ATE’s Summer Newsletter
Newsletter No: 11 – Summer 2019
A message from ATE’s Chief Executive:
This year has been a big one for ATE, we are in a phase of significant growth and improvement. As we professionalise, I feel excited about what the future holds for us, and for the people we work with in Lawra. I’m proud of the way that we are strengthening our systems and enhancing our methodology, for example, we recently formally employed all 21 cooks at the 7 schools we work with – paying their social security and pensions is empowering, providing security and dignity.
Thank you to every person who supports our work, we are always grateful.
SNAP Play Scheme is launched
In some rural communities across the world disabled children are excluded, discriminated against and vulnerable to abuse. ATE has worked hard fighting to improve inclusion and visibility for disabled children in Lawra Municipal. Whether this is supporting access to education, ensuring each child has up to date health insurance or appropriate assistive aids, ATE has been there. And this June we’ve launched a Play Scheme. Play is crucial for development, socialisation and wellbeing. We have worked in partnership with a dedicated work group experienced in teaching and caring for disabled children in the UK across a range of ages and abilities. Their dedication, caring and expertise has facilitated a vibrant, brilliant, engaging Play Scheme that is inclusive and stimulating. Their support has included training our new Play Scheme Co-ordinator, Ernestina Gan. In an entirely new role, Ernestina has made the Play Scheme her own. She is lively, interested and passionate about supporting disabled children through play. Through the UK work group’s guidance, Ernestina has centred her Play Schemes around sensory play particularly focusing on using resources that are readily available and can be replicated at home. Engaging the parents in their child’s play has been a key component of Ernestina’s focus and it has been amazing watching her achieve this. After just one week, already word was being spread through the community and parents were enrolling their children in our Special Needs Awareness Programme. And this is just what we want. Creating programmes that meet people’s needs and improve people’s lives.
ATE’s Inclusion Centre is built!
After months of careful planning, support from skilled and generous supporters in the UK, ATE’s first capital project has been completed! After years working out of a 3x3m ‘shipping container’ office, ATE finally has a fit for purpose, professionalised office space… with ceiling fans! This has been revolutionary for our working environment but even more so for our programmes and services. We now have a beautiful establishment that people know and know that they are welcome in. Throughout the day we have mothers popping in asking for support for their disabled child; entrepreneurs stopping in to apply for a BizATE grant; and community leaders dropping by to further the case for particular support in their community. Our relationships with our surrounding communities is what has enabled ATE to deliver such high impact, effective and solution orientated programmes. And having an embedded, recognised Inclusion Centre is a valuable asset in furthering those important relationships.
Our students work hard, at home and at school. We support the completion of the education by providing daily meals, learning materials and uniforms. But we like to celebrate with eggs. At the end of each term, we celebrate the culmination of weeks of studying and the approaching holidays by adding an egg to each meal. It may sound simple but with a carbohydrate heavy diet, it provides valuable protein and big smiles.
A hub of creativity off the beaten track
After driving for almost an hour across orange, dusty tracks a vivid blue mud brick and plastered hut appears. Seated under a thatched lean-to, Mercy, a newly supported seamstress instructs a group of eager apprentices. With her grant, Mercy has been able to bulk buy the materials she needs to create her incredible creations. This means she doesn’t have to demand payment up front when a customer orders a commission. This has given Mercy the freedom to accept multiple commissions at once, increasing the profit she is able to make. Mercy is kind and sympathetic to her community members though and will accept payments in-kind that she can sell on, for example ground nuts, when she knows her customer is unable to provide the cash.
ATE’s 5th Hub of Development
In April we introduced our school feeding programme, EducATE, into a new school: Bagri Junction JHS. This launched our 5th Hub of Development. Bagri Junction serves four communities all with their own Chiefs. The JHS is the only school to serve these four communities and was built just 3 years ago. Despite being relatively close to Lawra Town, the Bagri Junction community feels very rural. The school has just 55 students, incredibly dedicated teachers and PTA but no school building! Currently it shares classrooms with the Primary School. The students and community are excited to receive school meals and the students are already benefitting from the extra attention ATE’s monitoring brings. For example, Bagri Junction student, Godfred who struggled reading the chalk board even when his desk was directly in front of the board. Thanks to the generosity of a supporter we were able to take Godfred to Wa for special treatment. However, his condition is more serious than anticipated and he has been referred to a specialist in Tamale. We are committed to finding a solution to correct Godfred’s eyesight to ensure he can fully participate in school!
Sharing the trade
Hermas is a welder just 2 minutes from the ATE office. His main trade is building the ever popular ‘shipping container’ offices. An enormous amount of work is put into each one but it’s a thriving industry and Hermas is always busy. In fact, he’s taken on two apprentices to support him while he passes on the skills of his trade. Hermas is a considerate trainer and allows one apprentices to work part-time to ensure he also completes his studies alongside. It’s brilliant to see Hermas training other young men in a profitable vocation and its inspiring to see his flexibility in approach to ensure his apprentice can learn alongside completing his education.
A new chapter for ATE
We have taken steps to improve our structural and financial processes to ensure that as we grow, ATE is the robust, dependable organisation the people of Lawra need us to be. An important part of this has been hiring an Interim Director of Operations to serve in post in Lawra. Jessica Cruse is an experienced manager with considerable experience across Africa and beyond! She has helped numerous NGOs prepare for the next stage in their growth, and we are thrilled to have her as part of our team.
Year 4 of Dry Season Gardening support
We are delighted to have secured funding to support a new group of Dry Season Gardeners this coming season. With the increasing effects of climate change being felt in Upper West Ghana, and particularly for communities far from the Black Volta River. This is an important project, empowering local farmers to provide food, income and security for themselves and their families during the toughest period of the year.
All you need to do is throw yourself out of an airplane, what are you waiting for? Join our new adrenaline bounding fundraising skydive! ATE will cover cost for the drive, asking each adrenaline junkie to raise £500 for ATE in exchange. That’s enough to set up an entrepreneur in Lawra with a grant, 1:1 mentorship for 12 months AND ongoing business training! Get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a PDF copy of this newsletter click here: 2019 Summer newsletter