“Raymond’s child development facility is serving Medie and the surrounding communities in no small way. May God bless him richly”
Head Pastor, Devine Healers Church, Nsawam, Ghana.
About Medie, my birthplace
My community was formally called ‘Akutuase’ literally translated ‘beneath or under orange tree’. Perhaps, the original settlers found a lot of orange trees on the land. As the community developed, it spread to swallow Medie (meaning MINE), a little community that grew close on its boundaries and took its name. Consequently, the original Medie community is now ‘Medie Kitiwa’ meaning ‘little Medie’ and ‘Akutuase’ is now called MEDIE. There are no orange trees here anymore and the name ‘Akutuase’ is gone with the trees. Medie is located in the Ga West District of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.
It is about four kilometers from Amasaman, the District Capital on the Accra – Kumasi Highway; and the penultimate community to the boundary between the Ga West District and the Akuapim South District of the Eastern Region of Ghana. Currently, a few factories have been established here hence some of the youth who used to farm are now on the floors of the few factories. Nevertheless, it is predorminately a farming community and remains the economic centre where the inhabitants of the surrounding communities come to trade and undertake other important socio-economic activities.
The inhabitants of Medie come from many different ethnic groups across Ghana: Gas, Ewes, Akans, Dagombas, sisala, etc, and even non-Ghanaians. But, the land owners are Gas; hence, they handle traditional authority. This community has suffered stagnate growth and development because of the chieftaincy conflicts which have characterized it for decades and its associated poor community leadership.
Presently, there is an appreciable level of peace in the community and the hut of classroom I sat under in my early childhood days is now a concrete block classroom. But, Medie Presbyterian Primary and Junior High School, the only government school in the community is operating a SHIFT SYSTEM (where some children attend school in the morning and others go to the same school in the afternoon due to inadequate facilities). Moreover, very few indigenous Medie inhabitants reach the tertiary level of education; a greater number of children drop out of school for reasons ranging from lack of sponsors to lack of interest in school.
Challenges Medie faces
Medie, like any rural community in Ghana has its fair share of the socio-economic challenges facing the country:
· This is a poor community made up of predominantly peasant farmers. Some of the youth are employed on the factory floors of the few companies in and around Medie leaving majority of them unemployed. In essence, unemployment rate is very high;
· Medie has a high school drop out rate; of the 100 per cent of children that enter primary school barely 40 per cent enter senior high school and 20 per cent reach the tertiary level;
· Drug abuse is also a major problem as the number of young drug addicts keeps increasing;
· Teenage Pregnancy and its associated problems;
· High child mortality rate; etc.
Medie and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
From the above, it is obvious the gap between Medie and the Millennium Development Goals is very wide. The MDG 2, for instance, seeks to achieve universal primary education with a target of ensuring that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling, and MDG 4 seeks to reduce child mortality with a target of reducing by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. These are the two areas where my current contribution to my community comes in. I am undertaking a Child Development Project in my community as my contribution towards the development of my community and the attainment of the MDGs.
My motivation to establish and run this facility emanates from my earnest desire to give back to my community what my district and country gave me years ago; and to do so in the name of my grand mother. I just cannot wait to do that now.
I remember vividly the situation I found myself in after my Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). By God’s grace, I scored distinction (06), but unfortunately could not further school immediately due to sponsorship problems. I stayed at home for almost three years. In 1999, I applied for scholarship from the then Ga District Assembly (now Ga West District) and was given a full bursary in the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (PRESEC). But for my grandmother, I could not complete basic school; but, for the district assembly, I could not complete secondary school. I have contributed and I am still contributing to the development of my country in various ways but this is my direct contribution to my birth place.
My project is called Naa Kordey Akoshia Memorial Child Dev’t Facility.
I have named my Child Development Project at Medie after my maternal grandmother for the contributions she made towards my education. Elizabeth Naa Kordey Akoshia Quaye did not step foot in the classroom. Even though, she earnestly desired to attend school, the norms and values of the society and family she was born into did not permit her to achieve her heart desire but she assisted her educated husband to school their children. She did not end there but did whatever she could to assist her grand children too.
I am a beneficiary of her benevolence and her desire to see children and young people go to school. Many school pupils who were on break or recess went to the village market where the fried fish seller, ‘Kofi Nye’ as she was popularly called gave those who bought kenkey, fried fishes. Whenever, I visited Medie, my birth place the adults who knew her reminded me of her benevolence as they told me stories about the last time she gave them fishes for their kenkey.
In Medie, many mothers take their children to farms and markets in the scorching sun thus exposing the children to sicknesses. On the farms, the little children disturb their mothers thus reducing their productivity levels. Worried mothers who leave their children with relatives and friends at home are not sure the children would be taken very good care of. Thus, the Child Development Facility is supposed to solve these problems; it is a second home for these children; where they would socialize with other children and enjoy a quality learning experience.
With an in-depth understanding of the socio-economic and educational needs of Medie and the surrounding communities, the facility is charging the lowest fees of 2 USD per month per child. Some children, however, pay virtually nothing.
Beneficiaries of the facility take launch every day. They learn about their environment, Living together in peace; identification of numbers; identification of numerals; colours; shapes; duties of citizens, etc.
I have sponsored the staff of the facility to take various courses on Child Care and Development. My mother currently works with me as a volunteer and she is primarily in charge of the children welfare and general care.
The facility caters for over hundred and fifty (150) children presently. The policy here is to accept children from poor homes. Unfortunately, there is not enough space to accommodate the numerous children who are brought here daily.
The most preferred child development facility in Ghana.
To provide a suitable environment for child development; and to provide quality child care services to poor families.
Children from the ages of 1 to 6years from relatively poor homes
· To contribute to the realization of MDGs 2 and 4;
· To enhance women productivity; and,
· To use it as a national re-orientation project.
Presently, I am the main financier of the project, but, other sources of funding are the aforementioned 2 USD monthly fees some of the parents pay; and donations from Tomorrow Leaders Ghana (TLG). TLG is a youth-led NGO in Ghana of which I am the communications Director. You could visit www.tomorrowleadersghana.org for more information on TLG.
The number of beneficiaries has increased from 7 to 150 within a period of just one year; hence, I need to expand the facility for a projected number of 500 beneficiaries by 2015.
I need about 20,000 USD to build and improve the facility. Your assistance, however little is important to put smiles on the faces of my little children and the poor Medie community.