Archive for the ‘school’ Category

MIT to offer online courses

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

It looks like MIT is expanding its remote learning initiatives to be released in Spring 2012. Now Ghana just needs high speed Internet to Techiman!

Interesting Lectures

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Here are some interesting video lectures by the Royal Institute in England:

Congratulations to the School

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Congratulations to the Ayi International School for scoring the highest in their region on their standardized tests!

Ghanaian Independence Day

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

One of our teachers at our school wrote us about Ghanaian Independence Day. Ghana’s Independence Day occurred on March 6th, 1957 under Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The Ayi Owen School has always been invited to take part in the anniversary. During the occasion, our teacher took photos of some of the participating students. Click here to read more about Ghana.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kindergarten Graduation

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Today was the day of the esteemed and much awaited day of Kindergarten graduation.  For some reason, it is a very big deal in Ghana.  An elegant set up was created for the event complete with large speakers, chairs and tables.  The event was supposed to start at 10 am, but like always it did not begin until noon.  The entire lower school was in attendance as well as all the teachers.  Many members from the Parent Teachers Association as well as the Ghana Board of Education were present for the ceremony. To our surprise, nearly every parent of the children was sure to make an appearance.  The music, as always, was being played at a ridiculously high volume, and it was the same songs over and over again.

Kindergarten Graduation 1

The ceremony began with a prayer and then introductions.  The event was run by the master of ceremonies and one of the school’s teachers, Somaila.  He does a great job controlling the order of the program and interacting with the audience.  The ceremony contained many traditions, the first of which involved the kindergarten class standing coming on stage and performing a song for the audience.  The students then proceeded to change into athletic clothes to play games.  Everyone transitioned over to the fields to watch the children compete in tug of war, sack races, and spoon balancing races.  It was adorable to watch and the parents enjoyed the fun competition.

Kindergarten Graduation - Sac RaceKindergarten Graduation - Tug Rope

After the field games had finished, the students changed into their cultural uniforms.  They performed a play and then a cultural dance they had been working hard on all semester.  Still in their same uniforms, each child stepped up to the podium and recited a poem of their choice.  This took some time as you can imagine, but it was a pleasure to hear the students that were strong public speakers.  For students that performed particularly well, parents and others from the audience would throw money at them to donate towards the school.  One boy cried every time he had to speak publicly, this brought much laughter from the student body and I felt so bad for him.

The class then went into the library to change into their blue graduating gowns complete with caps and kente cloth lining.  During this time, the lower school held a dance competition to pass the time.  Finally the kindergarten class returned in their robes and strolled two by two onto the center stage to receive their official diplomas.  After each student received his/her certificate their picture was taken with their respective parents who were in attendance, which was mostly mothers.  Every mother in the audience seemed to be carrying a baby which I also found interesting.

Kindergarten Graduation 2

The ceremony crawled on in typical Ghanaian fashion with more announcements and presentations. I was amazed at the patience exercised by the rest of the lower class school-mates that continued watching attentively.  Many pictures were taken throughout the ceremony by a hired photographer and I was flabbergast to see some parents in the audience already holding printed pictures of their child!  I discovered later that the dj’s had brought a printer on site which the man was using to print pictures straight from his digital camera.  It was actually a great idea and the man was surely turning a nice profit.

After many grueling hours the ceremony finally came to a close. Mmaa and Bill both looked very pleased with the way things went and it was great to witness such a meaningful milestone event in the children’s lives.  It was especially nice to see Mohammed, one of the children from the house, graduate with his classmates.

Kindergarten Graduation

Great Video About the School!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Loretta, one of our volunteers from this past summer, has created a great video about Ghanain culture and our school, the AYI Owen International School.  To help us further our efforts and hopefully create other schools, please donate now.


Student Profile – Naha

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

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.


Age: 10
Class: P2-A


  • 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


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 donate.  Contact us if you would like to sponsor her or other students living at the school.


Monday, May 11th, 2009

ATTN: For One World Team
Please find below the most recent “Wish List” of items for the Ayi Owen School.  We have a short deadline for these items to be collected.
* Donations Must Arrive by May 21
* Where to send donations:

FBO Loretta Cremmins,  ATTN: Lizzy Edelstein
504 West 110th Street Apt 2A NY, NY 10025)

1.    Max to pick up at Janie Owens: Tennis balls.
2.    A Stopwatch
3.    Playing Cards (for math games) (Plastic coated or laminated)
4.    Candy-land game
5.    Balls: Basketball, Volleyball
6.    Laser pointers (for sample of teachers)
7.    Large diameter pencils for Kg pupils
8.    Art materials. eg pad of multi-color paper
9.    Colored pencils
10.    Finger paints
11.    Basic bic pens
12.    Pens with different color inks… different color exterior.
13.    Monster mask (not too scary) and or wigs are useful for the drama group
14.    Blue T-shirts for all 27 teachers. A FEW MEDIUM BUT MOST XL.
15.    Middle school math sets (sample)
16.    Book of math word problems
17.    Book of fun math -primary arithmetic
18.    Book of math tricks, games
19.    DVDs for children’s literature, readers such as:
Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Lion King, Charlotte’s Web, Ali Baba and the forty Thieves, Some Pig, Titanic, Aladdin, Julius Caesar, Hamlet.  We also seek films about animals and wild life, nature and travel.
20.    Scotch 3M duct tape
21.    Side Walk chalk.
22.    Used trumpet

For the school orphan girls (age 9-12) living at the school:
1.    Small Mirrors
2.    Toothbrushes (soft)
3.    Used creams, perfumes
4.    Scrabble, Connect 4, Checkers
5.    Plastic Jewelry

Movie Walkthrough of Some School Facilities

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Here is a 5 minute walkthrough of part of the school. The video was taken in the morning before school and begins at the small soccer field and tennis courts, then shows the computer lab, library, administration office, and finally the classrooms.

Football (Soccer for Americans) at the School

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

Some of the major donations we received for this trip were soccer equipment from various places. So now would be a good time to thank the Los Angeles Police Department, my cousins, the doctor that gave me my vaccinations before the trip and the Lehigh University Men’s Soccer Team.

There were two training sessions a day. The kids have never had so many balls before so they were very excited. We tried to restrict the kids playing to about 2 kids per one ball so that everyone has something to do and not just stand around. We also tried to limit the number of kids to 20 per session, but that was difficult. The kids were all very skilled, but had never done a drill before. We tried to teach them to use all the surfaces of their feet, how to pass and a little bit of how to defend. Most of the drills were given to us by the coaches at Lehigh.

At the end of the week we brought out the uniforms and pinnys and had a student vs teacher soccer game. One of the volunteers played for the students during the first half and coached the kids, and one of the other volunteers was the referee. The teachers won 4-1 and it was interesting because they definitely didn’t give the kids any slack. The substitute kids in the second half were quite smaller than the ones in the first half, so the teachers has a distinct size advantage.

We are trying to get the teachers to continue the coaching the students by creating an after school program. The drills will be documented and the school found a good website for coaching kids. Hopefully they will run similar training sessions and the kids can continue to play their favorite sport. There is a gallery of soccer pictures and a quick video of the match.

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