Length: 6 months
Accommodation: Host Family
Location: Volta, Denu/Aflao
Programme’s: x2 Orphanages, Hospital, Building Project
In March 2012 I decided to travel to Ghana and carry out volunteer work for 6 months with United Playground and i can honestly say i had some of the best moments and experiences of my life. I had just finished my degree in Social Work so my finances was definitely a starting point and was the main reason that i found United Playground as their prices are very reasonable…actually very cheap compared to some of the big companies i have seen. Ann (director) did everything in her power to make sure that i was well knowledgeable about the trip, which made me very comfortable and eventually won me over to choose the company. The host family that i was placed with was AMAZING and did their absolute BEST to make sure that i had the best time and left with wonderful memories. I honestly believe that my time there was great due to Ann’s constant support and quality arrangements. If you request a call back off the website im sure Ann will be more than willing to answer every question you have and settle any worries or concerns…she certainly did for me
Peace, Love & Ghana xx
Mawuli Memorial SOS School
I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the project although it was only a short time. I would have liked to have been there during school term time as there were only about ten orphans. However, David (Headmaster) set me a challenging task of tutoring a young man of 21 years in English. He has damage to his brain and so finds learning in class almost impossible – leading him to become very subdued. My assignment for the short time I was there was to begin the process of building up self-esteem and setting the basic foundations of learning English. He was a very willing student and his eagerness to achieve his goal of being able to attend senior high school resulted in four 30 minute lessons one on one (writing skills, language skills, mathematical skills and creative arts). I created short lesson plans and made detailed notes on the students progress. I have left these, along with a summary, for another volunteer or Ghanian teacher to continue the tutoring (if possible). I have offered David my services via email with advice and sending materials across. I will keep in contact with the School to check on progress and continue to donate money and/or materials when I can to the project. The flights went smoothly to Ghana and I was collected at the airport by one of David’s sons. My orientation was very informative and I was given the necessary information about the work I would be doing. The other volunteers were very friendly as was the Ghanian community – very welcoming. Ghana is a lovely country and a very safe place to explore on your own. Both weekends I managed to travel around the Volta region (with the other volunteers) which was a nice opportunity to see different landscapes the Volta region has to offer (mountains, sea, farmland). As it was the school holidays I experienced a day working on the farm (which David keeps and his plan is for that to generate the income for the school) harvesting maize (corn) and beans. It was tiring work but fully enjoyed seeing how it is collected and just how hard-working the children and farmers are (from 7am until 6pm sometimes even earlier!). I was also enable to help David’s wife – Victoria (cook) dry out the maize and prepare it for cooking or selling. To experience this unique culture was absolutely fantastic and I feel very privileged. It has also given me an understanding of how the Ghanian society works and how they would like to progress their education system further. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and would love to go back to the school/orphanage during term time so that I can see the school system in action and offer my professional services to more children, as a qualified English speaking teacher.
Overall I had such an amazing time in Ghana. I really fell in love with the country and really want to go back in the future and explore all the places I didn’t have time to get to. The accommodation we stayed in was much more luxurious than I had thought it would be and it was really good being able to socialise with the other volunteers. Some aspects of life in Ghana were challenging to get to grips with to begin with but I soon found that I adapted to the Ghanaian way of life and really enjoyed not having much, not looking in the mirror or caring how I looked. Volunteering in Ghana is an experience I am always going to remember and hopefully some of the people I worked with in Ghana will remember me too. I would definitely recommend volunteering with United Playground in Ghana to anyone who wants a challenge and who wants to make a difference in some way to other people’s lives.
Jeff was the organiser of the charity in Ghana and helped us with everything! On the first night we stayed with his family in Accra before we took the bus to the village the next day. They were very hospitable and not only cooked for us but his sisters took us for a night out in Accra. The bus journey to the village took about 2 hours and even though the three of us didn’t pack light we were able to fit our luggage onto the bus. Once in the village Jeff introduced us to the teachers in the school and very briefly told us what he wanted us to do. We are quite resourceful and as we are trained teachers could see what kinds of lessons would benefit the children but for an inexperienced volunteer this could be quite daunting. The village was very self sufficient but one of the things needed were resources and training for the teachers. The teachers there were not all trained and found it difficult to provide exciting and inclusive lessons for a group of 40 children of all mixed age groups. Jeff introduced us to people in the village who included us in everything – from church to the Easter celebrations and we even got to meet the chief of the village! He cooked our meals too (although we did insist that we would!) and was our guide when we went to the cape coast for a few days. The children in the village were great! They were well behaved and were enthusiastic about any task. They absorbed the instructions quickly and soon learnt the songs we taught and simple English phrases and words. They loved doing arts and crafts and this was a great way for them to have fun and learn English. The accommodation was very comfortable. We had a hut with two rooms. We shared a toilet with the house next door. I wouldn’t say the accommodation was basic. There was no electricity but we had comfortable beds with mattresses, a toilet hut with seat, a separate shower cubicle and a spacious cooking area. When we weren’t at school we spent our time with the children in the village. Jeff organised football and we played and chatted with the children sometimes helping with homework. Overall a great experience and one I would love to do again. Thanks for sending me on it!
As my time in Ghana came to a close, I can’t help but feel sad at what I’m leaving behind. The experience has been one that I will never forget and the memories I have made will last me a lifetime and hopefully inspire others to do something similiar. Africa is a beautifull, vibrant, musical and joyful country which is sometimes not shown as fairly as it should in our media. Yes there is poverty and suffering, and many many orphan children due to AIDS, death or any other circumstance but more often than not these people were the ones that would offer me a seat, a meal or even somewhere to sleep. They were the ones making the most out of life, and not merely the things they have in it or dwelling on the lack of things. They had nothing, but would always greet me with kindness and warmth. The joy they had was in life and play. In the music and dancing. There is a lot to be said for the way many people I have met here live their lives. Speaking with a 6 year old girl at the orphanage were I worked about how she lost her mother to AIDS, and had never known her father. And how she was concerned that she might die, absolutely broke my heart. That is something no child should have to think about or really even know about and never be worried about. The words like, ‘putting things in perspective’ come into play when things like that happen. I can only hope that the small time I spent with the school and other projects I was involved in was useful to the people around me. Ghana has certainly been good to me and I can’t recommend it enough to other people. The work is tough, the hours long and the weather (well, at least for a lad from Scotland) extreme, make it is an experience you will never forget, but the emotional rewards are well worth any sweat and tears they may have caused.
I volunteered at a school in Ghana called Vivibon school. Being in a wheelchair, I was worried how I would manage and how people would react to me. The staff were really helpful and the children loved pushing me in my chair. I stayed with a host family who were also really helpful.
Missahoe Charity Home
I volunteered in the Missahoe Charity Home in the Volta Region of Ghana. From the minute I got there the kids were amazing and so happy to have me there. There were 29 kids at my orphanage from baby Timothy who was 6 months to Joshua who is 18. There was always something to do from painting the orphanage, planting vegetables in the garden and taking the boys to school and teaching them maths and English, (the girls went to a more private school). Everyone was so friendly especially the women who ran the orphanage one of whom I lived with during my stay. This was an experience that will stay with me forever. I would recommend it to anyone.
Missahoe Charity Home
Initially I was very scared of going to Africa alone as it was something that I had not done before. I didn’t know what company to go with as there were so many to choose from on the internet. There were many unreliable companies that I emailed asking for more information about the trip etc they never got back to me and many of the telephone numbers were from abroad so I could not contact them due to the expense of the telephone call and the time difference. This wasn’t too comforting and I wanted to talk to a ‘real’ person before I paid my deposit to anyone. This is when I came across a highly affordable company ‘United Playground’. It had a British number which I called straight away and had a lengthy chat with Camille. I found out that this was one of her passions that had developed in to her business. She has been travelling around the world visiting orphans and she knew what she was talking about and gave me really helpful advice. The price also of the trip was the cheapest that I had found and trust me – I looked! During my time in Ghana I felt safe from start-to-finish. A coordinator met me at Accra Airport and was very welcoming considering that I was a bag of nerves on the day. At the orphanage, Baby and Mowsi were kind and wanted me to enjoy myself as well as teaching the children at the local school. I think that you have to be very pro-active at Missahoe as everybody including the kids, are very self sufficient and I felt that I was needed more financially than in body. I did find myself twiddling my thumbs sometimes but you can always grab some true Ghanaian culture and help with the cooking, the clothes washing (the Ghanaian’s are well known for this), walking with Richard, feeding the goats, going market shopping and so on. The children at the school were enthusiastic to learn and were very excited to see a ‘Westerner’. Some of the children were left behind in their class so I tried to focus on them especially. I found it tough to deal with occasionally when the teachers decided to not turn up for class and I had to figure out what the class would be learning for the day but the kids were more than happy to read or even do sums as long as it was made in to a game. In my three weeks in Ghana, I booked some trips to the waterfalls as we were allowed weekends off and generally played with the kids. They loved skipping, volleyball, football, anything that a normal child would love doing and found it hilarious that I was attempting to carry water on my head like them. This was a brilliant experience to know that I helped and made the kids laugh. I was very sad to leave everyone as I had an amazing time that I will never forget. I plan to go out there again in the near future to see them and hope that I gave them as much of a fantastic time as they gave me