About West Nottinghamshire College

West Nottinghamshire College has sites located across Mansfield and Ashfield in the East Midlands. The college offers education and training to over 20,000 students every year, providing them with qualifications including, GCSEs, A Levels, and apprenticeships. Students come in a variety of ages and can study a range of subjects from brickwork and construction to maths and computing.

Volunteering in Ghana

The college decided to arrange their second trip to Ghana with Original Volunteers after the success of their first back in 2009. The idea was to take over a larger group of students and staff to help continue where they left off teaching and building in the remote and highly deprived region of Mpraeso, Ghana.

The entire college set about fundraising for the trip and from sponsored bike rides and fashion shows to car boot sales, they managed to raise £12,000, with the college adding a further £5,000! Nine students and five members of staff took two weeks out of their summer holiday in August 2010 to volunteer with us and transform the lives of some of the poorest communities in Ghana.

Student achievements

With a lot on the agenda and only two weeks volunteering, the group divided in two, with one half based volunteering with children in schools and orphanages and the other half helping on their main building project.

One of the college’s main aims was to reconstruct a school originally made from tree branches, in the remote village of Kofi Nyina, near Lake Volta. Children who used the school were forced to sit on on the floor in an unstable building where children of all ages learn together.

With the college providing all of the necessary materials, resources and furniture and with the help of other Original Volunteers on the Ghana project, the building soon took shape. The school, which only had one classroom, was transformed into a large timber-framed, brick building with several classrooms and a corrugated plastic roof.

Brickwork, joinery and carpentry students all contributed to the build whilst academic studies, childcare and hair and beauty students focused on helping in the local schools, day centres and orphanages. The staff and students taught the children literacy and numeracy skills as well as engaging them in arts, crafts and outdoor sports and games.

“The teaching in Ghana was a really good experience and we played games and got to know the children,” said Helen Gibbons, one of the childcare students on the trip.

“The people in Ghana were very friendly and welcoming. When we headed into the village where we were going to build the school, I had never been made to feel more welcome or important in my life. The people were lovely, saying how happy they were that we had come to try and improve their lives,” she added.

The group also took along teaching resources such as pens, crayons, books and craft materials donated by local businesses. Two Aquabox water filtration systems were also donated by the Safe Water Trust, which each will provide 70 people with clean and safe water for three months.

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