MEDIA ROCKS EVENT, IN AID OF THE SALTPOND EDUCATION PROJECT
As part of Captify’s Futures Board initiative, each year Captify supports a charity. This year is no exception and we’ve chosen the Saltpond Education Project, a charity close to our hearts. Our next fundraising event is Media Rocks, the ultimate battle of the bands on 7th February, with all proceeds donated to Saltpond.
Natalie Falconer, Head of People at Captify and a Saltpond Trustee gives insight into the aims of the charity and how donations make a fundamental difference to the lives of children.
WHO ARE SALTPOND?
Saltpond are a charity committed to making education available to all children. We run and fund a dynamic primary school and teacher-training project for underprivileged children in and around Saltpond, Ghana. We fundamentally believe that providing education will enhance children’s opportunities and ultimately, their life. Saltpond as an area has extreme poverty and when we first launched, the majority of local children were required to work to be able to buy food, living each day hand-to-mouth.
WHAT ARE SALTPOND’S OBJECTIVES?
The goal is to educate the children of Saltpond to provide them with the tools that they need to shape their future. We also want the charity to be as self-sufficient as possible, that means employing local people to drive the school forward. It’s important to move away from a traditional ‘volunteer teaching’ model – whereby foreign, inexperienced visitors come to teach at schools for a short period, often disrupting the rhythm of learning for children. We provide dynamic classroom practice through local teachers and provide teacher training, teacher observation and progress-linked salary incentives, in addition to collaboration with educational professionals in the UK and state bodies in Ghana.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH SUPPORTING SALTPOND?
A friend of mine joined Saltpond and spent three months over summer out there. She returned with a giant list of things to do, but more amazingly, a new understanding of what is important in life and the desire to do more to help young children in an environment where they receive little support. That was me sold, six months later I was out in Ghana implementing some of the key projects, but more importantly spending time with these amazing children.
The happiness the children have is like nothing you’ve ever seen. They live in conditions, which are difficult to even describe, yet they smile all day every day. They are excited to come to school, excited to learn – at all ages! We have to encourage them to go home after school and weekends, when they turn up itching to learn.
WHAT DIFFERENCE HAVE THE DONATIONS MADE SO FAR?
Unbelievable! We found that a lot of the students from Saltpond School (Happy School) would drop out of the education system when they left us for junior high school. As a charity we paid the fees, but often the students would decide not to continue, some due to the teaching methods and others through lack of encouragement. With the money raised so far, we’ve secured a plot of land to be able to build a junior high school. This will allow us to keep the students in the nurturing environment that they’re used to at Saltpond and hopefully reduce the dropout rate.
WHAT FUTURE PLANS DO SALTPOND HAVE?
We have three big projects that we’re working on:
– To build a junior high school this year and hire teachers ready for September 19 intake…there is a mammoth amount of work to do here.
– We’re adamant to be set up to support students who want to attend University. We’ll be fundraising hard to ensure we get these funds and create a sustainable model to be able to support this flow through the full education system, should students want to attend University.
– Some students don’t enjoy studying and rather than losing them from the support system, we’ve introduced apprenticeship schemes with local traders. We’d like to extend this to a number of typical traders in Ghana, and specifically the Saltpond area. The Tradesperson will often require a purchase of tools upfront and a fee for taking on the student.