Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Volunteer Spotlight: Market

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

We had the opportunity to travel to market with Miriam, one of the older girls from the house who is in the P6 class.   We left the house at around 9:30 am and walked to the top of the hill through the Takofiano neighborhood to catch a taxi.  With us we brought a basket to keep the goods.  It was necessary for us to have Miriam as a guide through the labyrinth of the market and also as a translator to help us barter for lower prices.

The taxi dropped us off in the middle of the market.  The market was everything we had heard and more.  It was full of people and booths containing every item imaginable.  We had a list of items we wanted to buy including onions, green peppers, carrots, beans, rice, eggs, oil, and oatmeal.  The vegetables were much cheaper than we expected.  All of the vegetables came to be around 5 dollars US.  We purchased 15 eggs for around two dollars.

atTheMarket1 atTheMarket2

I also wanted to purchase a traditional African tunic.  A man was trying to help me buy one and I had to try to tell him that I did not want one of the many used westernized shirts that have been imported from America.  I finally found a blue, white, and black striped, hand woven tunic which they referred to as a fugu or smok, that I liked and fit me well.  It came to 30 cedi which was much more expensive than I had planned, but I really needed another shirt to wear.

We were fortunate to have Miriam with us to negotiate prices to ensure we were not getting ripped off.  We walked all across the market multiple times picking items up from the best places.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it and we consequently covered a lot of ground.  We spent a full hour and a half at the market in total.  It was an exhausting experience.  Taxis and cargo trucks constantly honk their horns to tell people to move out of the way on small busy streets.  This is better still then men with overfilled wheelbarrows and women carrying large loads on their heads that plow through the streets without giving you warning.

atTheMarket3 atTheMarket4

Loretta and I are also more of a spectacle walking through the market.  Many people shout at us and run up to touch us.  We get many marriage proposals from random strangers that want us to take them to America.


Obama in Ghana

Monday, July 13th, 2009

With President Obama in Ghana, there are lots of articles going up on the web.  One good one is by BONO for the New York Times and can be seen here.


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

A Wish List for Students at Ayi Owen School:

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

1. Playing Cards (for math games) (Plastic coated or laminated)

2. Apple-Apple game

3. Candy-land game

4. BALLS: basketball, volleyball

5. Laser pointers (for sample of teachers)

6. Large diameter pencils for Kg pupils

7. Art materials. eg pad of multi-color paper

8. Colored pencils

9. Finger paints

10. Basic bic pens

11. Pens with different color inks… different color exterior.

12. Monster mask (not too scary) and or wigs are useful for the drama group

13. Blue T-shirts for all 27 teachers. A FEW MEDIUM BUT MOST XL.

14. Middle school math sets (sample)

15. Book of math word problems

16. Book of fun math -primary arithmetic

17. Book of math tricks, games

18. 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

29. Scotch 3M duct tape

20. Side Walk chalk.

21. Used trumpet

For the school orphans living at the school: “MOST ARE GIRLS AGED 9-12”

1. Small Mirrors

2. Toothbrushes (soft)

3. Used creams, perfumes

4. Scrabble, Connect 4, Checkers

5. Plastic Jewelry

Deadline to Submit Travel Grant Applications Extended

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The deadline to apply for this year’s travel grant has een extended to March 14th, 2009, so get you applications in now!

School Wish List

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

School wish list:

          Help Requested: Please help us collect some items for the school that are not easily obtainable locally (or not obtainable with international quality). These items will be hand carried via members traveling on the self funded volunteer  trip on Feb 15th lead by James Mattison

          Locations to send items:

o        NYC

o        Boston

o        Philadelphia

          Important request:

o        Before sending items it is important that you contact because we are limited by the amount of items we can hand carry and the checked bag weight limits of British Airways.

          School Wish List:

o        Sports equipment:

§         Used Soccer balls

§         Used Tennis balls

§         Sets of soccer uniforms for a team

§         Soccer shoes (small elementary/middles school sizes)

o        Educational games and work books for elementary school children, etc

o        Drama/Dance club equipment:

§         Used masks (Not too scary)

§         Face paints

§         Used trumpet

o        Art class equipment:

§         Colored pens

§         Sparkling inc pens

§         Other bright colored craft items

§         Extra wide pencils (for KG kids)

o        School facility items

§         Two large pad locks with key

§         American Flag

§         Book binding tape

§         Laptop PCs (desktops are too heavy to bring)

Annual Ask 2008

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Dear For One World Supporters!


I hope everyone is enjoying time spent with family/friends as we share the season of gift giving ending 2008 and starting 2009. While we look ahead to a happy new year, we have a long way to go to provide basic education for all children, something we consider a basic human right. I hope you will consider a gift to For One World. We are determined to accomplish our mission to provide basic education for all!


Please donate at:


Your gift will change lives (see additional info below) and I will personally deliver it to the school when I travel to Ghana scheduled for February 2009. Thank you from the school children, board members and volunteers of For One World.




James Mattison



PS please join our mailing list at, Join our facebook page: For One World and please let me know if you would like to join me in person on Jan 9th at a benefit event in Old City, Philadelphia. If you have any trouble getting connected please let me know!


Additional background on your charitable gift:

Your gift will go directly to providing basic education for children who would not otherwise have access to basic education. In 2008 none of our overhead costs were paid for by donations (ie 100% of our tax filing, website, etc costs were provided pro bono). Here is the break down of our 4 programs:

1.       Need based scholarships (~35% of 2008 donations): We fund scholarships to students of need in Techiman, Ghana, West Africa to attend the Ayi Owen International School. In my opinion we are saving these children’s lives! Really, we provide not only school fees but much needed medical attention, shoes, clothing, pens, paper, exercise books and other items required to attend (and be serious about) school. Many of these students graduate from Ayi Owen International School and are accepted into renown high schools where For One World is partnering with The Techiman Learning Resource Center (Local Non- Profit) to continue to fund their education until they are fully independent after secondary school. Need is determined locally by the founder Ayisatu (who’s passion comes from her not having had access to basic education). Ayi follows some basic criteria that works in a cash based society.

a.       Both parents are not present anywhere (ie orphan)

b.      One parent is present and in contact with the child but is without a job. (Example of “no job” could be sweeping and sifting sand after the outdoor market closes to collect rice that was dropped on the ground… then reselling that rice the next day)

c.       Child does not have any flip flops (ie Parents not able to take care of basic needs)

d.      Visibly malnourished

e.       Etc.

It is also worth noting that scholarships are reduced to “half scholarship” as soon as parents are able to pay half of the tuition. While it may seem unnecessary to ask these poor families to pay something so small it is a critical part of responsible giving. If scholarships are seen as a “hand out” local investment by parents will drop. Also we end up sending an inappropriate message about our gift.

2.       Collegiate Travel Grants (~15% of 2008 donations) Some skills are not attainable locally and volunteers are needed to travel to the school and assist. Dozens of applications are submitted to accomplish specific projects at the school and 1 or 2 volunteers are selected. Students have both a faculty sponsor and a For One World sponsor to review their project while volunteering for the summer. Areas in need are often in math and reading which are critical to the health of the school. We would not be able to achieve such high academic rankings without the assistance and energy our collegiate volunteers provided to the school. This program is important to For One World heritage since we were founded ~10 years ago by college students looking to help provide basic education for all. Please note that each year several additional college students fund their own travel to Ayi Owen International School to volunteer their time and skills. These students also have For One World sponsors and specific projects while volunteering at the school.

3.       Capital investments in the school (~10% of 2008 donations): In 2008 many capital expenditures were deferred because construction input costs were too high. Cement for example doubled in price in 2008 as well as nails and other basic supplies. Deferring that expenditure looks to have paid off because prices are falling and we hope to make more progress in 2009 on the physical infrastructure at the new site.

4.       The “Board trip” (0% of donations): This is a yearly program where For One World board members pay their own way to the school donating their time in specific areas for a short 1-2 weeks. Board members are often accompanied by a group of professionals traveling to the school bringing gifts from the schools “wish list” (ie microscopes, soccer balls, etc.) and making a personal commitment to the school of time and a monetary donation.

5.       Family scholarship for Girls (~40% of 2008 donations): In Ghana too often families make decisions to fund male students at the cost of pulling out female students to work at home. Very few schools have a 50% to 50% ratio of girls vs guys especially in the higher elementary school grades. To solve this problem The Techiman Learning Center (a Local NGO) partnered with For One World to set up a family scholarship program. With this program, additional family members attending the school attend for half scholarship which directly impacts female attendance. Furthermore, if parents choose to pull a daughter out of school while leaving a son to attend, the school administration will no longer accept the son. This policy keeps females in attendance at the school. There are many academic studies showing that educating girls brings significant returns compared to educating boys: Girls (not boys) education correlates with increased woman’s rights, lower population growth, improved family health, etc.


For One World has had tremendous success in 2008. Here are some highlights:

·         We opened a new school campus for the Ayi Owen International School with several classrooms being used already in the unfinished building. Someday this is going to allow us to expand from the present 276 students to over 1,000. Much more work is needed at the new campus including electricity, windows and finish the flooring, etc. Work is progressing this holiday season and most holidays when school is not in session.

·         We had a record fund raising year for the third year in a row. The vast majority of our donations come from small individual contributions. The number of small donations speaks to how broad our support base is. While we have received corporate donations we have been more successful to date via “grass roots” fund raising. It is similar to the donations collected 10 years ago from college students when For One World was founded and the first classroom of the Ayi Owen International School was built.

·         We have had great success with teaching and reading in the local language first before bridging over to an international language such as English (Ghana’s national language). The school successfully organized related cultural programs in arts and extra curricular activities (Soccer, Math club, Dance, Drama, etc.)

·         Ayi Owen school academic quality is at an all time high especially for the female students. We have recently ranked #3 out of 70 schools in the district on the national exam. These accomplishments were achieved with junior teachers and very basic physical buildings (one classroom is a “lean too” off an existing classroom without walls… We have deferred investments in physical structures and invested more heavily to buy books, basic science equipment, and to provide weekly teacher training). This year, some of our scholarship students (mostly females) have placed into the top high schools in the country with exceptionally high scores.


Before closing, one comment on sustainability and the educational landscape in Techiman, Ghana:

·          The government schools are defunct; many students are not in the classroom, and test results show broad illiteracy. The government schools have some of the best physical structures in town and some of the most qualified teachers but they are not teaching and often collect fees to supplement their income via extra tutoring sessions only the wealthier students can afford to attend. This has been compounded by rapid population growth which is driving many children (especially females) out of the educational system (ie “School is full, come back next year”). As a result many private schools have been formed. Unfortunately some see this as an opportunity to make a profit vs focusing on learning and performance. The Ayi Owen School is subsidized by the Techiman Learning Resource Center locally as well as the school fees that parents who pay. Local investment from businesses as well as parents is critical to establishing a sustainable school. However, to speed up learning and to reach higher standards, outside funding is important to supplement local efforts.


Looking ahead to 2009:

·         We would like to continue our Family Scholarship for Girls into 2009 and beyond.

·         We would like to double the number of students on need based scholarships at the Ayi Owen International School.

·         We would like to continue to provide at least one travel grant for a college student to volunteer his/her time at the school in an area of need.

·          Provided construction material costs continue to drop we would like to finish the first building on the new campus.

·          We would like to increase our donor base substantially and get the word out about For One Worlds mission.

Mission Statement

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

For One World is a leader striving for real change in education for students around the world. Our educational programs in Ghana are working towards empowering local communities to create new standards for educating needy children.

These programs include working with the local community leaders and collaborating on the funding of classrooms, fostering cultural and community programs, and providing need based scholarship programs for students attending Ayisatu Owen International School. We also provide collegiate scholarships enabling volunteers to travel to Ghana building lasting connections in our global community through stewardship and civic leadership while teaching necessary skills not locally available.

For One World values the spirit and innovation of our volunteers and donors, and their efforts to improve our one world! Quality, community driven education is a sustainable long term solution to many of the worlds challenges: Environment, Health, Empowerment, Women’s rights, Population growth, etc!

Give a Pen Donation Drive

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

We are currently running a pen donation drive to support the kids in the school we sponsor. Please read our Pen Drive Donation page.

Looking for Volunteer Graphics Designer

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

We are looking for a volunteer graphics designer to come up with stylized text and a new logo for this website.

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