Keith Goddard follows ASR on Twitter and hails from the beautiful city of Toronto. Keith reached out to us for some help with a project he is working on developing. The following is an explanation of his project that is focused on providing books to students in Ghana who otherwise do not have access to the materials they need. Many schools in Ghana have NO access to appropriate reading material for educational purposes. Keith is looking to change that for the kids at Bright Future School which is in Keta located in the Volta Region of Ghana. Check out the details below. If you are as moved by what Keith is doing as I am, go check out www.indiegogo.com/
“First of all, I’m just doing this on my own. My wife is from Ghana and I’ve been there a few times. At some point she told me that most schools there have no books and kids spend LOTS of time just copying notes that the instructor dictates. Her (and some of her friends) have even told me that when they were in post-secondary institutions that happened quite a bit. I couldn’t believe it.
The second part is that I’m a public school teacher in Toronto and toward the end of this school year I just began noticing more and more books stored in cupboards in dusty storage rooms that hadn’t been touched in ages. I eventually thought that I should send them to Ghana (I don’t know how it took me so long to think of it!). I asked my principal and she was all for it. So I gathered up about 200 math text books and about 500 story books and got started.
I thought I’d send them bit by bit with my own money and then I heard about Indiegogo due to the much publicized school bus incident. I’m sending them to a school called Bright Future School which is in Keta in the Volta Region. My wife’s father is a retired school teacher and a kind of “chief” of the village (Aflao?) and he runs a school now, but… no books. So that’s where I’m sending this batch. I only have about six days left in this Indiegogo campaign and I’ll ship them this month.
I don’t know how much you can help in that short amount of time, but anything you can think of would be great. I know very little about this whole thing, but perhaps you can also help me/advise me in the future. I’m thinking that in the fall I want to contact a few other schools where I know teachers or principals and try to collect more books. Who knows how many I can get. I really don’t know. (Also, one of my donors is a school librarian in NY and said he has boxes of books I can have — not sure the logistics of that yet). Anyway, there are other schools I would like to send books to (in Ghana) on subsequent shipments — one school at a time.
Yes, kids speak English in Ghana and they read and write English. That is the language they are taught in at all the schools. Newspapers are in English, etc. Different regions speak different dialects, but funny enough, most people don’t read or write the “native” languages. So, I know the books will be used, especially the story books. I realize that teachers don’t receive great training and so I realize the text books might not be used in the way I would use them, but they will be used. Kids will also have the opportunity to sign them out at Bright Future School (I’ve been told already), and there are quite a lot of “keeners” who would do that. I also know this school is planning a big celebration/ceremony for when the books arrive.
Finally, if you’re kind enough to make a donation, yes just do it on the Indiegogo page. Thanks again for all of your help and encouragement.”
UPDATE FROM KEITH GODDARD:
“Thanks. I will ship the books next week and they should arrive, hopefully, by late-Sept. I suppose it would be good to update the blog, if possible. I will get some photos when the books arrive, so that’ll be nice. Thanks again.
Talk to you soon.”
All the best to Keith and hope everything goes smoothly. I will update the site and social media pages when we hear back!
UPDATE FROM KEITH GODDARD 9/5/2012
“I’ve started collecting books for my next shipment. I’ve found quite a few good books online (Kijiji, Craig’s List) that people want to get rid of. I have a lot less time (and energy) now that I’m back at work, but I’m sure I’ll have at least a thousand books by Dec. Still looking forward to the first shipment arriving in Ghana in about four weeks!
Thanks again. I can’t thank you enough for your support.”
We have also made some minor changes to Keith’s original blog to reflect some errors that we made in transcription. Sorry for the delay, Keith, in getting those changes made. For any Aid Still Required supporter interested in learning more about Keith’s work, please contact Dan@AidStillRequired.org and we will make sure to get you in touch with Keith so you can learn more and support his great work.
Aid Still Required will keep you all updated with the progress of the Ghana program at the Bright Future School as we get updates from Keith!
Another update from Keith 12/11/12
Keith is back at it! He has continued his collection of books and is now in the fundraising portion of the project to send the books to Ghana. You can visit his fundraising page at www.indiegogo.com/books4ghana to help support this very worthy program. Thank you Keith for all of your great work and keep us updated on your progress. Good luck and look forward to seeing those smiling faces in Ghana when the books arrive!