Student Profile – Naha

The following is a description by one of our volunteers of one of the students living at the school and being taken care of by your donations.

Naha

Age: 10
Class: P2-A

Interests:

  • Favorite Subject: Science
  • Favorite Activity: Playing football (soccer)
  • Favorite Sport: Basketball
  • Favorite Color: Yellow
  • Favorite Food: Rice ball and ground nut soup
  • Favorite Singer: Shaggy
  • Favorite Person: Mr. Sumaila (one of the school teachers)
  • Favorite Book: Rainbow Fish
  • Favorite Movie: Finding Nemo
  • Favorite Animal: Horse
  • What she wants to be when she is older: Doctor

Parents: Naha’s father, Awudu, is one of Mmaa’s brothers.  Naha’s mother is one of three wives.

Town of birth: Unknown

Naha1

Background: Naha comes from a poor family that never invested any money in its females. Naha’s father is a farmer with three wives and eighteen children.  The father believed that only his sons should go to school, therefore none of his daughters ever received the opportunity to be educated.  When the father was young, he thought he could take care of all the children, but he soon became overwhelmed.  He became sick with older age and was unable to work and provide for his family.  He could no longer pay the school fees for any of his children, let alone clothes to dress them.

Mmaa remembers that Naha’s father came to her one day when his wife was pregnant with another child.  He told Mmaa that if the child was a girl it would be hers and if it was a boy he would keep it.  Mmaa was not sure how to respond to the situation, but out of guilt she agreed to purchase the pregnant mother a cloth to wrap the baby in when it was born.

After some time Mmaa had completely forgotten about the situation.  Then one day, the mother showed up at Mmaa’s door holding baby Naha in her arms.  She told Mmaa that her father ordered her to give the baby up and thus Mmaa had no choice but to accept her.  Mmaa allowed little Naha to eat and sleep at her house and agreed to send her to school to give her an opportunity she herself never had.

Naha helping to cook

Bill explained that Naha was a consequence of poverty in Ghana.  When she arrived at the house she was emaciated, poorly clothed, never spoke and avoided most interactions with others.  Mmaa first placed Naha into kindergarten at a government school, but it did not work well for her.  Mmaa then decided to move Naha to a different local private school called Animantu, but again Naha was not performing well and was years behind in both reading and writing.  Bill described Naha as being verbally inarticulate and difficult to motivate.  Mmaa finally brought Naha to the Ayi Owen School and placed her in first grade.  Although she was old for the grade, she began to perform well and has been doing so ever since.

Bill fondly recalls that when Naha was still in preschool, maybe three or four years of age, she would sneak off with Bill to play basketball after finishing her homework.  After some time, Bill would leave the ball out for her to use when he was not around.  Bill observed how Naha would throw the basketball underhand towards the rim over and over again. Bill noted that Naha was determined to make a basket, and from that he knew she had a special drive in her.  It became clear to the Owens that Naha expressed herself more through sports than words.

Mmaa explained that Naha’s mother and father have each come only once to visit Naha at the house.  When the father asked “Do you know who I am?” to Naha, she responded that she knew who he was, but refused to refer to him as her father.  Some of Naha’s brothers and sisters have stopped by to visit, but Naha does not care for them as they were not there for her when she needed support.  Mmaa continues to be the sole supporter and provider of Naha because her parents are incapable and imprudent.

Naha carrying grains

Naha’s real name is Alimatu, after Mmaa’s mother.  But to avoid confusion she has always been referred to as Naha, which actually means ‘grandmother’.  Naha has a tribal marking on her face that she received when she was an infant.  The horizontal scar is a symbol of the Bole tribe.  When the cut is first made, it is filled with medicine in order to act as protection from diseases throughout the individual’s life.  It is also a sign that Naha will always be part of the Bole tribe and to remind her of her roots.

Naha has progressed tremendously under the care of Bill and Ayisatu. She has doubled in size since she first came to them more than eight years ago.   She now excels in school by being in the top quarter of her class and gets along well with the other children at the house.  Naha helps out around the house by cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and performing any minor duty that needs to be done.  In her free time she loves to jump rope, dance, draw, and play games.  Naha always has a smile on her face and is very fun-loving and approachable.  With the continued support of the Owen family and her peers at the school, there is no doubt that she will continue to thrive in such a nurturing environment.

If you would like to help Naha and other children living at the school, please donateContact us if you would like to sponsor her or other students living at the school.

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