taught English as a Second Language to the students at the Mawuko Secondary School for Women in Ghana, Africa this summer and brought the children supplies donated by Berwick Academy Students. (Courtesy photo)