Archive for July, 2010

Voluntary work + Fieldtrips in Ghana, July (Photo Essay)

July 31, 2010

A fruitful mid-term evaluation between Mike Owusu and the HKU interns in a Chinese restaurant.

Our performance in the child sexual abuse prevention has obviously been boosted after the evaluation!!

Volunteers and HKU interns at the Global Giving Meeting in Tamale

Volunteers having fun with children after teaching them sexual abuse prevention

Pencil cases made of water bag in progress!

The final product ! To be sold for fund-raising!

Joey, one of our interns from HKU, working in handicap centre.

Henrik, one of our volunteers, teaching children information technology

Music lesson conducted by our awesome HKU intern Cherie!

Children assisting Misaki, our awesome volunteer from Japan, with her art works.

David with the lady selling pop corns near the office, thanks for providing such wonderful snacks to energize our volunteers!

Volunteers relaxing in the Green Turtle Lodge at the Western Coast

At a nice restaurant next to the Cape Coast Castle

‘David, be a responsible man! Use condom whenever you have sex!’ Yaw briefing the volunteers on the HIV workshop.

‘Auntie Serene, don’t go back to Hong Kong!’ Last day in Jesus Care daycare centre…

The touching goodbye hug…

But still got frustrated by her students…even at the last moment

David having snacks in the HIV clinic while listening to his colleagues’ suggestion on the operation of the hospital

With his colleagues in the hospital

By David Kong, Volunteer, Light for Children, Ghana

Report on trip to Tamale: Should be useful for tourists, as real-life experience of volunteers being cheated was included (26/06/2010-30/06/2010)

July 5, 2010

From 26th June 2010 to 30th June 2010, interns and volunteers form Light for Children, Ghana went to Tamale for the Global Giving Meeting, an online fund-raising platform for NGOs which Light for Children is one of the members. Indeed, they went sightseeing in and around Tamale too. They visited the Mole National Park and the traditional community in Lorabanga. They of course have not missed the Chief Palace in Tamale. However, this seemingly utterly wonderful trip does have tears and blood behind.

The first destination for the volunteers was the Mole National Park, the largest wildlife reserve in Ghana. After 8 hours of exhausting Metro Mass Transit bus trip and a one-night stay in Marim Zakarib’s place, a friend of Sebastian, the volunteers traveled to the national park by a hired minibus. Though the minibus trip was long and the bus was too shaking, the volunteers were excited by their coming stay in the Mole Motel, and of course the Safari trip to see wild animals.

The stay in Mole Motel was almost the most wonderful time for the volunteers throughout the trip. They enjoyed life in the tranquil motel with beautiful natural environment, swam in the pool, and enjoyed the safari trip in the national park, as well as the delicious, albeit expensive Western food. Although they only managed to see wild animals from a long distance, they rather regard the safari trip as an excellent chance to stretch their body and do some hiking. Unfortunately, some volunteers were injured by plants in the forests. One of the volunteers, Mandy, even got her wound infected, and she was sent to the hospital after returning to Kumasi.  

The nightmare began at the morning when they were prepared to left, when they were approached by a Ghanaian who claimed he was the volunteers’ official guide for their trip to the traditional community in Lorabanga. Witnessing that the driver of the minibus allowed that Ghanaian to get on to the car, the volunteers thought at the time that it was normal.

However, after the visit to Lorabanga has ended and when that ‘official guide’ demanded, in an aggressive manner, the volunteers to pay a fee of 10 Ghana cedis, the volunteers realized that something wrong has happened. After considerable period of unfriendly argument, the ‘official guide’ seemed to have been tired of the volunteer’s insistence to pay only 5 Ghana cedis. Finally he asked the volunteers to leave rudely, an entirely different attitude to the volunteers while he was guiding the trip.

And when they returned to Tamale, they were told that the entrance and guidance fee to the trip was only 2 Ghana cedis per person. One day after, when they visited the Chief Palace in the downtown of Tamale, they were told by some Ghanaian straying in the front doors, who were obviously cheaters, that they were required to pay a tribute of 10 Ghana cedis to the chief to buy Cola, a raw material for making Coca Cola. Indeed, this time none of the volunteers listened. They almost left immediately after hearing such non-sense excuse.

The last destination, as well as the official objective for this trip to Tamale, was the global giving meeting which was held in the culture centre. Though a bit dissatisfied with a trip which is full of cheating, the morale of the volunteers to learn and exchange ideas about fund-raising with other NGOs remains high. In the meeting, the volunteers learnt about the criteria of entering into the Global Giving Platform, especially the details of the Due Diligence task of raising 4000 US Dollars from 50 different persons in 4 weeks. Inquires were raised among the volunteers concerning how Light for Children, Ghana, managed to complete this task. The volunteers also learnt to appreciate the importance of uploading work reports to web pages like facebook and blogs, and including photos into the reports in order to make them more eye-catching to readers. They recognized that writing reports on their work, a seemingly boring and routine task, is actually essential to the operation of a NGO as it is directly related to how many potential donors can be reached, thus affecting the amount of fund that NGO can be able to raise. Hopefully, volunteers would be more efficient and punctual whenever there are reports to be written afterwards.

Through the meeting, volunteers also recognized the importance of counting the number of beneficiaries whenever they have conducted a workshop or any other programme, as this is a measurement of how near the NGO is to its project goal, which would affect the reputation and the credibility of the NGO, thus affecting its fund-raising ability.

Overall, the global giving meeting is indeed a fruitfully learning experience for the involved volunteers. Indeed, challenges remain on the way. But work hard, comrades! Let’s work to build Ghana!

David Kong, Volunteer, Light for Children, Ghana

Child’s Right Workshop@Light for Children Office (23-06-10)

July 2, 2010

People say Chinese people care more about money, consumption, and karaoke than human rights. The children’s right workshop given by Erik Forhammar, volunteer of Light for Children, Ghana, is certainly a worthwhile education to alter the situation.

‘When it comes to The Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, what kinds of right would you think of?’ The right to life? Freedom of speech? Freedom to participate in politics? Right to justice? Or would you be temporarily silenced, as you haven’t even heard of it? In this children’s right workshop composed of audience from different continents, with people from Ghana, Sweden, and China, one can easily answer the question of ‘why some countries in the world can be dictated by so many thousands of years and remained unchanged until the 21st century’ by just observing their response to this question raised by Erik. Luckily, or within expectations, there are a number of exceptions: being able to recognize one’s rights is, after all, an ability possessed by the majority of people in the world.

‘Why is it so important to know about your rights?’ Erik asked. ‘So that people can claim it, and prevent themselves from being disadvantaged.’ answered Erik by himself after a few minutes of dead air. Nobody can answer this time because the Ghanians and the Swedish people were temporarily excused from the workshop to conduct their business.

‘So are there any examples of learning human right?’ Erik asked another question while the Ghanians and the Swedish audience were out. Expectedly, Erik had to speak to himself again, ‘when we were in schools, we would go to the European Council to watch people suing their governments, bringing their dissatisfaction towards their governments to the attention of the international community’. After a few seconds, Erik tried to break the dead air, ‘Can people in Hong Kong do this to their government?’ The answer is of course negative.

The conclusion of this workshop may be: China is desperately in need of aid, not economic aid, but aids on knowledge in human rights.

David Kong, Volunteer, Light for Children, Ghana