Volunteering in orphenage

Since I was asked if I could tell more about how to be a volunteer, how to choose a reliable association, I decided to create a dedicated part with several point to help you for volunteering in Ghana !

 

Why and how to be a volunteer?

There are different steps and questions to answer yourself before starting to be a volunteer:

1. You have to know how long you will stay and propose your help

2. Decide what type of volunteering you want to do

3. How many hours by week you want to give

4. What type of association you will like to give help and time

My personnal experience as a volunteer for Beacon House orphanage in Accra :

I decided  to start helping Beacon House because a friend of mine, Sophie, a young french girl (it was her first expat in ghana)  used to be the nurse helping kids in the orphenage. During nearly a year, she  was a volunteer but unfortunately,  she had to go back to France because of her husband work .

So she is the one who introduced me to the director, Romana, who is such an amazing american woman who created this orphenage.

There, I met also the wife of Bolloré Africa Logistic country manager who was also a nurse and volunteer there with my friend.

As to the consequence, there were enough good reasons to believe in the good and reliability of this orphenage association  called Beacon House, located in East Legon not far from french school in Accra.

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When my friend Sophie unfortunately left Ghana to go back to France, I started to replace her. It was this January 2016.

I met and worked during about 2 months with Bolloré country manager’s wife  (called also Sophie) but then she moved also in March. (Expats’ life is like this… you moove every 2 or 3 years…).

Right now, I’m working with an american student, Sarah,  who is learning psychology in the ghanain university of Accra. She  comes 3 times a week on afternoons to teach them english well and read books. We get along very well.

My registration and actions as a volunteer for Beacon House:

I “registered”  and signed a legal paper to Romana giving the days and hours I wanted to give as a volunteer and when I will come in her orphenage (twice a week on afternoons).

 We discussed about the missions I wanted to do : I could help for many things ! So we decided together that I would replace Sophie with preparing medecines set for kids having HIV each week on wednesday,  and that I would go to hospital with them when they needed to see the doctor and renew their medecines.

As I wanted to give time to kids playing with them , and since  I love music and dancing, I proposed to give Zumba lessons to them on fridays afternoon too.

How is life in Beacon House

Who is Romana, the creator of Beacon House?

Romana created this orphenage in 2005. She is an american woman and has adopted 2 ghanaian chidren too.

She lives inside the house with kids.

Her dedication is to help children making them believe that they are loved, that they matter and, despite what they have faced in the past, their dreams can come true.

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When Beacon House was created?

Beacon House has opened in 2005, and has served the Ghanaian community through fostering orphaned and vulnerable children and assisting at-risk families in their communities.

How many children is living in the orphenage?

There are about  20 children in this family in April 2006 in Beacon House (as you can see on pictures on the link before), from 9 months to 20 years old. Solo is the oldest because he is blind and has mental problems so unfortunately he will stay here his entire life.

Theses kids used to be malnourished with developmental delays and chronic, life threatening illnesses.

The last orphan baby called “Benji” who Romana is helping right now to survive is only 9 months. She put him in hospital because he has a critical illness : she is paying aghanain woman to take care and be with him all the time in the hospital. He will go soon to an orthopedic center because he was operated and need rehabilitation for his back before coming to the orphenage one day when he will be cured.

How are orphans there?

With the help of volunteers (students from Accra University exchange with USA) and local staff (one house manager, one cooker/ housekeeper, one ghanaian”mummy” taking care of the baby Matthew 8 months only, one driver to go to buy food, take kids to hospital) and of course the director of the orphenage “Romana” who lives inside the house with them.

I can see from inside that orphans (or children rejected by their own family who could not afford them) are now in good shape, having a normal life and are happy living all together as brothers and sisters.

Children are happy there, eating well, going to school, having healthcare, and most of all having LOVE  from students and volunteers, woman working there and Romana since she lives with them and has her bedroom upstairs…

Which are Beacon House last and recent projects?

  • Become self sufficient in a new house outside Accra :

Beacon House will soon moove to another “house” near the Dodowa Road, 30 mn drive from Accra. They will live there next October normally. They want to become self sufficient, eat properly a diversification food. They will not have to pay a rent in East Legon anymore.

There are a few things already on the land: a wall marking the property, a guard house, a chicken coop, and fruit trees have been planted and also orange, lemon, avocado… and mango trees will  provide nice fruits to the children and staff  of the orphenage.

A mother from my school gave me also 3 rabbits too for them (and you all know that rabbits make lots of babies!): so that they will put the rabbits on the land (some to play with kids but also to eat its meat).

Funding from an american college in the US and other association help them to build a chicken coop, so they bought 200 chicks and upkeep them until they started producing eggs

The chickens are now producing eggs; these not only supplement the nutritional protein needs of our growing children and those children who come to Beacon House malnourished but they also provide Beacon House with an income … an income to help off-set our other food purchasing expenses and some household supplies.

WHY do I have chosen to help a small orphanage and not a big and famous ONG who woulf be in Ghana?

I like being a volunteer for this “Beacon House” orphenage because it is “human size” and that each child is imporant for Romana, and she takes care of them as if it was all her own kids. It is important for me to see actions from inside, meet the donators even if they are small like neighbours giving a cake for a birthday kid.

I like to be next to them, know their names… know all their age…what they would like to be later (many wants to help children as a doctor). And start to share love together.

I could not maybe see that in a huge association who helps thousands of orphans from all Ghana. It is why I prefered myself to choose small.

But for me, I prefer to give clothes, food and time to each kids and givin love to each…

It is my choice but everybody can do what the feels is better of course! It will depend from your point of view but the objective will still the same :

Helping to give the opportunity to have a Happy and Healthy Life and access to Education and have good food everyday.

 

See now my actions to find donators for beacon House orphenage !

follow me on this post !!

You will see first co-operation between :

“Bolloré Africa Logistic” and “Numero Uno”

Start of a new good energy vibes !!!

 

 

 

 

Being volunteer in an orphanage

Let’s help those in needs in Africa! 

Since I did not work all day, I had time to give to an association …

I decided to help in an orphenage since I like being with children, playing with them and teaching them things .

A friend of mine was already a nurse in Beacon House orphenage…

So one day, I followed her in this orphanage and I started a “love and helping” adventure.

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  • What I do in Beacon House as a volonteer :

My friend who introduce me had to moove out  from Africa… so my first mission in the orphenage was to prepare the medecines for those kids who have VIH (25% of the orphans in this orphenage). She explained me and since then I do it all wednesday for the whole week. I also go to hospital with them once a monthe to see the doctor who take car of the one with VIH.

But after this, I started to find games such as puzzle, and also dancing on zumba style!

Volunteers can help with school (homework, tutoring, reading ), they can propose arts and crafts, organizing a game, sports and other projects per their skills. If you have other hobbies (such as me music and danse) you can propose it to the orphanage director for approval and just start !

I already started to have idea to collect some clothes, toys, shoes, and medecines because they were in needs og basic ones.

I send a letter to Accra to be publish on their own website and I had so many respond after that at school! And by word of mouse, I get even more that I could imagine!

After this, I put  an album on my facebook page for sharing photos of kids playing with toys and wearing clothes they gave me for them.

Many friends from France also answered my call by sending me medecines, clothes, toys…so that I can return it when i will be in France ( in the end of  April for holidays ).

It is wonderful to see their smiles, energy!

  • How is everdyday life in Beacon House orphenage ?

They are 23 lovely children there : the smallest baby  is 6 months and the oldest child is 21.

Most of them are about 5 to  7 years old.

I also learned their everyday life such as duty :

Each day, 2 or 3  kids have to clean different parts of the house inside and outside. So there is a planning sticked on the wall to kwnow who do what and when ! Good organization! However, sometimes, one kid refuse to do it, since this is the way, the director of the orphenage give a punition : he will be forbidden to go to school the day after and he will have to clean even more!

Morevover, after school both girls and boys have to  wash with hands their clothes since they do not have a washing machine here.

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One lady prepare food for dinner for the 23 children. Most of the time they eat rice with something else like chicken, eggs.

Their plates are filled very well!   However, they ask donors  to give fruits and vegetables for having vitamins since it is expansive here.

They have a land 35 minutes from Accra (where they will moove on in few months) where they already try to become self- sufficient and they have built a chicken coop  (thanks to american donors) : they produce eggs for them to give protein for energy  and even to sell now to get an income for them to spend in other food expenses ! Other projects such as producing  their own food are in progress :they have already  planted orange, lemon, avocado, and mango trees to provide fruits for the home. A great idea !

They all go to the ghanaian school wich is not far  and they go there by walking. They start at 8am and finish around 3pm. They both learn english and french (since Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso,  are close to Ghana).

  • Rules for adoption and link to help all around the world

Adoption is limited in Ghana right now. An american lady asked for adopting th 6 months baby (Matthew) but governement refused. It is so sad for him to miss to have parents and better condition of living , education and hobbies…

  • Changing myself, and being aware of reality 

This experience makes me grow and gives me a great joy, each time I enter the orphanage, a little boy or girl is running to kiss me and giving a big hug, and the others are following with their “mumies”working there with big great smile.

It is like if I was a Mrs Santa Claus giving love, hugs, cuddles and bringing  fruits, toys, clothes..

Helping the most disavantaged is really a self-fulfilment for me. I feel like growing into a better person, and changing my point of view of the world, being more aware of the opposed lives on earth.

Poverty or / and being an orphan is hard to see but their everyday smile gives me a beautiful lesson of life!! How wonderful they are inside and their courage, strenght to struggle.

I you feel like being to be a volunteer, here is a link of a website to  know and find how  to be a volunteer in all the world:   workaway.

It is really wonderful to see how love is strong from them to you and the from you to them !!

“LOVE IS EVERYWHERE “

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