10 May, 2006

Word up from Jachie

The latest news from Debbi and Matt.

Well, it's been a few days since we arrived in Jachie near Kumasi and we're settling in nicely. We're still finding our feet but there seems lots for us to do. Our job is made much easier by the support of David Boateng, the director, who although based in Reading, UK, is very much on hands with helping TACCO - The African Child Charity Organisation - run as smoothly as possible.


The computer room is an excellent facility but is currently not being used to its full potential.
Our main aim is to get as many children using it as possible both during school hours and after school.

The schools were initially reluctant to timetable formal computer lessons because of the token charge and the lack of consent from the District Education Authorities.

In order to rectify this, David Boateng has waived fees during school hours.

We have also met with the District Director of Education. She seemed very impressed with the facility and requested that we write a formal letter stating our intentions. We have sent a draft of this to David Boateng and hope to submit it to the office as soon as possible. Once we have permission from the District, we will start to approach individual head teachers and begin to schedule classes. We are confident the computer room will be full of children every day by the end of the month.

Currently 24 out of 31 computers are fully functional. The remaining seven will need to be connected to the server before they will run Edubuntu (the educational software). We hope to help resolve the networking problems as soon as possible through our connections with network experts in the UK and by working with Bernard and Solomon.


The creche appears to be well used, with an average of 40 or so children attending every day. Despite the cramped conditions and minimal resources, the children seem to enjoy their time here and the women in charge are excellent.

We have consulted with the Creche organisers to find out what they most urgently need. Following our discussion we have arranged for age appropriate toys to be sent from England (they are already in transit). We have also commissioned a local carpenter to build a toy box for the children, which we will paint and present in the next few weeks. This will occupy some of children's time and also teach them responsibilities such as tidying up, looking after things and sharing. Playing will stimulate their imagination and some of the toys will be educational.

On the reccomendation of the Creche helpers, we also intend to use some of our donation money to buy more mats for the children to sit on, as well as a supply of spare underwear for when the children soil themselves.


The library is small but well stocked. However, there is always room for more books. We have arranged for two boxes of books from WH Smith to be donated to the library. These are currently in David Boateng's safe hands.

The library is already patronised by a small number of school children, who visit it weekly. Once the computer room is full on a daily basis, we will approach the schools again and encourage more formal use of the library.

We hope to finish cataloguing the books that are already there and, if time allows, install a computerised system for registering and borrowing books.

We have spoken to the librarian, Mr Arthur, who has said that the shelves need painting to avoid the books being eaten by bugs.


We heard about this centre from a Peace Corps volunteer and were keen to see it for ourselves. We visited the centre and were very impressed by their motivation and hardwork.

Currently the centre trains disabled people to make local cloth and crafts, including kente, shoes, school uniforms, wooden crafts and leatherwork. They have many workshops, which are fully equipped with machinery and their training programme offers an alternative to disabled people begging on the streets.

However, the centre is having trouble marketing and selling their goods. This means trained disabled workers are now unemployed because they are unable to continue their craft due to the lack the money to buy more raw materials.

We have already arranged for a web designer in England (a former Africatrust volunteer) to build a website for the centre, which we will put on line.

We have suggested that they design some posters, which we will place in guesthouses in central Kumasi and Lake Bosomtwe (a major tourist destination). Jachie Disabled Centre is located on the only road between Kumasi and the Lake, which means it is in the ideal position to pick up some tourist trade.

In addition, we have already comissioned the woodwork department to make some sturdy, educational toys for the TACCO creche.


We are extremely happy in the house in Atonsu Agogo. The food is plentiful and excellent and we have plenty of water. They are always quick to provide us with anything that we ask for.

The children are delightful and full of energy and the adults are also friendly and good fun. We feel part of the family already and Daniel has promised to take us out clubbing in Kumasi on Friday!

Thank you David B for arranging our taxi to work and back - Adu is the most punctual Ghanaian we have met so far!!

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