Behind the scenes

profileBy Taylor Hannah, Ghana Ambassador

I met Naomi Nkrumah and her husband Emmanuel Nkrumah yesterday in the school where they work in Adawso, a rural town near Koforidua, in Ghana’s Eastern Region. Naomi runs the kitchen at Compassion 4 Humanity’s primary school, Compassionate Kids School. The school opened 2.5 years ago as a response to a lack of options for good education in the area and serves children from pre-school through sixth form.

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Naomi and Emmanuel

Serving breakfast and lunch to over 100 students, Naomi prides herself on being able to provide nutritious and fresh ingredients for the best meal most of the students will have access to in the day.  The school is not able to pay Naomi to purchase food ingredients in advance, but rather reimburses her at the end of the month.  By providing more working capital, Naomi’s Zidisha loan has had a big impact on her ability to provide fresh veggies and good protein to students.

The school consists of seven classrooms, an office/library/computer lab, and a kitchen serving breakfast and lunch.  The parent organization, Compassion 4 Humanity (C4H), runs a vocational apprenticeship program for teenagers in addition to the primary school. Naomi’s husband, Emmanuel, helps run C4H and the school.

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C4H gets some funding from program income, donors, and a small amount of government funding for the school, but quite a lot of its funds come from Emmanuel’s own savings from his other work. When he’s not at the school, Emmanuel has a farm of corn, cassava, and plantains, and he sells his produce as well as fertilizers and pesticides to other farmers during Adawso’s twice-weekly market days.  Emmanuel was one of Zidisha’s earliest members in Ghana, and Zidisha loans have been a big part of paying for farm equipment and tools in order to attain higher production yields and therefore higher profits at market days.

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Emmanuel at the farm

In the future, Emmanuel hopes to expand his farm, continue developing the primary school, and level out a spot for a playground. Emmanuel has been involved with Zidisha since the beginning, when he worked with our volunteer Country Expansion Coordinator, Roberta, and has been a huge help as a Volunteer Mentor and a resource for borrowers around the Eastern and Accra regions.

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On the day I visit, one of my favorite Ghanaian dishes is on the meal: Red red, a traditional and filling meal with lots of beans and plantains, and the kitchen is hard at work prepping for tomorrow. Naomi is incredibly appreciative of the help she has received from Zidisha, as I’m sure are the students that benefit from her work, and looks forward to continuing the relationship with her lenders.

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Naomi – thank you for taking the time to meet me yesterday. We wish you and your family the best!

If you would like to learn more about C4H and the Compassionate Kids School, visit their website at http://compassion4humanity.com/.

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