BAOBAB  -  CHILDREN  -  FOUNDATION
A school for children from poor families, orphans, child laborers and children with physical disabilities.

Socially and physically challenged – hand in hand.


school_rez

In the Central Region the poverty is very high. Most families are farmers and they depend on a good harvest. But even then most families can't spare any money. They can´t pay for their children`s education.
School-uniform, books and pens – this all costs too much and even a torn school-uniform can lead to a suspension.


graze_dadgie Rural parts of the Central Region

Ghana is a country of contrasts. While the capital Accra - apart from the large slum areas – has rapidly developed into a modern metropolis, this same development is hardly noticeable in the rural areas. In the Central Region, where Baobab operates, people live in the villages, surviving in a subsistence economy as, for the most part, their land is too small to support the family. Poverty is rampant. Many people hardly earn the bare necessities of life. How are they supposed to find the money to send their children to school? Many families simply cannot afford to buy school uniforms, shoes, books or  writing materials. A torn or out-grown school uniform can lead to a suspension from school.

batik Many children do not go to school

In the morning when children should usually be at school, you can still see a lot on the streets of the villages. They do small jobs for their parents. They fetch water, collect firewood and take care of their younger siblings while parents are in the fields or out looking for work. Other children sell goods on the street or do physically exhausting work in the production of the local alcohol, operate deafening machines at the flour mill, work at the market or hire themselves out as laborers in the construction industry. Many children work for very low wages on foreign farms or help their parents with the necessary hard work in the fields.

cane_and_bamboo The Baobab School

Since 2005, Baobab has brought these children to the Baobab Youth Training Centre where we built a school for them, regardless of whether they were illiterate or could already read and write. Since Baobab also accommodates street children, it happens that, from time to time, some of them drop out. They cannot fit into a regular school life, but the effort is always worth it.
Today all our pupils live during the term at the Youth Training Centre. We accept children from 10 to 15 years. The Centre is built according to ecological principles, as far as possible using local materials, solar lamps, solar cookers, solar dryers and rain water collection tanks; we have an organic farm with oyster mushroom production, a Moringa farm, a medicinal garden and a variety of diverse tree species.

Plastic is recycled and it is remarkably clean at Baobab; the waste is, if all employees participate, separated. Children should grow up in a healthy and clean environment, since it also has long-term impact on their home environment.

carpentry
Education in dignity

Together it was decided that we do not beat our students with a cane or carry out other degrading punishments which in Ghana are, unfortunately, often given both in the parental home and in the schools.

A teacher committee is responsible for discipline and any punishments for misconduct. The main principles are: positive acknowledgment, praise and reward for good behavior, talking things over, paying back for mistakes by working for the community. We regularly discuss the reasons for our educational methods in management meetings, staff meetings or in meetings with the parents and guardians of the children, so as to establish a common agreement on how to educate our children.

dressmaking Education for creativity

The pupils should be versatile and creative. They should be literate in the sense that they should be able to help themselves. There are lessons in the morning in writing, reading, English, Mathematics, Natural Science and Entrepreneurship. In the afternoon, they are trained in accordance with their wishes and abilities by specialist teachers or masters in practical subjects: carpentry, bicycle repair, sewing, batik, cane and bamboo furniture making, kente weaving, painting, basket weaving, organic farming, oyster mushroom cultivation, production of medicine from medicinal plants and catering. This simultaneous qualification in academic subjects and practical instruction, has proven to be very motivating. Each student selects at least 2 vocational subjects, which can be combined well and allow them a future in Ghana.

farm_rez Socially and physically challenged - hand in hand

Meanwhile, the school is an "inclusive school". We increasingly have more young people with physical disabilities. In Ghana there are many polio cases, forcing the children to use a wheelchair or walk with crutches. To educate these children alongside those without disabilities is a great bonus. Until just a few years ago, people with disabilities in Ghana were not considered able to do anything and some were even hidden from their families. Today, however, one often hears: Disability is not inability.
These young people feel very much at home at Baobab, because they have often been rejected in the society outside. Some get special therapy from our volunteers, but usually they are involved in all the activities and the students help each other.

arts:examination What does the future hold for the Baobab School?

In 2013 we managed to register the Baobab School with the state as a private school. This allows the students of Baobab at the end of their schooling, which may be after 4- 6 years, to take a state examination at NVTI (National Vocational Training Institute).

2015/16 about 30 of our Baobab students have passed this examination.
Then they do "Service for Baobab" and work for 1 year producing work for their school as well as polishing their skills. At the end they get a percentage of what they have produced as starter kit. Some also get the opportunity to  continue to work with Baobab or they look for a master to still improve their practical skills. If they want, we can link them up with Microcredit institutions, so that they can build their own workshop. We hope that these young people can now take responsibility for their own futures but also pass on their knowledge for the common good. They will be able to send their children to school and provide for their family.

kente2016 As of early 2016

At the beginning of 2016 there were 90 students the Baobab School who are being taught by 15 teachers or masters. Should we find more people who are willing to sponsor a child, we would be able to take on more children; our waiting list is long.




kentepresentation Saturdays workshops for the school

As is common in Ghana, the young people not only learn at Baobab, they also live there and they live well. Only during the holidays do they return to live with their parents, grandparents or whoever is their guardian. Baobab provides them with 3 hot meals a day and also supplies all the things that their parents are not able to afford. Since 2015 those parents, who are able, pay a very small contribution to the costs.

According to their age, pupils can help a little to finance the School by producing small items at the Saturday workshops, including necklaces and bracelets made from glass beads and purses sewn using woven kente strips or water sachets, while others help on the farm, produce moringa powder or cook in the kitchen for lunch on Saturdays. This is always a welcome change to class on the other days; there is a lot of laughter and talking.

Sustainability through Social Entrepreneurship

As it became increasingly difficult to cover all the costs of a growing school with donations from Germany, we started thinking how we could make money in Ghana. The idea of ​​a commercial building in Cape Coast was born. What initially in 2008 began with the hiring of a shop for the sale of products that originated in the classroom or through the work of employees, has now been extended to include 5 guest rooms, a vegetarian moringa restaurant, a fashion workshop and a conference room.
Fourteen pupils work at Baobab House as part of their practical education where they cook and wait at tables in addition to their other practical subjects.
Please do so one day a week to Cape Coast in the Baobab House. Seven Ghanaian adults, of which 4 are former students, work at the Baobab House, carrying itself and also still making a surplus for the school.

To support the school and at the same time create jobs, it would be nice if more companies would patronize the Baobab House in Cape Coast and make donations to the Training Centre.
Possibilities include the expansion of the organic farm, the production of local medicine and Moringa powder, the expansion of production of cane and bamboo furniture, a new carpentry workshop, Order Batik and Kentecloth and sewing for men and women.

We are always grateful for donations in order to realize one of these ideas.

In the longer term, the school should be able to stand on its own: on the one hand supported by our small businesses and on the other hand by the possible support from the state, private enterprises and donors in Ghana.

 
BAOBAB SCHOOL OF TRADES AND TRADITIONAL ARTS