Our Projects

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Step by Step - 2017

Step by Step - 2017 Album Cover

Every year we have plenty of smaller projects or purchases that help us make life in Dekpor a little better. (As you look through the album, be sure to read the label to the upper left.)

We are grateful to everyone who helps us accomplish these important things!

July School Luncheon - 2017

July School Luncheon 2017 Album Cover

July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017 was a happy day to celebrate just before final exams started. The students and staff absolutely LOVE the special meal of kenke. Kenke is a local traditional dish that is made with fermented maise dough balls. It is served with rice, fish, and a hot pepper sauce. Biscuits, (that taste somewhat like Arrowroots) were also given as a special treat.

There were 4 local women who were hired to provide the food. Linda, Abraham, Doris, Betha, and our three DSDO-hired staff members all help with the distribution process. They've gotten mighty efficient and can have the whole school (just under 800) served in about 40 minutes!

We are very grateful to Ali Afshari who sponsored this luncheon in memory of his father, Reza Afshari. Thank you, Ali. The smiles say it all.

May School Luncheon - 2017

May School Luncheon 2017 Album Cover

May 31, 2017

The students of Moraine Hills Public School did some outstanding fundraising last fall when they were taking part in our Ghana Gift Bag project. In fact, they raised enough funds to ship all their bags and had surplus to sponsor a Dekpor Basic School special luncheon! This is the eighth luncheon we've hosted...and it is an extremely exciting event for everyone!

As usual, the local women we hire to prepare food made kenke. It is a local delicacy of dumpling-like maise dough balls that is served with tiny fish and a tomato and hot pepper sauce. It takes a long time to make it, and because of that, many children never get to eat it. Face it, many children are sent to school without having had breakfast, and with little or no lunch. It is a HUGE TREAT to have such a fantastic meal provided!

A big thank you to the students, parents, and staff of Moraine Hills Public School for the donation that made this luncheon such a happy success!

Short Video Clips

Helping Hungry Students - Sloane Public School - 2017

Helping Hungry Students - Sloane Public School - 2017 Album Cover

May 10, 2017

Sloane Public School in Toronto is an amazing place! Apparently it is the first elementary school in Ontario, with students this young (JK - grade 5) to host a Kids Against Hunger food packaging event...and they raised enough money and provided the labour to do THREE skids of food! Unreal!

We were the lucky recipients of 33 boxes of Kids Against Hunger Food. What does that mean?

  • In every box there are 36 bags of food.
  • Each bag has a day's nutrition for 6 children.
  • TOTAL = 7128 meals.

A very special thank you to Mr. Douglas Penfold who organised the event. Thank you to the students and parents for their support in fundraising. Thank you to the staff and grade 4 and 5 students for packaging all the food! Thank you to the Sloane and KAH people who stayed to help load the van!

What a gift! We are very grateful and the students of Dekpor Basic School are extremely appreciative.

Helping Hungry Students - Milton - 2017

Helping Hungry Students - Milton - 2017 Album Cover

May 13, 2017

We are grateful to Kinh Quach who met Carol last year at a KAH food packaging event. Kinh was the leading force behind the coming together of almost 100 volunteers who gathered this year on May 13th to participate in a Kids Against Hunger food packaging event in Milton. We are very grateful to: the 7 churches under the umbrella of Milton Area Christian Churches Working Together (MACCWT), the Rotary Club of Milton, and the Halton Multicultural Council, and of course, Kids Against Hunger Canada! These wonderful groups did extensive fundraising and provided the labour to assemble all of the meals.

We received 7128 nutritious rice casserole meals (that is 33 boxes) to distribute to our most vulnerable students at Dekpor Basic School. What a gift!

Thank you to every single person who helped make this a reality!

March School Luncheon - 2017

March School Luncheon 2017 Album Cover

The students and staff are very grateful to Marzi and Kermin Byramjee for making March 29th a special day at Dekpor Basic School!

Seven local women did all the time-consuming cooking--they are always thrilled to get the extra business. They made a local delicacy, kenke. Kenke is fermented maise dough balls with fish and hot pepper sauce.

This was the seventh school luncheon that we've held in our history, and as always, it was a huge, happy event. For children who face malnourishment and undernourishment, having an occasion like this is truly a gift!

Thank you, Kermin and Marzi, for your generous donation that made this possible!

Water Distribution - 2017

Water Distribution 2017 Album Cover

There was much excitement on January 7th as the Dekpor Dome water tower and stand pipes were officially opened! As of January, Dekpor Yia and Dekpor Dome residents have water towers and stand pipes that are a reasonable distance to walk.

Next in line? Dekpor Horme. There are a lot of trenches to dig and pipes to lay. We need to mechanize the third borehole that exists in Dekpor Yia, and purchase more pumps, and build another water tower.

This is a massive undertaking, but one step at a time, we are making progress!

Flower Beds - 2017

Flower Beds 2017 Album Cover

March 2017

Thanks to a donation made via Conny and Edi Schmickl from their family and friends in Austria, we have been able to put in flower beds in front of the most of the buildings! (In front of the library and newly built 6-classroom block were previously completed.)

Why does this matter? Well, it is going to look nice for starters, but more important than that is it helps us with the erosion problems on campus.

Looking good!

Security Lights on Campus - 2017

Security Lights on Campus 2017 Album Cover

March 2017

Truly a joint project!

We've just put in 4 outdoor security lights on campus! One light was donated by the MP; 2 poles were donated by the chairman of the department of chieftancies; and a recent donation from our Austrian friends paid for three of the lights, the wiring, the switches, and the labour to install.

The townspeople, still shaken from the computer lab robbery last August, are really excited about this additional security measure!

Let there be light!

Ghana Gift Bags - 2017

Ghana Gift Bags 2017 Album Cover

From August to December 2016, we experienced the widest outpouring of generosity imaginable. Ghana Gift Bags morphed into a project that ended up bringing together thousands of people in Ontario with one common goal—to produce 786 special presents for our very needy Dekpor students.

Companies and individuals donated drawstring bags, water bottles, baseball caps, travel-sized shampoo and body lotions. There was an incredible two van loads of new goods from Sigma Promotions, and new shorts from AYSC, 4 cases of toothbrushes from Dr. Shasha, and 48 tubes of toothpaste from Dr. Weaver. Busch Systems donated Frisbees, pencil cases and pencil sharpeners. Hilroy donated notebooks; Johnsons & Johnsons donated toothbrushes. Lee Valley gave us a discount on hand-crank flashlights. Please, as you look through the photos, be sure to read the captions. The number of people who helped gather goods is extensive!

The call was put out for industrious individuals to take on a ‘manager role’, to rally their friends or staff to participate in filling drawstring bags with essential hygiene items, school supplies, fun little surprises, and personalized notes for the students of Dekpor Basic School. The response was amazing!

To the following people, a huge thank you. These are our managers—people/schools who took on several Ghana Gift Bags:

  • Darlene Cann (120+)
  • Rita Forte (100)
  • Minesing Central P.S. (100)
  • Windfields Junior High School (60)
  • Highview Public School (60)
  • Meher Panthaky (60)
  • Moraine Hills Public School (40)
  • Karen Burke (35)
  • Mapleview Public School (31)
  • Lydia Ridd (29)
  • Tine Muir (26)
  • Donna Jamieson (21)
  • Church Street Public School (20)
  • Susan Anderson (18)
  • Denise Bilodeau (15)
  • Carol Sheardown (15)
  • Gillian Anderson (10)
  • Louise Dyer (9)
  • Valerie Bartlett (8)
  • Debbie Halinaty (5)
  • Wendy Emerson (4)

We had SIX schools participate, which means the staff, students, and parents all joined together to make the project a success. In each case, it entailed further fundraising to cover the cost of shipping. That is a whole lot of people who chose to help the Dekpor students! We’re so grateful to each school community.

Some of our managers went above and beyond, and raised a surplus of funds for DSDO to help us ship extra items, to buy more flashlights, and to hold a couple of school luncheons. We are thrilled with the enthusiasm and generosity!

A special thank you must go to Phil Sawula who, twice, helped Carol deliver all of the barrels and boxes to the shipper. December 3rd and 17th, hundreds of pounds of amazing items travelled from Aurora to North York to embark on the journey to Ghana.

Fast forward to March 2017 when the GGBs arrived. Linda and Abraham absolutely loaded their van, twice, to deliver the goods to Dekpor.

Distribution was something else. Keep in mind, the children of Dekpor for the most part, have never had a gift given to them. Sure, since DSDO has been on the scene, they have received a pencil or notebook, or article of clothing, but, NEVER before has each student been handed a present, something to open, something that was literally bursting at the seams full of fantastic items! So many of the kids were actually stunned into silence, too shocked to even smile. Some were too overwhelmed to even squeal, they just stared in wonder. And then the kindergarten students didn’t know WHAT to do, so they sat with grins on their faces, hugging their drawstring bags and not knowing that they could dump the contents! There were gasps, shrieks of delight and fright (true story—a couple of kids were scared of the small stuffed animals!), and a whole lot of overjoyed children. Their gratitude is immeasurable.

Each Dekpor Basic School student and every sponsored secondary school student received a GGB. The teachers were treated to many wonderful items as well!

What an absolute success! What an unforgettable moment for the students! Children and parents alike keep expressing their thanks.

To every single person who helped make this Ghana Gift Bag project such a resounding triumph, we thank you.

More importantly, the children thank you!

Although we do not plan to undertake this again, we sincerely hope that those who were involved this time will continue to follow our work, and find ways to further help the people of Dekpor.

Thanks for making a difference!

**For more specific information, you can use the search feature on our Facebook page. We tried our best to thank each person/group who contributed to this most successful endeavour.

Albums

Hens - 2017

Hens 2017 Album Cover

We continue to improve our hen project and are looking forward to continued expansion. Sure, there are bumps along the way, such as those hens that are accidentally hit by motorbikes, or attacked by wild dogs, but the introduction of specific inoculations last summer has greatly improved the health of the poultry. By mid-February, some students were ready to start 'paying back' DSDO with two hens.

What does this mean? We can start up more and more students with two hens and feed. Add to the donors who allocate their funds toward our hen project, and we're hoping to double our reach within this year.

Shipping - 2017

Shipping - 2017 Album Cover

We now have a viable solution to 'how do we get this to Ghana' challenge, but it is still very costly to ship. It takes plenty of organizing, sorting, effort, and time in both Ontario and in Ghana, but we are grateful when goods are donated to us.

Wanted items include:

  • Teen-sized bicycles
  • Laptops
  • Sewing Machines
  • Trumpets
  • Trombones

Sometimes we do accept other items, but be sure to check with Carol first and to have funding in place to cover the cost of shipping. Contact carol@dekporschool.org before you get started.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who have given--we LOVE sharing the photos!

Check out the photos to see what has arrived in Dekpor in 2017!

Albums

JHS Texts & Study Hall - 2017

JHS Texts & Study Hall - 2017 Album Cover

January 2017

During the holiday season we received several unallocated donations which allowed us to discuss what would make the most impact. Last year we piloted Junior High School (JHS) texts by purchasing a set of math books. It was a resounding two thumbs up, and so we've been waiting and hoping to be able to purchase sets of books for all the other curriculum areas! Thanks to a long list of generous supporters, we have 240 new texts! These are used by all students in JHS 1, 2, and 3 and with our 'Study Hall' hours being so wonderfully attended, we are feeling confident that having these resources will greatly benefit our oldest Dekpor Basic School's students!

What is Study Hall? Every Monday - Thursday from 7 - 8:30 pm, and Sunday afternoon for three hours, we are opening up the library to JHS and secondary school students...and it's been an astounding success! There are between 70 - 90 students who show up each time! The students finally have a place WITH LIGHT to gather to work on school assignments. Let that sink in. Dekpor experiences 12 hours of dark per day. It's impossible to study in the pitch black. We're extremely grateful to have this amazing space to be able to give the students an area to gather!

Thank you to all of the people who made the purchase of so many text books possible!

Teacher Furniture for New Block - 2017

Teacher Furniture for New Block - 2017 Album Cover

January 2017

We are very grateful to Busch Systems for the donation that allowed us to purchase 6 chairs, 6 desks, and have 6 cabinets made!

Last summer we built a six-room block of classrooms, and we didn't have any teacher furniture. Problem solved!

Linda and Ab had to travel a great distance to Kumasi to purchase the chairs and desks. Patrick, our local carpenter, made the cabinets. The teachers are absolutely grateful!

Thank you, Busch Systems of Barrie, for your continued support!

Helping Hungry Students - Rotary District 7010 - 2017

Helping Hungry Students - Rotary District 7010 - 2017 Album Cover

Cool things happen!

The Rotary District 7010 Conference took place the late October 2016...and they did a Kids Against Hunger Canada food pack. That means Rotary did some heavy duty fundraising, and then put a few hours of teamwork into assembling the packages. We received 24 boxes (that's a day's worth of nutrition for 5184 people) because Mike Selva, someone we've never met, was willing to drive from the conference at Rousseau to Richmond Hill with the boxes in his truck and meet Carol at the shipper the next morning!

Linda and Abraham were able to distribute the food late January 2017. It was given to the most needy students enrolled at Dekpor Basic School. 138 students and 6 adults received 6 bags each. What a wonderful gift!

A huge thanks to all Rotary Club members who assisted with the food packing event: your time, effort, and fundraising are very much appreciated! Thanks to Kids Against Hunger Canada for choosing to support our work again! Thanks to Mike Selva for the transportation!

Team work! We're grateful!

February School Luncheon - 2017

February School Luncheon - 2017 Album Cover

February 2, 2017

With a big thanks to Kim Nelson, the students and staff at Dekpor Basic School started the new year with a celebration!

Here in Ontario, Kim made tribute donations in honour of Claire, Grace, Patricia and Evelyn, so that the entire school body in Dekpor could benefit! Seven local women were hired to prepare kenke for the school luncheon. Kenke is a local delicacy: fermented maise dough balls with fish and hot pepper sauce. It takes quite a while to make, so it is a genuine treat!

This is the sixth luncheon that we've held and it was met with great excitement and anticipation. The children and teachers are so grateful to enjoy a special meal. Thanks, Kim, for giving your mom, daughters and Auntie Ev such an amazing gift!

Bicycles - 2017

Bicycles - 2017 Album Cover

Bicycles donated in the Greater Toronto Area are making a tremendous difference in the lives of our Dekpor students!

Imagine spending 3 hours a day just walking to and from school! That is a reality for some Dekpor students. There is very little 'spare time' in a day for any Dekpor resident. Chores begin at 5 a.m. when it's still dark, and between school, household chores, and farming, there aren't many daylight hours for anything else. With a bicycle, students can get to both school and their farm land faster. It helps immeasurably.

Bikes are changing lives and we are so grateful to those of you who have given us one. If you have a teen / adult-sized bicycle in good working condition, please contact Carol.

A warm thank you to every single person who has donated a bike! Keep spreading the word!

Farming Tools for Women - 2017

Farming Tools for Women - 2017 Album Cover

We were very fortunate to have had many people make donations during the holiday season and they left it up to us to decide how to spend. One thing stood out to us-- find a way to specifically help women. The statistics are there to back this up: help a woman, she in turn helps her entire family.

Linda and Abraham went to a tool maker in Togo to have cutlasses and hoes designed for women (they are slightly smaller and easier for women to manipulate). We wanted to get the best we could!

The vast majority of Dekpor residents are subsistence farmers, struggling to grow enough crops to feed their family. Female-only households are the poorest of the poor. The truth is, life is particularly difficult for any woman in Dekpor, never mind for the ones who are forced to survive on their own, looking after several children, too. Helping a woman helps all of the children she looks after also.

Female representatives from each of the villages: Dekpor Yia, Dekpor Dome, and Dekpor Horme, were the ones to choose the recipients of the farming tools, selecting women from female-only households. 102 women have benefited from this wonderful gift! We already KNOW that this is something we will do again! To say they were thrilled is an understatement--don't let the lack of smiles in the photos fool you. Most have never had their photo taken and don't quite understand how a camera works. The women are so incredibly grateful!

Linda's words:

These women have no income other than farming. One old lady showed me her old cutlass--I have no idea how she was using it at all. With no tools or very poor tools, subsistence farmers really don't stand a chance of surviving, of providing enough food for their families. Sometimes they grow enough to trade for fish (one of the only sources of protein in their diet), or to sell to get enough money to pay for their children's school fees or pencils. Many women are left with children that aren't theirs, and they do their best to look after them.

Thank you to the 17 people who contributed to this and the purchase of the JHS text books (link). This is one meaningful purchase!

Rain Harvesting System #5 - 2017

Rain Harvesting System #5 - 2017 Album Cover

January - March 2017

This is our fifth and final rain harvesting system at the school compound. There are a couple of challenges in Dekpor: there isn't enough water at the school campus and erosion is a problem. How do we deal with that? Build another reservoir! We are using the roof of our newly-built block of six classrooms this time. Cylindrical in shape, the reservoir is more than 5 m (about 16 feet) deep and 5 m in diameter.

Building a reservoir is heavy, hard work. There are no backhoes to dig the hole. This venture is done with cooperation between DSDO and the townspeople. Each village plans a day of communal labour in which they are responsible for digging at least 4 ft down. This time, our older students also put in some hours of 'Citizenship practical' time, and dug a section themselves, and they also moved the soil from the reservoir site to the foundations of our future kindergarten rooms.

Then we hire a professional to make the bricks/blocks, others to build the reservoir. We have a carpenter who builds the roof of the reservoir, and a worker who specializes in gutters who installs the final piece of the whole system!

Many, many hours and many people help make a water harvesting system like this possible. We'd like to thank all the people of Dekpor Dome, Dekpor Yia, and Dekpor Horme who volunteered their time.

All of this was made possible due to a generous donation by Busch Systems! We are so grateful for their continued support!

Accomplishments - 2016

  • Two additional 10 seater town toilet facilities completed with rain harvesting systems and hand washing stations (Dekpor Yia #2, Dekpor Horme)
  • Ran water pipes to the health clinic, built another 25’ water tower, and are midway through our large scale water distribution project which includes 7 standpipes and an upgraded pump
  • Integral part of the towns’ Water and Sanitation Committees
  • Built 6 new classrooms for the school
  • Upgraded and painted 7 additional classrooms
  • Built benches and bookshelves for the library, and tables and benches for the computer lab
  • Built 2 additional hand washing stations and 2 drinking water stations at the school
  • Had more bookshelf covers made for the library
  • Bicycle rack designed and built for the school
  • Continued landscaping and planting trees on school campus
  • Cleaned out the school toilets
  • Repainted inside all the cubicles
  • Completed our 4th rain harvesting system at the school
  • Security system installed in the library and computer lab
  • 52 one-on-one elementary school student sponsorships
  • 10 high school sponsorships
  • 2 apprentice sponsorships completed in the fall
  • 1 high school graduate supported as he transitions to the work force
  • Financed 3 business start-ups
  • Hired 4 staff to run the library, computer lab, and tutor
  • 125 students on our food programme
  • Hosted 3 school-wide luncheons for students and staff
  • 3-week vacation school--11 teachers, 6 outreach volunteers, >300 students
  • Hosted international teacher volunteers throughout the year
  • Emergency medical fund and medical supplies available
  • National Health Insurance for all enrolled Dekpor Basic School students
  • 22 adults provided with national health insurance
  • Improved our hen program, over 60 children raising chickens and eggs for food
  • Multiple shoe and clothing drives held
  • Collected, shipped, and distributed bicycles, shoes, backpacks, eye glasses, laptops, and clothing, soccer uniforms, trophies, and balls from Canada
  • Distributed 30 solar lights and 30 boxes of food
  • Purchased many tools including a complete bicycle maintenance and repair kit
  • Purchased teacher and student supplies
  • Purchased African-authored books for the library
  • Purchased student texts, resource books, and exams
  • Information sessions for students and parents held in the library
  • Ongoing advising and counselling
  • $18, 185 raised at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
  • 786 Ghana Gift Bags prepared in Ontario and shipped in December
  • Speaking engagements in Ontario schools and Rotary Clubs

Step by Step – 2016

Step by Step 2016 Album Cover

Every year we take on a lot of small projects, and although they aren't usually big ticket items, all are important improvements to help in Dekpor.

January

  • The teachers' resource room (a small room off the main library) had books piled high on a table, but it wasn't conducive to having resources readily accessible. Thanks to a donation by Dianne and Ken, we built a large bookshelf!
  • It's really dusty on the school grounds and our library books need to be protected or else they get destroyed. We hired our young ladies who did the training at NEWIG to make batik shelf covers.
  • Last year we built a large thatched roof outdoor shelter that serves as three classrooms. Every year, repairs are necessary because of weather damage, so we made sure that we are keeping things maintained.

Government Block Upgrades - 2016

Government Block Upgrades 2016 Album Cover

Back in 2012, Abraham and Linda lobbied like crazy to get the government to choose Dekpor Basic School to be one of the elementary schools to receive a new building. They were successful! We were very grateful to have the additional six rooms, but at this stage of the game, they were in need of some work.

Thanks to a very generous donation from Susan and Tony Anderson this summer, we were able to take on MANY projects...and fixing up this block of classrooms was one of them. The poorly designed shutters were removed from the front (students kept banging their heads), and design blocks were put in the front, and secure bars in the back. The entire building, inside and out, was painted by our student painters.

Looking good!

Grateful!

Water Distribution Pipes, Phase 2 – 2016

Water Distribution Pipes, Phase 2 2016 Album Cover

No access to clean water. It's hard to imagine, right? With the completion of mechanizing boreholes, building a water tower and installing a reverse osmosis system, things changed in the fall of 2014, but the challenge of walking all the way there, and all the way home with a 50 pound container on one's head, several times a day, was still not an easy task. The truth is, it was too far for many people.

Phase 1 of our distribution pipes saw clean water reaching the clinic in Dekpor Dome earlier this year, and we are thrilled with the difference it's made for those who live close.

Phase 2 has us putting in pipes throughout the rest of Dekpor -- through the more western and southern parts of Dekpor Yia, and throughout Dekpor Horme -- we will end up with a total of 10 public & 1 private stand pipe locations in Dekpor!

  • Dekpor Yia - 5
  • Dekpor Dome - 3 (which includes the one exclusively for the clinic's use)
  • Dekpor Horme - 3

And we've built another water tower at the Dome junction!

What's this mean? Countless hours will be saved. Since it is the women and children who have to fetch water, the 3 - 6 hours saved every day will hopefully be spent on school work for the students and increased time available for farming or other productive work for the women. Not only that, but the physical strain will be greatly reduced. Many suffer from headaches, neck and back pain, and it is no wonder when carrying such a heavy load on one's head for an extended period of time.

Our two generous sponsors have chosen to remain anonymous, but they know just how much we appreciate their support and the difference this will make to all the women and children who have had to endure years of wear and tear on their bodies. We also thank the citizens of Dekpor who dug the trenches to bury the pipes.

This is what we were reluctant to even dream -- clean water running through all of Dekpor! BAM! Done!

Hens - 2016

Hens 2016 Album Cover

August 2016

There is great potential in this programme and we are continuing to meet the challenges that we've faced along the way. We now have the district vet (who works for the Department of Agriculture at the Ketu North District assembly offices) administering medication, advising and educating us.

Our fully-sponsored students are the ones piloting this project, and with the support of Dr. Foli Mensah, we are looking forward to success and expansion!

Our feathers were happily ruffled when the Lennie family decided to step up with a donation that has allowed us to improve our hen programme. We were able to buy new stock, high quality feed, medications, and pay for travel for the vet to make visits! We're clucking excited that we get to keep working on this most eggscellent project! Our gratitude to John and Janice is no yolking matter--we're ready to get crackin'!

'Summer' Vacation School - 2016

'Summer' Vacation School Album Cover

Vacation school is an annual favourite. Yes, it's true!!! This year we ran it for only three weeks (because students really do need a little break before the new school year starts) from 8 am to 12:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

We were bursting at the seams with 300 students signed up! DSDO paid the wages of 7 teachers to run the classes, an additional 4 teachers were hired using admission fees, and this year we had an added bonus because six amazing Ontario outreach teacher volunteers were there too! All of our fully sponsored and food sponsored children are automatically enrolled...and the balance were students who paid a nominal fee to attend.

There were secondary students who chose to volunteer to help the classes run more smoothly by distributing supplies and assisting in the computer room.

A very special thank you to Alvarine, Alan, Craig, Linda, Tom, and Ziya, who undoubtedly have left their mark and enriched the lives of the students, the teachers of Dekpor Basic School and the parents!

What a huge success!

School Toilet Clean Out - 2016

School Toilet Clean Out Album Cover

September 2016

It's a crappy job, but it has to be done!

The students' toilets at Dekpor Basic School are basically like out houses, but with two pits in each cubicle. They are called KVIP toilets (you can Google that!). In January of 2013, we did some major repairs and maintenance, and switched from one side of the pit to another in each cubicle, but at this point in time the pits needed to be emptied.

We chose a time between the end of vacation 'summer' school and the start up of the new school year when the students and staff were not on campus.

It's an important part of maintenance...and we're thankful to our special sponsors who made this possible.

Completing Classrooms 1, 2, & 3 - 2016

Completing Classrooms 1, 2, & 3 Album Cover

August and September 2016

We've just been able to do something completely unexpected!

Pavilion 1 was built in 2014. Pavilions 2 & 3 were just done in June of this year. A pavilion is a permanent structure, but lacks the security bars in the windows and shutters at the back of the building, the design block windows in the front, a door, and the walls being parged and painted inside and out.

Thanks to a very generous donation from our friends Susan and Tony, we are able to do many projects this summer. Turning the pavilions into classrooms is just one of them!

What is great about finishing a pavilion into a completed classroom is that the furniture can STAY in the room, the door can be locked, the few supplies that exist are kept untouched, the shutters can be closed to stop the torrential rains from coming into the rooms, and the general sense of pride of sitting in a brand new classroom.

The parents, students, teachers, and headmaster are all excited about the transformation of these three rooms!

Sending Goods to Ghana – 2016

Sending Goods to Ghana 2016 Album Cover

For years we've grappled with goods in Ontario and HOW to get them to Ghana without spending an arm and a leg. Thankfully, we found ourselves a reputable shipper who specializes in sending containers to Ghana. We piloted our first barrel in October of 2015 and it arrived safe and sound in December. Since that first guinea pig run, we've been sending all sorts of things! AYSC has supplied an astronomical number of items, including: soccer uniforms, t-shirts, back packs, water bottles, soccer balls, and trophies. We're thrilled to be receiving bicycles, laptops, clothing, shoes, soccer cleats, and even a trumpet! (Yes, we really DO want trumpets and trombones!) Sometimes items go on a flight with one of our travellers (Linda or any of our volunteers) and sometimes they take the two month trek in a shipping container-- but either way, once they arrive in Ghana, the fun begins! Take a look! From the solar lights to the Kids Against Hunger food, there are plenty of happy smiles from the people of Dekpor as they receive the gifts from Ontario!

Albums

Year End Celebration Lunch - July 2016

Year End Celebration Lunch Album Cover

July 2016

Karen Burke has done it for the third time! That's right, Karen has been responsible for 3 of the 5 special luncheons that have been held at Dekpor Basic School. All of the students and staff are thrilled to have the chance to eat a delicious meal of kenke. (It's a local delicacy that takes quite a long time to prepare. It's basically fermented maise dough balls with fish and hot pepper sauce.)

Linda and Abraham have managed to come up with a way to organize this so the distribution of food to all 800 students goes relatively quickly and smoothly.

Everyone is grateful for the opportunity for fellowship and food!

What a lovely way to celebrate the end of the school year...with full tummies and smiles of gratitude.

Short Video Clips

Classrooms 4, 5, & 6 - 2016

Classrooms 4, 5, & 6 Album Cover

September 2016

Due to our largest donation ever, we found ourselves in the wonderful position of being able to do more than expected this summer! What's that mean? Well, we received enough to build the last three classrooms of our latest six classroom block, and instead of just leaving them at 'pavilion' stage, we are finishing them complete with design block windows on the front, security bars and shutters on the back, doors, and with walls fully parged and painted. What's even better? We are able to finish Pavilions 1,2 & 3 to the same extent so now they, too, can be considered 'classrooms'.

At Dekpor Basic School, many rooms have 60 - 140 students crammed into them...and these are classrooms that were intended for groups of 30. It is not conducive to productive learning when there are too many children. What an amazing difference this will make being able to utilize three more classrooms!

We are so very grateful to Susan and Tony who have made this possible! Your generosity is unparalleled!

National Health Card Renewals - 2016

National Health Card Renewals Album Cover

It takes a whole lot of trips and a crazy amount of time and patience to get 800 students to and from (some several times) to Agorve or Dzodze to get their health cards renewed. But--Linda and Abraham get it done!

The students of Dekpor Basic School have been very fortunate since the opening of the local clinic in 2014, because Busch Systems has paid for health cards for all of the students who are not fully sponsored and not on our food programme.

As much as parents know it is wise to sign up, they simply can not afford to do it for themselves nor their children. Now understand, we're talking close to 700 students who were helped by Busch Systems in 2014 and 2015. And 2016 was to be no different. We again received a generous donation to cover the fees--but in April we got heart breaking news.

Out of the blue, National Health Insurance fees increased by five times. As Linda and Carol were struggling with HOW to decide which students would be covered and which 480 would not, Craig Busch wiped our worries away. Busch Systems stepped in with an additional huge donation to ensure every student at Dekpor Basic is covered again this year!!! Unreal!

We simply are blown away by the sheer generosity and compassion of Craig and the incredible team of people at Busch Systems. Check them out...it's a company with great products and lots of heart! 

National Health Insurance allows students to be seen by health professionals at our local clinic or at the closest hospital. We've had countless children treated for malaria--their lives saved--all because they have this precious card.

Saving lives. We're grateful!

Rain Harvesting System - 2016

Rain Harvesting System Album Cover

Erosion at the school campus is a real challenge. Not having enough water to service all of our students is also a problem. How do we solve both? Build a rain harvesting system. Our newly extended library has quite the roof and we're now taking advantage of it to collect all the rain that hits it! How does it work? Rain runs down the roof, into gutters, through a downspout into a huge water reservoir that is mainly built underground. The diameter is about 15 feet across...and it's about 15 feet deep! That's a lot of water!

Building a reservoir is incredibly hard, back-breaking work. Just take a look at the album and see for yourself. There are no modern tools or machinery. Communal labour helps with the digging. Students also do their part, moving the dirt away from the work site.

We are so grateful to our amazing donors for making this rain harvesting system possible: Richmond Rose Public School in Richmond Hill, Aurora Preparatory Academy in Aurora, and Brigitte Baumgartner of Austria. A lot of different fundraising activities made this possible.

Thank you for your wonderful support!

Library Benches - 2016

Library Benches Album Cover

June 28, 2016-- Linda and Abraham went to Weta Secondary School to pick up the result of student work. With funds from our Austrian friends, Racketlon Federation Austria, Edi Schmickl, Dr. Conny Schmickl and friends and family, we contracted out a little carpentry job.

Construction and design students in the technical section of the secondary school find that there are limited funds for materials to do practicals. The teacher and the students were very happy to be able to do some real hands on work! The result? 20 beautiful benches to be used in our library extension/ meeting room! This was a win - win situation for sure!

Our local Dekpor Basic School students painted the benches. Again, they are learning a skill that, without DSDO, they wouldn't otherwise have.

Many thanks to our generous donors as well as to the students and staff of Weta Secondary Technical School!

Tools - 2016

Tools Album Cover

Ok, so imagine trying to fix something or make something...but you have no tools. A bit difficult, right?

Well, that has been DSDO's situation and we've decided to start changing that.

One of our goals is to train someone to fix bicycles IN Dekpor. Right now, Abraham drives to Dzodze and finds a man who is able to tune up the bikes. (At least we're now going to try to get the initial tune ups done in Canada first.) And goodness knows, there are plenty of other things that could be fixed if we had the tools.

We purchased 4 tool kits from Canadian Tire (screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and sockets). An extremely generous donation from Jim Tyler has put us in the amazing position of now owning a totally brand new stocked bicycle repair and maintenance kit! Yay Jim!!! We've also had some tools donated by Jim Sheardown and we're happy to expand our collection.

We're just going to keep searching for deals and accepting donations...so if you have something to contribute, let us know!

Started June 2016

Pavilions 2 & 3 - 2016

Pavilions 2 & 3 Album Cover

We are beyond thrilled that Pavilions #2 & 3 are getting built at the same time and will be functional before the beginning of the 2016 - 2017 school year! Our contractors worked at an amazing pace!

We received a very generous, unallocated donation this spring from a supporter who prefers to remain anonymous, so it was an easy decision to build more areas for our students! Overcrowding is still a huge challenge. Our goal is to have a total of six rooms in a row, and now we're halfway there!

Namaste, my friend. We are so grateful!

LuminAID Lights - 2016

LuminAID Lights Album Cover

Electricity made its way to Dekpor in 2011. But, many people in Dekpor do not have their house wired, or if they do, it could be that they tried having electricity and then discovered the bills were too expensive. And if someone DOES actually have electricity, usually that means one electrical socket and one bare light bulb hanging from the roof.

There aren't street lights. Dekpor is pretty close to the equator, so that means there are about 12 hours of dark/day.

Imagine the challenge our students face: they go to school, have DSDO-sponsored tutoring after school hours, head home or to the farming plot to help with chores, have their dinner...and then it's dark! HOW can they possibly do homework?

We decided to try piloting LuminAID lights. They were relatively inexpensive, they were easy to pack into Linda's luggage, they use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and can handle hundreds of recharge cycles, and are designed to last many years of continued use.

On June 26, 2016, the Assemblyman and his committee joined Linda and Abraham as they distributed lights to those he deemed most in need. To say these wonderful gifts lit up many a face would be an understatement! 30 lucky families now are thrilled to have light!

A big thank you to our donors who made this possible: EveLyn, Chris, Nancy, and Danielle and another thank you to Jim and Irene Sheardown for getting them to Ontario!

Helping Hungry Students - 2016

Helping Hungry Students Album Cover

Now THIS is cool!

To start things rolling, the Rotary Club of Scarborough (with a special shout out to Gerard Baribeau) and Joseph Brant Public School (Mrs. My-Linh Hang-Coleman leading the way) both had done an impressive amount of fundraising -- over $6400! (22% by JBPS and the rest by RCoS) With that money, they chose to host a food packing event, facilitated by Kids Against Hunger Canada. We were so thrilled to be one of the three chosen charities!

April 16, 2016 was an exciting day! What a sight to get to witness and participate in such an organized, kind display of helping others. Many Rotary Club of Scarborough members, Joseph Brant Public School students, and community members volunteered at the food packing event and put in a long day. The three assembly lines were running like clockwork, and in the end, 99 boxes of food were packaged.

We received 30 of those boxes. In each box is 36 bags of food. In each bag is a day's worth of nutrition (which is vitamin-fortified) for six people. Do the math...that is 6480 meals!

Carol took the boxes from the Guildwood Presbyterian Community Church directly to our shipper.

The Assemblyman and his committee came up with a food distribution plan and on June 26th, Linda, Abraham and the crew set out to give it to the most needy families. They traveled by van, by motorbike and by foot. The recipients are all people who struggle on a daily basis to secure enough food for the day. Malnourishment is a way of life. But for now? Such smiles! So grateful!

We are deeply thankful to everyone who made this gift of food possible to the families of Dekpor.

Bicycles - 2016

Bicycles - 2016 Album Cover

Bicycles are making an astounding difference for many students! We started this initiative by purchasing bikes in Ghana, but then discovered shipping donated bicycles from Ontario was a much better solution (cheaper and better quality).

A bike allows a Dekpor student an efficient mode of transportation to get to their high school in Weta. It's about a 25 minute ride, one way, so walking takes at least three times longer than that! There is NO secondary school in Dekpor--Weta is the closest.

All of our sponsored high school students were the first to receive a bicycle last fall, when we purchased bikes in Ghana. We have started working our way down the line in order of grade level--and will continue to do so. We also decided that it was an important piece of equipment for Doris and Betha to sell their soap around town, and for Philip to start up his farming operation.

Just look at the smiles...

Bikes from Ontario are making a difference! A huge thanks to all of our donors. If you have a teen-sized bicycle in good working condition, contact Carol.

Special Luncheon - April 1, 2016

Special Luncheon - April 1, 2016 Album Cover

In November 2015, the lovely Becky and Madi decided to celebrate their 13th birthday and do something WOW. Instead of birthday gifts for themselves, they asked their party invitees to make a cash donation to split equally between their grade 8 graduation and Dekpor School Development Organisation.

An amazing $862.50 came to DSDO! The twins carefully allocated the funds, and chose to buy some goods AND to host a celebration from afar!

On April 1st, 2016, 800 students and staff from Dekpor Basic School were delighted with the special luncheon!

A huge thank you to Madi and Becky, their parents Sabrina and Rob, the members of their ringette team, and students from both Highview Public School and Mount Albert Public School. Enjoy looking at these photos. ..you made 800 students and the hard working teachers very, very happy today!

Giving and compassion at its best!

Thanks, everyone!

Water Distribution Pipes, Phase 1 – 2016

Water Distribution Pipes, Phase 1 2016 Album Cover

Back in 2014, we were thrilled to have completed our biggest dream at the time: mechanizing two boreholes, building a water tower, and installing a reverse osmosis system. It is wonderful to have CLEAN water, yet the challenge remained--not everyone lives close by. Many of the containers used to hold water weigh upwards of 50 pounds (20 kg) when full and it is painful for the women and children to walk long distances with this weight on their heads.

Solution?

Distribution pipes.

For Phase 1, distribution pipes were run from the water tower through the main stretch of Dekpor Yia to the health clinic in Dekpor Dome! There are now standpipes at the community centre in Yia, the Dome junction, and the clinic. There were also 5 households that paid to have a standpipe put in at their family compound.

This wonderful undertaking was made possible by two generous Barrie groups: Busch Systems and Kempenfelt Rotary. We are extremely grateful!

Accomplishments - 2015

  • Two 10-seater town toilet facilities completed with rain harvesting systems and hand washing stations (Dekpor Yia #1, Dekpor Dome)
  • Renovation started of Dekpor Horme Town Toilet Facility #1
  • Started 3rd town toilet facility (Dekpor Yia Town Toilet Facility #2)
  • Assisted in the set up and organization of 3 town Water and Sanitation Committees
  • 60' extension to library—the space to be used during school hours by students, and after school hours for tutoring, town educational sessions, meetings, etc.
  • Furniture for library constructed and purchased
  • 47 Elementary students sponsored
  • 7 High school students sponsored and 2 graduates sponsored while transitioning to work force
  • 3 Apprentices sponsored
  • 3 Students sponsored to attend 3 months of intensive career training
  • 121 Students on the food programme
  • Vacation School for all fully sponsored and food programme students
  • 6 DSDO teachers hired for 5 weeks to run vacation school
  • 4 Staff members sponsored for the 2015 – 2016 school year to run the library and provide after-school tutoring
  • Hosted international teacher volunteers at the school
  • Medical supplies and an emergency fund available
  • Professional resurfacing of school volleyball court
  • National Health Insurance for all enrolled students (more than 800) at the school
  • Soccer uniforms delivered several times
  • Books added to the library
  • Shoe drives in Ontario --hundreds of pairs distributed
  • Business start-up funding for 4 graduated students
  • Purchased teacher and student supplies, Ghanaian books, soccer balls, volleyballs
  • Purchased an assortment of tools for each town for communal labour
  • Two hens and start up food given to all sponsored children
  • Bookends made for library use
  • 15 Laptop covers made
  • Spare equipment purchased for the upkeep of DSDO constructed boreholes, water tower and reverse osmosis system
  • Savings fund started for distribution pipe from the water tower to the clinic
  • Town information sessions on use of toilets and hand washing
  • Guidance counsellor held a session for upper grades about wise choices, careers, high school
  • Shipped goods from Ontario to Ghana twice (books, glasses, bikes, clothing, water bottles and other needed items)
  • Continue to deliver extra luggage full of collected goods, every time someone leaves Ontario to visit Ghana (shoes, summer clothes, soccer goods, etc)
  • $15,872 raised at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
  • Several speaking engagements in Ontario at schools and Rotary Clubs

We get things done! Thanks for your ongoing support!

Watch our video: Dekpor School Development Organisation's 2015 Accomplishments

Step by Step – 2015

Step by Step 2015 Album Cover

January

Linda took more soccer clothes with her as she left Ontario and returned to Ghana. We continue to use the donations from AYSC as incentive prizes at Dekpor Basic School, as a thank you for helping with odd jobs, and most importantly, to give to those who are in great need of clothing. We also had a donation of lanyards which are coming in handy for the student cards that the kids are expected to carry on them!

February

We made some purchases with allocated donations...in fact these were Christmas 2014 and birthday tribute presents! The Aurora Book Club donated so that we could purchase Ghanaian-written books for our library. Erica's successful Indiegogo birthday campaign saw $425 allocated to student and teacher supplies. And Kim also made generous Christmas gift donations to allocate $400 to student supplies! Jean's birthday gift also allowed us to buy student supplies! Yahoo!

March

Ken Glance, our most dedicated volunteer teacher, lugged over 100 lbs of shoes that were collected at Highview Public School. The children are so grateful to be able to own a pair of shoes!

April

We had some covers made for our laptops, to help keep out the dust.

May

More goods from Ontario made it to Dekpor. It was mainly shoes from Highview Public School in Aurora.

July

We had our first guest speaker come. More than 240 of our grade 5 to junior high school 3 students gathered in the courtyard to listen to Madam Philipine, a former teacher and the present Ketu North District guidance and counselling officer. It was AWESOME!!! She expressed the need to study, to discover one’s own inner drive, the value of technical, vocational and apprenticeship training, and making realistic plans for the future. This is precisely what our Dekpor students need to know. Many are resigned to thinking that the most they will ever be able to do is farm...and then there are others with very unrealistic hopes. We want our kids to do their best, finish to the end of JHS3 at Dekpor Basic, and then make wise choices that will allow them to start breaking the cycle of poverty. We are so thankful to Madam Philipine for her visit. She has given valuable information for the students to consider!

Also in July, we resurfaced the volleyball court. It is a prized focal point of the school and the town...and so we want to keep it in tip top shape!

August

The Headmaster of Weta Secondary School came and talked to our oldest students, giving them an idea of what to expect if they somehow find themselves able to continue their education. Usually lack of finances dictates no. Also in August we made some bookends for the library. A small project, but it helps keep things looking neater.

October

Carol and Dani visited AYSC in Aurora and received an enormous amount of donated jerseys, shorts, socks and used soccer balls! A van full! We are so grateful for the ongoing support of the Aurora Youth Soccer Club!

December

We shipped our first barrel of goods (see the photos) in the fall and it arrived in December, and we sent another shipment late November and it is due to arrive early next year. We also had one of our former volunteers, Kelly, take an extra suitcase of ‘things’ for us at Christmastime too. West Jet donated shirts, and Linda and Ab took them to Weta Secondary School where the choir and band were excited to receive them!

We had several volunteers sell bracelets this year—so a big thank you goes out to Becky ($297), John and Pippa ($290), Louise ($185) and David ($312).

Throughout the entire year, our staff does after school tutoring. It is a great way for students to get extra help.

Every little bit makes a difference!

Designated Gifts – December 2015

Designated Gifts, December 2015 Album Cover

Our new catalogue is a hit! We are thrilled that people are choosing items that suit the personalities of the recipients!

Take a look at some of the things that have been bought.

A Special Day at Dekpor Basic – December 16, 2015

A Special Day at Dekpor Basic 2015 Album Cover

December 16th was a BIG day at Dekpor Basic School. While the entire student body and staff were gathered for a luncheon funded by Karen Burke, DSDO had some extra surprises in store. And...as Linda describes it, both students and teachers alike were jumping with joy!

On a daily basis, there are many children who go to school without a lunch. To be able to share food with all of their school mates is a genuine treat! The teachers were just as happy as the children to be able to partake in a celebratory meal, eating delicious kenke. It is a local specialty, and requires quite a bit of time to make. As a result, there are plenty who rarely ever get to eat it. We are very grateful to Karen who has made yet another school luncheon possible.

Back in Ontario, Becky and Madi's 13th birthday party raised a lot of money for DSDO. The twins carefully allocated their funds and allowed us to purchase a pencil (for kingergarten to grade 3) or pen for every student in the school. They also are responsible for half of the notebooks handed out to the students. Annnnd they allocated funds to the 5 brand new, good quality soccer balls and a sport whistle! Madi and Becky sure know how to make a lot of people happy to celebrate their birthday!

Kim made a donation for her mom, in honour of her dad, and we got the other 300 notebooks needed so that every student in the school has one. Yippee! Never before has every student been given a pencil and notebook.

But, that's not all!

Dagmara and Ezra made a donation on behalf of Mr. Ciarello and Mrs. Murja, Andrea and Laura made a donation for Carol, and Heather gave Craig a gift of DSDO too... The teacher table held packs of pens, whiteboard markers, 3 power bars for the computer lab, and notebooks.

We are so very thankful for these special donations. Tribute giving is awesome!

Comissioning 3 Projects – 2015

Comissioning 3 Projects 2015 Album Cover

September 25, 2015, hundreds gathered in Dekpor for the official commissioning of not one, but three big projects! There was a lot of excitement as speakers thanked the hard work of those involved and explained the importance of each project. The library extension is the only indoor area in Dekpor that can hold a large crowd and we're thrilled to be using it during the school days for student-use and after hours for guest speakers, meetings and learning sessions. Dekpor Dome Town Toilet facility is complete with its own rain harvesting system and hand-washing stations. Dekpor Yia's Town Toilet facility was initiated by the town, but the completion was overseen and funded by DSDO.

The town members were encouraged to use the toilet facilities consistently to help the entire town to decrease communicable diseases and improve general hygiene and sanitation.

Linda and Abraham presented each town with tools to be used for communal labour. They also presented the town volleyball team with a new ball as a thank you.

After the formal commissioning, the invited dignitaries from the district government toured all three sites and had an opportunity to ask questions. They were all impressed with the work that Dekpor School Development Organisation accomplished.

A wonderful day to celebrate amazing achievements!

Dekpor Horme Town Toilet #1 Renovations – 2016

Dekpor Horme Town Toilet #1 Renovations 2016 Album Cover

This is another DSDO major renovation project!

There was a town toilet facility built in Dekpor Horme, looong before Linda arrived. Problem? It had never been maintained. Never.

December 2015 we decided that we could forge ahead with the renovations. Step one was to clean out the old vaults.

To bring it in line, quality-wise, with our other town toilet facilities we are converting the design so that a pumper truck will be able to remove the waste when necessary; replacing the roof and fascia; and adding a rain water harvesting system, hand washing stations, storage closet and a kiosk for the attendant.

Work started December 2015

Dekpor Yia Town Toilet #1 – 2015

Dekpor Yia Town Toilet (1) 2015 Album Cover

This project is a little different, in that Dekpor Yia had their town toilet 'in the works' when Linda first arrived. But what that really meant is they had chosen a location and were trying to save money, but work had not commenced. Over the years, only a tiny bit had been done. It was determined that they didn't have the resources or expertise to continue or complete the job. So in 2015, DSDO was asked to help with financing, and the management and supervision of the construction work. We are very grateful to Ben, who went above and beyond to make sure that the construction was completed properly.

Their plan is not the same as the one we designed for Dome. They relied heavily on communal labour, far more than usual, in order to complete the project. DSDO also wanted to make sure that it was managed properly and set up for success, so we have included a rain harvesting system, hand washing stations and an area for the attendant.

Dekpor Yia Town Toilet #2 – 2016

Dekpor Yia Town Toilet (2) 2016 Album Cover

We are thrilled that the Rotary Club of Aurora has financed this wonderful project! The townspeople of Yia are extremely excited that a second town toilet facility is being built. When you gotta go, no one wants to walk several kilometers, so this is the second of three facilities that Yia will have.

This is our design complete with: 10 cubicles, a rain harvesting system, hand washing stations, a storage closet and a kiosk for the attendant.

Started December 2015

Albums

Summer Vacation School – 2015

Summer Vacation School 2015 Album Cover

Our fully-sponsored students and the children who are part of the food programme spend 5 weeks after regular classes end in our 'vacation school'. We hired 6 teachers again this year and they are focussing on math and literacy skills. This is a fantastic chance for the children to get some extra individual attention. Usually class sizes are rather huge, but at summer school they are capped at 20. The kids truly enjoy this chance to improve their skills...and it happens because of our generous sponsors!

Thank you!

Library Extension – 2015

Library Extension 2015 Album Cover

Wow, are we ever excited about the potential of this project!

We are building a rather substantial 60 foot/18 metre extension to our existing library. This addition will allow us to not only house more books and have more classroom space, but our biggest goal is to continue educational opportunities with all Dekpor residents—students and adults. We want to use the library to hold meetings, information sessions, workshops and a variety of experiences that will benefit everyone. Right now there is no space in the village where large groups can meet inside after the sun goes down. Being a farming community, the daylight time is precious for farmers to attend to their crops. At night, the mosquitoes are out, there is no large lit space, and rainy seasons don’t allow for outdoor meetings either!

We have so many areas in which we want to further educate and inform people. We already have plans to have nurses, agricultural department representatives, inspirational speakers, and guidance counsellors come to share their knowledge. Cultural learning is also very important so that traditions can be passed from one generation to the next. There are countless topics that will make an impact: from hygiene to nutrition, crop rotation to immunizations. There are many experts who can share information to benefit the people of Dekpor. We are very excited about the opportunities to educate everyone!

This extension was initiated after a wonderfully generous donation was made by Joyce Wilson.

Subsequent donations from the Rotary Club of Aurora, Richmond Rose Public School, Kempenfelt Rotary Club and various unallocated donations from our 2015 supporters have made it possible for us to carry on this important project! Thank you to everyone for your support!

Soap-making Training – 2015

Soap-making Training 2015 Album Cover

Sanitation and hygiene. We are saving lives and we’ve figured out a great way to make the most of it! We're building our first block of town toilets (we need 5 in total); we're building town hand washing stations at the toilets. We need soap. Hmm, no one local makes soap. Linda and Abraham found out about NEWIG, a wonderful NGO that specializes in training and empowering women. We have three JHS graduates who, on July 1, 2015, made their way to Tefle. For $250 each, these young women will live away from home and enjoy the intensive 3 months of training… and then be able to return to Dekpor with the knowledge to make a living for herself and her family.

The training encompasses the following disciplines:

  1. Soap & Cosmetics Making
  2. Textiles
  3. Bead Works
  4. Entrepreneurship
  5. Leadership Skills
  6. Design Concept & Packaging
  7. Marketing & Customer Relations
  8. Gender Training
  9. Business Communications
  10. Hat Making
  11. Floral Arrangement

The training period is for 3 months with classes from Mondays to Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We are very thankful to our generous donors. We had one person step up to pay for the training of two of the girls, and a group of 4 people pooled their donations to enable us to send the third.

On July 1st, Linda and Abraham drove the girls to Tefle and got them settled in. As an added bonus, their moms and a few siblings were able to go to drop off the very excited young ladies and tour the grounds.

Dekpor Dome Town Toilet – 2015

Dekpor Dome Town Toilet 2015 Album Cover

Toilets. No one really wants to talk about a crappy topic...but they should!

Open defecation is a very real problem in Dekpor. People simply do not have any sort of toilet or outhouse facility to use. We are changing that! This is the first of five proposed town toilets and we are absolutely thrilled to be able to start this project! It's a big undertaking. It's really expensive! We had 2 anonymous donors step up and choose to fund this for us!

What is it? We're building a 10-seater facility. 5 cubicles on one side for women, 5 on the other side for men.

We're also building hand-washing stations.

There is also a rain harvesting system, so the water needed to keep the tank at the right level, and for the hand-washing stations is right there on site.

There will be an attendant at a kiosk. Yep, this is how it works. People pay to use the toilet/purchase their toilet paper. The funds gathered pay the wages of the attendant, the toilet paper, the upkeep and maintaining the toilet and pumping out the tank when necessary.

Before we open our doors for business, there will need to be some extensive education about the proper use of the toilets.

What a difference this will make!

Check out our video of the completed toilets.

The Hen Project – 2015

Hen Project 2015 Album Cover

This is 'eggscellent'!!!

There is a lot of excitement about our latest project! In May 2015, we chose 15 children who have the space and desire to give this a whirl! 11 of the students started with two hens, and four of them started with just one. It is a big responsibility for a child to build a hutch, feed their hens, keep track of them (they wander the town part of the day), and monitor the eggs and chicks.

The goal is for each family to have a supply of eggs, since sources of protein are scarce. And then, of course, when the time comes, they will have fresh poultry too.

We really hope this is a success, because we already have others asking if they too could give it a try! We are thankful to the donors who helped get this off the ground!

As part of our annual child sponsorship renewal, we have made purchasing two hens for their student an option.

National Health Card Renewals – 2015

National Health Card Renewals 2015 Album Cover

Thanks to Busch Systems, we are able to renew the National Health Insurance cards for all of our non-sponsored students at Dekpor Basic School! It is a huge undertaking to renew the cards. We had approximately 430 done the first day, and then 160 kindergarten students done the second day!

We need to wait until May for the rest to be updated.

With the town clinic up and running, having National Health Insurance is a huge gift!

Borehole - 2014

Borehole 2014 Album Cover

Our biggest dream has become reality!

Dealing with the challenge of providing Dekpor with clean water has been quite the task! Much research, time, and planning has gone into this huge, yet necessary project.

We tried drilling 3 times, hoping to find a new desirable location that would give enough good pure water, but no such luck.

We ended up being able to utilize 2 old borehole sites, mechanize and go from there.

The water requires a reverse osmosis system, which we’ve also supplied. Trenches were dug to bury pipes to bring the water from the boreholes to the water tower, and to take the run-off water away from the R/O unit.

This is a collaboration of efforts and donations from literally all over! We are very proud of this amazing accomplishment.

Next steps include piping water to various distribution sites.

Step by Step - 2014

Step by Step 2014 Album Cover

We are continuously taking on projects: some are big, some small… but all make a difference.

  • We had cages built for our school lights.
  • In January, we built three additional hand washing stations for the school. We are thrilled that the compliance is so high!
  • On April 4, 2014 we held a DSDO free lunch at the school. It was a huge success! Seven local women prepared meals for 780 students! On the menu was Kenke (a dough ball made from fermented maise) served with small fish and a hot pepper sauce. See our blog post Lunch on us for more info.
  • We bought a Sawyer water filter for use at Mr. Tay's family compound. Mr. Tay is our beloved librarian, who goes above and beyond to share his wisdom, and help implement school and DSDO initiatives. He lives close to the dammed lake in Dekpor Horme, and we want him modelling the use of the water filter, to purify the water, so others will take note.
  • July 16th we held our second school-wide lunch celebration. This time it was as a result of Tribute Giving for Karen Burke's birthday.
  • After Linda submitted a proposal a couple of years ago, the Standard Chartered Bank in Accra of came through with a donation of 100 desks! (October)
  • Soccer uniforms go from Aurora to Dekpor every time we have someone travelling. Soccer jerseys are the most prized possession!

Health Clinic - 2014

Health Clinic 2014 Album Cover

Now, located at a 15 minute walk from school, there is a clinic with three nurses. This is the first time that health care has ever been accessible for the residents of Dekpor!! The nurse practitioners dispense medicine for simple things like malaria, but refer patients to the hospital in Dzodze for more severe ailments. They treat injuries, minor infections, and do community work educating people about hygiene, child care, inoculation and a variety of other health-related topics.

Dekpor School Development Organisation provided a donation to pay for necessary furniture for the clinic so it could open. We purchased 3 desks, 6 chairs, and had shelving units and 2 benches made.

What a wonderful difference this will make for Dekpor!

Shoes - 2014

Shoes 2014 Album Cover

Shoes are important!

Shoes protect the feet from the obvious cuts and scrapes that can occur, but also: hook worms, strongyloidiasis, sand fleas, erysipelas, sepsis, callouses, and tetanus. And yet, most Dekpor Basic School students do not own a pair. Lucky children wear flip flops that are expected to last for years.

In the fall of 2014, we held a shoe drive. The Leadership Team encouraged Minesing Central Public School to collect over 200 lbs in just 4 days! Highview Public School's Eco Team lead the collection in Aurora and collected enough shoes to fill two large suitcases. Busch Systems of Barrie also collected 30 lbs of shoes for us.

The children and parents are so grateful! Thank you to every single person who donated a pair!

'Summer' Vacation School at Dekpor Basic - 2014

'Summer' Vacation School at Dekpor Basic 2014 Album Cover

All of our fully-sponsored students and also the children who are on the food programme attend 5 weeks of vacation school during August after the regular school year has ended. It is an opportunity for the kids to have a lower student: teacher ratio, and focus on math and literacy skills. The children are grateful for this extra opportunity to improve their skills!

We were able to hire 6 of our DSDO teachers to instruct the classes! A win-win situation!

Computer Lab – 2014

Computer Lab 2014 Album Cover

ICT is on the curriculum, and it's mighty tough to pass an exam when students had never even SEEN a computer! We introduced our first laptops to the school in February 2012, and decided to use one of the tiny storage rooms in the library as our makeshift computer lab. With only 7 laptops, we were able to cram them in and make do.

In the spring of 2012, the government finished building a 6-room block that included what they called a 'computer library'. This much-needed building was constructed due to Linda and Abraham lobbying like crazy to make it happen! It was 'completed' but there was no electricity put in, and it was not finished the way classrooms are here in Canada. We used it as a classroom until June 2014, at which point, Linda and Abraham donated what was needed to make the room functional as a computer lab, in order to accommodate the 18 computers we presently have.

The work included:

  • New wiring, using a new box different from the rest of the school
  • 8 new double outlet boxes
  • 2 new outside security lights
  • Secure bars on all windows
  • Extending the frames and installing louver glass and wire screen on windows
  • Repairing 5 shutters
  • 3 new tables built
  • 4 new benches built
  • Purchasing a large electrical stabilizer

As we acquire more laptops, we will need to expand our resources in the computer lab, but for now we are happy to have space and a functioning room! This is very exciting!

Note: We are always looking for donations of gently used laptops that are in great shape. If you are in Ontario, please contact Carol.

Pavilion Classroom – 2014

Pavilion Classroom Album Cover

Thanks to very generous donations from both Lucy Romyn and Timothy Romyn, friends from the UK, we have built our first pavilion classroom. What is it? Well, the photos really explain it.

It consists of the foundation, the floor, the pillars, the lintels, 2 end walls and then it is roofed. The other walls, doors and windows are not completely done. It doesn't have the top coat, and it isn't painted. Later, when more funds are available, we'll be able to complete it, but for now it will give a comfortable sheltered space from the sun and rain. It is the beginning of a permanent building. The truth is, we went a bit further than a typical pavilion room, because the gable ends are bricked all the way to the roof.

Eventually, we want to build an additional 5 pavilion rooms that will be in a row, in order to accommodate all the students who are enrolled at the school. One step at a time!

Completed June 2014

Desks and Chairs for Teachers - 2014

Desks and Chairs for Teachers Album Cover

Thanks to a generous donation from Racketlon Austria, Edi Schmickl, Conny Schmickl and family and friends, we are able to further boost the morale of our staff. Our teachers are thrilled to finally have a chair and desk to call their own! There were 6 desks at the school that we have had the carpenter repair, and we purchased 18 new desks and 31 chairs are being made. A big thank you to our Austrian friends!

Spring 2014

National Health Insurance Coverage for our Students – 2014

National Health Insurance Coverage for our Students Album Cover

We are extremely thrilled to announce that Busch Systems has made a life-saving donation that will enable us to register the balance of our Dekpor Basic School students on national health insurance! (Children who are sponsored and those on the food programme are already registered. Of the remaining, as long as they can provide their birth date, then they can be registered.) We held two sign up days in March 2014, and the third will take place later this school year.

There are now three nurses, (who are considered community health workers), at the clinic. They will be very involved with the school, giving hygiene and sanitation lessons, and from there we hope to branch out.

The clinic is about a 15 minute walk north of the school. Having medical care close by has NEVER been available to the people of Dekpor. Receiving any sort of health care, for the most part, has been completely out of reach for the majority. But now, eventually, it will become recognized that trained professionals can make a difference.

With the health card, our students are eligible for free malaria medication, basic antibiotics and de-worming medicine, which are the most needed drugs, and the visit is also covered by the insurance. They will also have free access to doctors at the hospital in Dzodze for more serious medical concerns.

Medical Kit and Emergency Fund – 2014

Medical Kit and Emergency Fund Album Cover

Thanks to a generous donation from Busch Systems, we now have a first aid kit, with some medical supplies and basic medicine, and an emergency fund to assist those who desperately need help.

Within the first couple of days that Linda returned to Dekpor with the supplies early in 2014, they were put in use. And, with a badly cut finger, one of our students needed a trip to the clinic.

It is a relief to have some way of helping those in need!

Whiteboards - 2014

Whiteboards Album Cover

Wahoo—whiteboards!

Our teachers have NEVER had a proper surface to share lessons and notes with the students. Think about JUST how LIMITING that is. They are already challenged by huge class sizes and no teaching materials… and then just to make it more of a struggle, they've had to use a makeshift solution—chalkboard paint applied to the rough handmade blocks. The paint and the chalk itself are both of poor quality. Since there are no lights in the classrooms, the writing on the "chalkboards" is really difficult to see. It's very frustrating.

Thanks to a donation by Busch Systems, we are upgrading! Two whiteboards are now in each class. It is much easier for teachers to write, for students to see, and it cuts down on the dust! Having "modern materials" also gives a much needed morale boost for both the instructors and learners alike.

March 2014

Outdoor Classrooms - 2014

Outdoor Classrooms 2014 Album Cover

We have lots of students, but a lack of classrooms. In fact, our reputation is getting around... the enrollment is up to 740 this year!

DSDO is responsible for hiring 9 of the Dekpor Basic School teachers this year (2013-14), bringing the total staff number to 25 (which includes our headmaster and librarian). To use the teachers most effectively, each one needs their own space for their class. Building 'outdoor classrooms' is a way to give shelter but keep costs way down.

The weather has challenged us. After experiencing two poor growing seasons in a row, finding the thatch for the roof proved to be far more difficult than usual, and so it has taken longer than projected to complete the rooms. In January, although not fully completed, we started putting them to use.

Linda’s words: "I actually quite like them! They have a cozy feeling."

What do we NEED??? 7 – 9 more standard classrooms.

Thatched rooms completed March 2014

Curriculum Kits - 2014

Curriculum Kits Album Cover

Our teachers do their best with precious little. Before, they had never had copies of the full curriculum… now they do. We are putting together subject-related kits so that there are some basic resources at the school. It's a small start, but at least now teachers can model and students can see. We know that children learn better by doing…but now they can watch a demonstration instead of relying on looking at photographs in a text book. Our goal is to continually build on these resources.

Imagine not owning a protractor, never having held one, yet being expected to know how to bisect angles. Now that there is a large scale protractor for the teachers to use, the students can watch the teacher modelling the method. Some will be able to come up to the board and try it also. It's a step in the right direction.

A big thank you to Busch Systems for getting the tech, science, math, music and phys ed kits started! The teachers are thrilled; the students are excited!

If you have something that could be used, be sure contact Carol. We gratefully accept donations!

Started February 2014

Teachers' Cabinets - 2014

Teachers' Cabinets 2014 Album Cover

It is hard to imagine teaching 80 or more students at a time, every day, with no assistance. Now to make matters worse, try doing that without teaching materials, supplies, furniture…

This year a priority has been to help give teachers some very basic supplies, but alas, they had NO WHERE close by to put them! Through a generous donation by Busch Systems, we have been able to build and paint 18 cabinets and equip them with locks. Our carpenters did the construction, the students assisted with the sanding and painting. We are able to make this part of their tech studies.

The teachers are so happy to finally have a place to put materials. Seems like a small thing… but it is huge when you’ve never had a space of your own before!

Completed – January 2014

Accomplishments - 2014

  • 31 Elementary students sponsored
  • 6 High school students sponsored
  • 3 Apprentices sponsored
  • 84 students on the food programme
  • 9 Staff members sponsored
  • Host teacher volunteers at the school
  • 2 Whole-school special luncheons for all students and staff
  • Landscaping school courtyard with shrubs, bushes, and flowers
  • 3 additional hand washing stations built
  • 2 filtered drinking water stations built and put into use
  • 18 locking cabinets for classrooms
  • Painted Junior High School and Administration buildings, inside and out
  • Curriculum kits for technology, math, phys ed, science, art, and music started
  • Medical supplies and an emergency fund made available
  • Professional volleyball court completed
  • Emergency repairs to administration building
  • National Health Insurance for all enrolled students (more than 700 children) at the school
  • 3 ‘outdoor’ thatched-roof classrooms built
  • 2 Whiteboards installed in every classroom
  • Water Reservoir # 3 completed
  • Soccer field completed
  • 31 Teacher chairs and 18 desks purchased, 3 desks repaired
  • 25 Semester at Sea Students visit Dekpor
  • Pavilion classroom built
  • Computer Lab upgraded for proper use
  • Vacation School for all sponsored and food programme students
  • Hired 6 DSDO teachers for 5 weeks to run vacation school
  • Health Clinic opened--we built and donated desks, chairs, benches and shelving
  • Soccer uniforms delivered several times this year
  • More books for the library
  • 22 Laptops donated
  • 100 Desks donated
  • Shoe Drives in Ontario & England, hundreds of pairs distributed
  • Designated donations to purchase teaching supplies, student supplies, Ghanaian books, soccer balls
  • Boreholes mechanized + RO unit working = Clean Water for Dekpor!

We get things done! Thanks for your ongoing support!

Accomplishments - 2013

  • 2nd water reservoir completed in January (funded by Sam Chapman P.S.)
  • School courtyard was graded to help with erosion during rainy seasons
  • Students’ and teachers’ KVIP toilets were renovated and painted, maintenance plan in place
  • Purchased huge instructional posters for each classroom
  • 60 new junior high school desks built and painted
  • 40 tables and 40 benches built and painted for our kindergarten/primary classes
  • 1000+ aquabottles donated for our filtered water project
  • 100s of pounds of school supplies, books and soccer uniforms have made it from Ontario to Dekpor
  • 2 groups of Semester at Sea students and various other volunteers were hosted
  • 4 Ontario teachers volunteered and taught classes at Dekpor Basic
  • Clean Hands Project launched in May, included extensive education & 4 hand washing stations built
  • Purchased 6 new outdoor garbage cans & built 2 ladders for the school
  • 62 children on our food programme
  • 21 elementary, 5 high school and 3 seamstress apprentices being sponsored
  • 62 students receiving National Health Insurance
  • 9 teachers sponsored by DSDO for the 2013-14 school year
  • Adult literacy classes (since 2010)
  • ‘Summer’ vacation school offered for all sponsored and food program students (August)
  • Additional bookshelves for the library were built and painted
  • 6 additional laptops at the school
  • Started building 4 new ‘outdoor’ thatched roof classrooms
  • Worked on soccer field, soccer goal posts built
  • Volleyball court started
  • Started painting the administration and junior high school buildings, inside and out
  • 3rd reservoir started, hole dug in December (funded by Busch Systems, BDO and Barriston Law)
  • Set up 2 filtered water stations ready to commence in January (funded by Busch Systems, BDO and Barriston Law)

Accomplishments - 2012

  • 15 elementary students sponsored
  • 6 high school students sponsored
  • 8 teachers sponsored
  • 57 children on the food programme
  • 56 children with health insurance
  • Repaired the floors and repainted the primary block
  • Installed fans, lights and a finished ceiling in the library
  • Started a small computer lab
  • Built the Highview P.S. water reservoir
  • Held ‘summer’ school for 30 students
  • Adult literacy classes held year round
  • Hosted many volunteers
  • Lobbied the government and got a 6-room block built
  • Purchased teaching supplies
  • Distributed school supplies for students
  • Graded schoolyard to improve drainage
  • Started the Sam Chapman P.S. water reservoir (completed January 2013)
  • KVIP renovations started (completed January 2013)

Step by Step - 2012

Step by Step 2012 Album Cover

In 2011, the Ghanaian government promised that there would be no more classrooms under trees and set out on an ambitious building programme for primary and junior high schools. Dekpor Basic was NOT slated for the first wave of building, but with some insistent nudging from the headmaster, chief, and Linda and Abraham, we managed to get lucky. It is the largest building in our school compound and consists of 6 classrooms, a large room that is intended as a computer lab, an office and a storage room. It houses our lower primary students. The building was completed late in the fall of 2012.

DSDO added gutters (so we could harvest rain water), lights, security windows, locks, and additional electrical outlets for the computer lab to be functional, and outdoor security lights.

Step by Step - 2013

Step by Step 2013 Album Cover

Consider this…there was almost NOTHING at Dekpor Basic. There was no electricity until 2011, the teachers had crumby chalk; the dilapidated classrooms had some desks. Over the years, we’ve been working to add things, a bit at a time, that make the school safer, better looking, more functional, and that improve the teaching and learning environment.

We’ve taken photos of some of the things that we’ve put in place over the past year:

  • AYSC uniforms continue to make a huge impact. We provide various incentive awards for students (school supplies, toys, certificates) but the jerseys are the ultimate favourite!
  • With every trip a volunteer or Linda makes from Ontario to Ghana, more books get to the library. As a result, we need more library shelving! In August we built some more…
  • We purchased 6 trash bins in December. We want to keep the campus tidy and to raise environmental awareness.
  • In December we had a couple of ladders built. They are important! Students can now keep the gutters free of leaves and other debris, which helps keep the rain water that is harvested as clean as possible as it runs through the gutters and is collected into the reservoirs!
  • Our JHS windows needed repairing. We looked after it right away so no further structural damage could happen to the building.
  • Several generous donors purchased $50 gifts. Money was designated to buying teaching supplies, notebooks, and shoes. It is difficult to express just how IMPORTANT these items are and how excited everyone is to receive them.
  • We also purchase hand soap and bleach …properly maintaining our hand washing stations and toilets is vital. Indeed, there are lots of little things that DSDO is constantly doing to improve and maintain. We are working hard!

Emergency Repairs to Administration Building - 2014

Emergency Repairs to Administration Building Album Cover

Picture a building splitting right open, cracks from top to bottom. The photos show it all. The admin building was not well-constructed to start with, but it was built far before our time, and as far as we’re concerned, we want to maintain what we have as best as possible!

With torrential rains on their way, the building would NOT have made it through the rainy season! Needless to say, we repaired the administration building quickly!

February 2014

Busch Systems/BDO/Barriston Law Water Reservoir - 2014

Busch Systems/BDO/Barriston Law Water Reservoir Album Cover

In August 2013, three wonderful Barrie companies: Busch Systems, BDO and Barriston Law, all took part in the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival and raised funds for Dekpor School Development Organisation. Between them, they raised $9,325.50, and those funds were directed towards our various water initiatives.

Harvesting rain water is a smart thing to do!

We are taking advantage of a natural resource AND helping prevent erosion and property damage on the school site. Before we could get started, we needed to have gutters put on the front and back lower level of our newest block of classrooms in order to catch the rain.

This is our third reservoir, so our team is getting good at this! Students helped this time, by starting the digging. To help one of our other concurrent projects, they also moved the dirt to the volleyball court to level the area. We had three groups of communal labour, each day from a different part of the village. We put our new school ladders to use too! As you can see from the photos, the work is tough, the hole is deep, and there is no modern equipment to make the job easier. For the men, it was three full days, from the break of dawn right until it was dark.

The blocks were made by hand, the mason needed three weeks to do his part, and our carpenter finished by doing the roof and connecting the gutters to the reservoir. It’s ready in time for our next rainy season.

Completed March 2014

Filtered Drinking Water Stations - 2014

Filtered Drinking Water Stations Album Cover

In August 2013, three wonderful Barrie companies: Busch Systems, BDO and Barriston Law, all took part in the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival and raised funds for Dekpor School Development Organisation. Between them, they raised $9,325.50, and those funds were directed towards our various water initiatives.

In Dekpor, just finding ANY water can be a struggle depending on the season. At school, the cleanest water our students have is the harvested rain water that we collect in reservoirs. This water is FAR cleaner than what families fetch from the stream, but we want to provide the best we can, raise awareness, educate, and take steps towards our ultimate goal—to dig a borehole/well that will service the village.

This particular project, the filtered water stations, entails many steps.

In December 2013 we had the Sawyer filter representative come from Accra to do a presentation for the staff and various local dignitaries. To make a long story short, everyone was shocked to see visibly dirty water go in…and pristine clean water come out—MAGIC! These filters were first marketed to suit the American camping crowd, to purify water from a lake or stream. It soon became apparent that there was a real use for them in developing countries where the typical streams are full of a far greater number of bacteria and diseases.

We chose two sites close to reservoirs to place our stations. One had a ready-made base on the verandah of the block of classrooms; the other needed to have a base built. You can see from the pictures that there were plenty of hands on deck to help get the job done. To avoid hours of daily labour, we purchased a pump to pull the water from the reservoirs to fill up the huge cube holding tanks. From the tanks, the water is then filtered into dispensing buckets.

Like our hand washing stations, we are introducing these first with several instructional sessions for the students to teach them about CLEAN water and how dirty water can make one ill, cause diseases or worse. To coordinate the students, fill the holding tanks, ensure the filters are being used properly, back-flushed, that the materials are kept clean and properly maintained and that the filtered water is delivered to each class and so on, is an organisational challenge…but one well worth it!

We are so grateful to our three Barrie companies for funding this very important project. We also thank 4imprint and another company that prefers to remain anonymous, for donating more than 1000 water bottles. Each student and staff member has their own bottle and will now be able to drink safe water!

What a gift!

Implemented January 2014

Painting JHS & Administration Buildings - 2014

Painting JHS & Administration Buildings Album Cover

When Linda first arrived in Dekpor, it was entirely run down, every building either needed extensive work, or to be torn down. Now? We take pride in our school. As we’ve been able, we have made the school a more attractive, better maintained, improved learning environment.

Thanks to a generous donation from Busch Systems, we were able to re-paint both the junior high school building and the administration building—both inside and out!

Students sanded the walls to prep them, and then our high school students did the painting over their Christmas holidays. It looks great!

Completed January 2014

Volleyball Court - 2014

Volleyball Court 2014 Album Cover

This was truly a joint venture! With funds from the town, Edi and Conny Schmickl and Racketlon Austria, and DSDO, the students and staff of Dekpor Basic and village members worked tirelessly to build a showcase volleyball court. There is nothing like it anywhere in the entire region!

Dirt that was dug to make the hole for our third reservoir was moved by the students to level the area. As you can see in the photos, there were a LOT of hands on deck to help each day of this project.

With reason, the whole community is very proud of this recreational area that is going to bring years of fun and excitement…a little break from the underlying daily struggle to survive.

Started December 2013; completed February 2014

Landscaping the School Compound - 2014

Landscaping 2014 Album Cover

With a couple of goals in mind, we figured it was time to landscape the school grounds. When it rains in Dekpor, it REALLY rains. Torrential downpours cause a lot of erosion when the dusty sand and clay is so dry. By planting in strategic areas, we are helping prevent damage to the court yard, and ultimately buildings. Also, let’s face it, landscaping looks nice!

So, as part of the curriculum, each class has the area in front of their own classroom and a section around the new volleyball court to tend to.

We take pride in our school. When we work together to make things look good, everyone feels better about it!

This is a work in progess...and will always be growing!

January 2014

Dekpor Basic School - 2009

Dekpor Basic School Album Cover

The Dekpor Basic School truly is as 'basic' as can be.

The kindergarten class gathers on simple benches, under a tree. The teacher has only a small table, a broken chunk of chalkboard, and some chalk to be able to deliver her lessons to 150-170 tiny students.

The primary students fair slightly better, in that they have a thatched roof overhead.

There are no comfortable desks or chairs anywhere on school property. 'Chalkboards' are simply black paint that has been applied to the bricks.

No TVs, no video players, no globes,no maps, no math manipulatives, no calculators, ...

And, of course, no computers, even though 'technology' is a required part of the curriculum.

Compare to what you have in your local school...

Since 2009, Dekpor School Development Organisation has been working very hard to improve the conditions at the school. Thanks to our generous supporters, we are able to keep making progress.

Outreach Volunteers

Outreach Volunteers Album Cover

During the summer of 2010, eight Canadian educators spent three weeks volunteering at Dekpor Basic School. While living in the community with a local family, they worked with students on literacy and numeracy skills, helped to set up the school's library, shared best practices with local teachers, and participated in community activities.

This cross-cultural experience provided the Canadians with an opportunity to better understand what life and learning is like in rural Ghana, while sharing their skills and culture with students, teachers and community members.

Update 2013

Since our initial group of eight, Linda has had many people visit--some for a couple of days, others for 6 weeks. Dekpor has welcomed visitors from Canada, USA, Spain, Austria ...

Some are professional teachers, others are volunteers who are just keen to help out. The interaction often includes reading with students, teaching lessons, singing songs, marking work, playing soccer or engaging in lively conversations.

The feedback is always the same: the volunteers are touched by the warm welcome and thoroughly enjoy their experience.

Update 2016

An enthusiastic group of six Toronto area teachers helped deliver 'summer' vacation school. They modelled a great variety of teaching methods.

Tom, Linda, Ziya, Craig, Alvarine and Alan -- we thank you for your time, effort and enthusiasm!

Library Construction - Spring 2010

Library Construction Album Cover

DSDO's first big achievement, the building of the Dekpor School Community Library, was truly a collaboration of efforts. Generous donations from friends in Canada made our first project possible. Our contractor, Trust Construction, discounted their fee to a bare minimum to help us meet our budget. The three Dekpor villages all contributed days of labour in cutting the cement blocks for the building. Also, one generous Dekpor native, Amuzu Numana, donated a load of construction lumber for the framework.

In order to get the books we had purchased and had collected from friends, family and Edu Ref over to Ghana, our teacher volunteers and Linda's family members each took an extra suitcase packed full on their flight to Africa. As well, volunteers in Canada and our teacher volunteers helped to catalogue and process the books to get them ready for the library shelves.

DSDO has hired two librarian-literacy teachers to run the library for the students during the day and to offer classes to adults after school hours. We are VERY thankful for our sponsors who are paying their wages. The work being done by these teachers reaches hundreds of the people of Dekpor.

Update: We were finally able to completely finish the construction of the library in March 2012!! Using money raised from selling bracelets in Canada, we put in the ceiling, finished the electrical work, and installed lights and fans. It caused quite a commotion, as many have never seen a building with a finished ceiling complete with fixtures!

Soccer Uniforms - Fall 2010

Soccer Uniforms Album Cover

Soccer is one sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and doesn't require too much equipment. Think about what kids in your community have: jerseys, shorts, socks, cleats, shin pads, a proper ball, pump, goal posts...

At Dekpor Basic School, the children also love soccer, but they have had to make do with far less. Forget uniforms... most children only have the clothes on their backs. They don't have cleats... only the lucky ones have a pair of flip flops. And a ball? The kids make use of a dried up gourd or plastic bags, one inside the other, until it is about the right size. The school now has team sets.

Receiving the first set of soccer uniforms from Aurora Youth Soccer Club in Ontario sent the students into a wild frenzy in the November of 2010. Such excitement! They whooped with joy... Most had never had shoes on their feet before... They looked like a team... They ran through the school yard and then proceeded to run through the village. Pure joy.

Now we use the soccer clothes as the most amazing wearable awards ever! We have recognised some of our stand-out students with school supplies, dictionaries and certificates, but the best treat, by far, is to receive a soccer jersey and a pair of shorts! The students are so proud to sport their prizes--talk about creating a happy ruckus!

Thank you for the generous donations from the Aurora Youth Soccer Club!

Junior High School (JHS) Repairs - June 2011

Junior High School Renovations Album Cover

Acts of Kindness Circle the Globe

In January 2011, DSDO received a HUGE donation!

Philanthropists Joyce and John Wilson of Merseyside, England made a huge donation in memory of their Aunt May and Uncle Lawrence Simpson (who lived in North York, Ontario).

The timing was perfect considering the JHS (equivalent to Canadian intermediate grades) block of classrooms was on the verge of being condemned. DSDO was able to completely renovate the three unit building, repairing walls, re-cementing the floors, replacing the roof, installing windows, electricity, lights, ceiling fans, chalk boards, doors, building a new porch, and painting both inside the classrooms and out. The work was extensive and the results remarkable!

A great big thank you to Joyce and John Wilson, two wonderfully giving and generous people!

The official commissioning happened on June 3, 2011.

Teacher Sponsorships

Teacher Sponsorships Album Cover

Teacher Sponsorships have been an important part of our growth and commitment to improving the quality of education at Dekpor Basic. Starting in 2010, we had two teachers sponsored. Now, in 2013, we have 8 teachers being funded by generous DSDO supporters. One teacher is dedicated to the library, the other seven are in classrooms. Two of our teachers offer adult literacy classes (more below).

When we started our work, the kindergarten class had anywhere from 150 - 170 students on any given day. We have brought the numbers down to 40 - 80 in most classes, right from kindergarten up to JHS 3, but we know that in order for a teacher to be able to successfully deliver the curriculum, to be able to make contact with individuals, and to teach most effectively, the student-teacher ratio still needs to decrease.

Sponsoring a teacher impacts every child in the class...the ripple effect is huge!

Adult Literacy Classes

The adult literacy programme has generated much interest, and several dignitaries from the School Board and from other parts of Ghana have come to see what is being done. Many adults have taken up the challenge of learning to read and write, first in Ewe and later in English... a daunting task at any age. They come after regular school hours and stay for two hours or more, three times a week. The focus is on language skills related to their every day lives -- about farming, rural life, markets. They started with the Ewe alphabet, learning phonetic sounds and some simple words. Some students have progressed so quickly that they are now starting to learn simple words in English as well. They are very proud of their accomplishments and work so hard at learning. Their motivation is to better themselves, but also to act as role models for their own children, to encourage them to work hard at their basic education. These dedicated individuals are actually role models for the entire village population.

In August 2011, Linda writes:

Mr Hologbe (one of the teachers), got a call about an adult literacy competition and was asked if he had someone who could come. He said 'yes' and immediately took a motorbike out to a farm to pick up one of the students and take him into Dzodze for the test!!! The man obviously had NO prep time at all and wrote the darn test in his farming clothes! I have no idea if other towns got any more lead time than that, but this poor guy surely had none. He ended up placing second out of all the people there… so all the more reason to be doubly proud of his accomplishment!

In August of 2012, we saw more success!

Janet Tetteh, one of our adult literacy students, made us extremely proud by winning the Adult Area Literacy Competition! Despite a VERY long walk, being physically disabled, and needing a stick for support, she is determined to get to each class that our DSDO adult literacy teachers, Mr. Hologbe and Mr. Tay, provide. Janet is an extremely hard-working mom of two who works as a seamstress, a trader who buys and sells provisions, and a farmer! What an outstanding achievement!

'Summer' Vacation School

All of the children who are fully sponsored and those on our food programme, get to attend vacation school for a month in August, for 3 hours a day, from Monday to Friday. It is an amazing opportunity for the children to get some more time in class when the student-teacher ratio is greatly reduced.

Our sponsored teachers are making a huge difference!

Administration Building Repairs - June 2011

Administration Building Renovations Album Cover

Early spring 2011, Linda and Abraham Kordze decided to make a donation to repair the Administration Building in honour of both of their fathers. A 2 inch crack, from floor to ceiling, made the building dangerous and subject to collapse in the next big rain storm. The building had the cracks fixed, and the addition of louver glass windows and screens, doors, fans, lights and being painted gave the building a much needed facelift! The Administration Building was commissioned on June 3rd, 2011 along with the Junior High School block.

Food Programme

Food Programme Album Cover

Breakfast Programme

In 2011, Andrew Sanderson gave a generous donation that enabled DSDO to get the breakfast programme started. Every morning, before school, our fully-sponsored children, as well as some other very, very needy children, stop at Favour's for a nutritious breakfast. Prior to this, several students had to start their day without any food.

Update July 2013

In 2012, it became apparent that the children needed more than just breakfast, so we evolved ...to the 'Food Programme'. There are many children who are sent to school without having had anything to eat, and have nothing for lunch either. It is impossible to learn if the body is starving.

  • 2011 - 2012 = 57 children received a healthy breakfast and lunch. We are now using 3 food providers.
  • 2013 - 2014 = 62 children
  • 2013 - 2014 = 84 children
  • 2014 - 2015 = 105 children

Children who are on our food programme receive National Health Insurance coverage and get to attend 'summer' vacation school.

We would like to expand and include more children.

Just $165 provides a child with a nutritious breakfast and lunch for an entire year.

Child Sponsorship Programme

Child Sponsorship Programme Album Cover

Our child sponsorship programme is making a huge difference for some extremely needy children. It is a one-to-one sponsorship, where the funds go directly to assisting your sponsored child.

Children receive a nutritious breakfast and lunch, a mosquito net, all school supplies, mandatory school uniforms, exam fees paid for, and medical attention.

This album contains just a handful of their photos. There are many more children desperately needing help.

These are some of their stories:

E lives with her mother. Her father, who was a school headmaster, passed away two years ago. Her mother is struggling to pay the school expenses, but wants very much for E to continue on with her studies. E's mother farms to pay the family’s basic expenses. If she is able to continue her education, E would like to become a teacher like her father was.

B is currently in Class 3 (Grade 3) at Dekpor Basic School. B is the youngest of six children, living with his father. B’s mother passed away when he was a baby. B is a very good student and attends school regularly. The family is struggling to pay the school expenses and unfortunately, the other siblings have been forced to drop out due to the family’s financial constraints.

Sadly, W’s mother passed away 6 years ago and his father deserted him and has not been heard of since then. He lives with his grandmother in the village, who farms to make some money to help her family. W is currently in Class 2 (Grade 2) at Dekpor Basic School. W desperately needs a sponsor in order to continue his education, as his grandmother is trying to send four of her grandchildren to school. W enjoys school a lot and works hard at all his subjects. He especially enjoys mathematics and English language studies. If he is able to continue in school, W would like to work as an automobile engineer when he gets older.

E is currently in Class 1. Recently the family house was destroyed by fire. Since the kitchen is outside like all other Dekpor homes, the cooking utensils and pots were spared, but all of their other few possessions, such as clothing and cloths were destroyed. The two room mud house has been rebuilt. E lives with her mother; her father passed away seven years ago. E has nine older siblings – a large family by any standards, and needless to say, her mother has been struggling financially. Things are even worse since the fire. The four youngest children were in school. The older children dropped out due to financial constraints. Without your generous support, E would not have been able to continue her education.

Highview Public School Water Reservoir - May 2012

Highview Public School Water Reservoir Album Cover

Highview's graduating grade 8 class of 2011 raised enough money to build a much-needed new water reservoir! The water collected in this reservoir will be used for student use, and any extra can be sold as a school fundraiser for Dekpor Basic School.

The community came together to do the digging and carrying water to make the concrete blocks. As can be seen in the photos, it was back-breaking work. Construction was completed in May 2012.

After the reservoir was finished, the dirt needed to be moved out of the school yard. The children all pitched in and helped… by carrying the dirt in bowls on their heads!

Thank you, Highview grads, for your generosity!

Primary Block Repairs - Spring 2012

Primary Block Repairs Album Cover

In a collaboration of efforts by Edi Schmickl, Conny Schmickl and Racketlon Federation Austria, money was donated in March of 2012 to repair the Primary Block.

Racketlon International World Cup players and spectators gave generously! The funds have been used to make necessary masonry repairs. The existing primary block had cement floors that had disintegrated and the stairs leading to the porch were in bad shape.

While the mason was at the school, repairs were made to the walls of the library where the wiring was put in.

In order to stretch the money as far as possible, DSDO decided that it was worthwhile for the students to learn the painting process instead of hiring a professional painter. Linda showed students how to prep the walls by sanding and senior students did the painting!

The Primary Block has been given a much needed face-lift thanks to Edi, Conny and RFA!

Library Completion - 2012

Library Completion 2012 Album Cover

The library was built in 2010, but we learned that we needed to 'finish it'. Bats.

Using funds raised by selling Ghanaian glass bead bracelets, the ceiling was completed, the building was wired for electricity and fans and lights were installed. It caused quite the commotion as the vast majority of Dekpor residents have never before seen a building with a finished ceiling!

Thank you to everyone who sold or purchased bracelets to help us fundraise for this important improvement!

Sam Chapman Public School Water Reservoir - January 2013

Sam Chapman Water Reservoir Album Cover

Sam Chapman Public School in Markham, Ontario got very creative! Students, staff and local professionals got together to produce art for an auction on June 6, 2012, aptly named 'Ghanart'. Enough money was raised to enable DSDO to build a second water reservoir for the students at Dekpor Basic School.

Rain water from the newly built block of classrooms will run down the roof, get caught by the gutters, and then run through the downspout into the water reservoir. Just take a look at the photos, it is hard, hard work. It took 4 full days, dusk till dawn, and crews of men from Dekpor Yia, Dekpor Horme and Dekpor Dome to complete the digging.

As the dirt came up out of the hole, Dekpor students carried it away to help with another little DSDO project… to grade the courtyard and build a berm.

The bricks are all made by hand, and this job too, is completed by community labour. We, of course, hire a professional mason to lay the bricks. This is yet another project that shows how teamwork can make a wonderful difference. Construction was completed in January 2013.

Thank you Sam Chapman staff, students and parents for your generosity!

KVIP (Kumasi Ventilated-Improved Pit) Repairs - January 2013

KVIP Album Cover

Toilets. Sure, no one really wants to talk about them, but they are necessary.

Dekpor Basic School has an 8-seater KVIP and a urinal for student use, but they had never been properly maintained since they were built, many years ago. DSDO decided that hygiene is a priority. In January 2013 we had all of the broken bricks repaired, re-stuccoed, improved the ventilation, switched the useable pit in each cubicle (which means moving the concrete plug to cover the other pit opening within each cubicle), painted inside and out, and installed gates. There is now a maintenance plan which includes daily cleaning and disinfecting.

Furniture - March 2013

KVIP Album Cover

In kindergarten, even with the children crammed in as tight as possible, there wasn't space for everyone to sit.

In the upper grades, there was definitely not enough furniture. The students were required to lug their own chair and table, to and from school, (more than 2 km each way for some of kids), EVERY DAY!

In February and March of 2013, we were able to make a difference. 40 benches and 40 tables were made for the kindergarten and grade 1 students, and 60 one-piece desks were made for the junior high school students.

As you can see from the photos, this was another example of us working together. DSDO hired carpenters to do the construction, but students were responsible for sanding and painting. The colours are bright and happy, just like the faces of the children who get to enjoy the new furniture!

Clean Hands - May 2013

Clean Hands Album Cover

UNICEF estimates that diarrhoea kills 1.1 million children every year, and pneumonia-related illnesses take another 1.2 million child lives. Hand washing with soap prevents disease in a more straightforward and cost-effective way than any single vaccine. The simple act of washing hands with soap at critical times is an easy and affordable intervention that can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea among children under five by almost 50%, and cut respiratory infections by as much as 25%.

When you have to walk a minimum of 4 km to get water for your family, that precious water gets used for cooking and drinking.

Washing hands is something that we are having to teach.

We are starting at the school level. The children are being taught the important reasons for washing their hands. We have set up stations at the school and have just started our training process. We KNOW it is going to take time to implement this change. But it's an important one.

Our kick off was on May 30, 2013. The Assemblyman, and DEHO and his staff, joined the students and teachers for the launch. There were speeches, dancing, singing, drumming, dramas, and the presentation of the soap and wash stands. This is a school-wide initiative, where students and staff are working together to create new healthy habits.

We want to continue building water reservoirs on the school compound so we can take advantage of the rain that falls during rainy seasons. We need to use the resources we have. Washing hands is going to save lives!

Computer Lab - February 2012

Computer Lab Album Cover

Dekpor School had been presented with a curriculum challenge. ICT is part of the curriculum, but how are children to really know anything about computers, and pass the required exam, if they have never seen one? In 2009 when we started our work, there wasn't even electricity in Dekpor, never mind a computer!

In February 2012, Linda returned to Dekpor, after a visit in Ontario, with 7 donated laptops. First, the teachers had to be trained. Now the students have to get opportunities to try using a laptop.

Do the math: 653 students, only 7 laptops. Yes, we need more. Gently used, functioning laptops are gratefully accepted.