Friday, October 11, 2013

It has been a year and a half since my move to Ghana became permanent. It has been such an incredible journey so far, and my plans for writing have been so often delayed. I apologize for not making you aware of what has been happening.

This transition has been more difficult and at the same time more rewarding than I had ever imagined. As I think you know, I am living in a family compound home in the middle of a shanty neighborhood and developing a number of poverty alleviation projects. Let me give you a long overdue personal update on the progress being made here in Ghana with help from the TransCAP Foundation. 

1) West Africa AIDS Foundation
Our longest-supported partner in Ghana, the West Africa AIDS Foundation is providing education, testing and treatment for people throughout Ghana. The TransCAP Foundation has provided a laptop computer, condoms, medicine and medical supplies in addition to a monthly cash stipend.

2) Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa
The TransCAP Foundation has provided support for a number of VPWA projects over the years, including their "Kick Malaria Out" campaign, their yearly de-worm Ghana day, and most recently providing support for their Street Library mobile libraries.  

3) Kisseman Community Library
Working together with Easy Track Ghana, the TransCAP Foundation has helped create a free community library that serves a neighborhood where most homes do not have running water. The 700 books in the library makes this a better stocked library than any school in the area, and the computer lessons given on a laptop are far more interactive than the paper 'computer' that most area children are learning from at their schools.

1) Excursions for children sponsored by the Kisseman Library
Over the course of the next couple years, we would like to organize excursions, starting with the Accra Planetarium for November 3rd partial solar eclipse. Other site would include a) the Accra Zoo; b) Ghana National Museum; c) the international airport; d) Kwame Nkrumah Memorial to Ghana's first President. Each excursion would include transit, entrance, lunch, water and $1 of spending money.
Costs: $200-$275 to sponsor 20-25 students on an excursion.

2) Enhanced Library Collection 
Books: Too expensive to ship. So contribute for us to purchase them. These are needed by the Kisseman Community Library, the VPWA Street Library, the WAAF children's ward, as well as other schools we support that serve children who would not otherwise be going to school because the families cannot afford school fees. 
Videos: Easy to ship. North American DVDs are not compatible, but will play on a computer.
Educational Games: A small collection of freeware has been downloaded. Suggestions and contributions are welcome.
Costs: $250 will get us 30-35 durable children's story books. 

3) Tablets for Teaching
There is little doubt that many of the young people in our library today will be adults in a fully mobile-enabled world. This is the way people will be using computers and we would like to be teaching relevant technology. Already children are attempting to use our old laptop as if there is a touch-screen interface. Learning a mouse or touch-pad is difficult for some. 

We have received guests on a couple of instances that have connected our library students with a classroom in the USA. It was pure magic, with students on both sides of the conversation being highly engaged and receiving a wonderful cultural exchange. There were so many questions flying. Then a US student asked about dancing. Suddenly local music was produced and the children in Ghana burst into an awesome dance party. More instructive sessions are planned when the appropriate hardware is acquired. We welcome the ability to communicate with schools or libraries around the world.
Hardware: $700 for a Galaxy; $1,200 for an iPad. 
Option: Buy or contribute a tablet in the US or Canada and ship it to a person that is traveling to Ghana on an Easy Track tour. You will still get your tax deduction.  

4) Keep Things Running
It takes money to make a library function:
Staff: $45/month
Student volunteers: $30 is contributed into a school fee account for the student helper of the day
Supplies: $15/month 
Electric & Water: Donated by Easy Track Ghana
Service: $50/month for Internet service 

5) Spelling Bee at the Kisseman library 

6) Student essay contests - Previously this successful event has paid school fees for students writing essays about good health topics.

7) Condom distribution and STD awareness evenings - TransCAP has distributed thousands of condoms on Ghana

8) Library soccer team - TransCAP has helped bring soccer gear to Ghana in the past and will now underwrite one or more teams in conjunction with the Kisseman Library

Remember, your tax-deductible contribution of 
$250 purchases 35 new books!
$500 pays for an educational excursion for 60 children!
$1000 converts into 
- 140 new library books
- 6 months of library operations and 40 new library books
- a tablet and 5 months of Internet service
- a tablet and an educational excursion for 25 students

This is a lot for us to achieve, so please consider us when you are making your charitable contributions this year. Send your tax-deductible contributions to :

TransCAP Foundation
1170 Peachtree St, NE 12th Floor, P3
Atlanta, GA


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