Volunteering while on an exchange program is a great way to contribute to the place where you are living, learn about local organizations and how they function, and to meet new people. What really excites the NWCCI team is hearing about how participants use what they learned during the program to benefit their home communities after they have returned home! Here Hardi Adam, an alumnus who attended Whatcom Community College in 2014-15, write about the exciting project he is leading to educate children in Ghana and tells the story of one little boy who is now able to attend school because of his volunteer contributions.
Having studied Business Administration (Accounting) at Whatcom Community College on the Community College Initiative Program (CCI), sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, I learned about the impact of community service and volunteerism as a volunteer at The Arc of Whatcom County, Young Adult Self-Advocacy (YASA) program. I served as a volunteer there for three months from March 2015 to June 2015.
This volunteer position was about providing an enabled, safe and secure environment for persons with disabilities in Whatcom County. During my time volunteering at YASA, we had a common notion that “Disability is not Inability”, so persons with disabilities also participated in activities such as icebreaking, playing games etc. After returning to my home country, Ghana, this knowledge has enabled me to begin a voluntary program at my new community (Bole) where I am a National Service Person at Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, Bole Sub-Station. National Service personnel work at various organizations or institutions after completing their Diploma or First Degree courses to enable them gain experience in the working environment, these personnel are entitled to monthly allowance from the Government of Ghana.
The information technology (IT) voluntary lessons that I began with seven children in this new community have increased to 15 children. Nevertheless I use only one personal computer to teach these 15 children. One of them, called Zakaria, is an intelligent and brilliant young boy. Among his friends Zakaria is currently the only boy who does not go to school, but during my classes he easily understands any topic that I teach them. Ironically, he even explains the topics to help the understanding of his friends. (Unfortunately, Zakaria could not continue his education when he completed lower primary three at his school due to his parents’ financial constraints.)
Luckily, through the premier support to these children by African Better Days, a non-profit organization that has members around the African continent, including myself as the Ghanaian representative, Zakaria has been provided educational materials (school bags, reading books, exercise books, pens, pencils etc). Zakaria will now be able to continue his basic education from Primary three! He is happy and wishes to become a community leader, Member of Parliament, President of Ghana and also an African leader in the near future.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.