Author: Adrian

Amazing. Sewing machines start their Journey

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I was telling our friend Kay about how Florence was finding it difficult to teach machine sewing with a single broken sewing machine and she said “I think I know some one who can help.” A couple of weeks later she turns up with four sewing machines from her sister, Margaret. The machines are in excellent working order and came with their instruction books and lots of supplies: threads, spare feet, bobbins etc. etc.

The next problem to solve was how to transport them to Florence’s school. With Clemence Kitsi’s help we found a shipping company in Luton. They could supply a drum and then collect it and deliver it not just to Accra but directly to Alavanyo village. Jobyco efficiently handles all the shipping and paperwork with consummate ease.

So on Friday 25th March 2022 the four sewing machines securely packed into a shipping drum were loaded onto a van to be transported at the start of their journey to Florence Kumah to help her teach Home Economics at Alavanyo Junior Secondary school. I’ll let you know when they arrive.

The cost of the drum was £50 and it will be put to good use when it is emptied, and the cost of transporting it was £90 If you would like to help fund future shipments to the Volta region please click on the donate button.

Florence and her wrecked machine
What Fay organised from Margaret
Alyrene Adrian and the recycled mango chutney shipping drum
Electric Singer
Hand Singer
Electric Delta
Electric Frister Rossman
A selection of the extras
Loaded onto Jobyco’s van

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The borehole has been drilled. The tower and storage tank erected. The plumber has done his work. And now there is sparkling fresh water for everyone in Gbedema Kofi to use.

Thank you to everyone involved. Especially the major donors, Wolfgang and The Green Hall Foundation and also remembering everyone who donates to Community Action Ghana big or small it all helps, so thank you so much.

We could not do this work without the continued help of Clemence Kitsi who gives up so much of his time to help the various communities in the Volta Region of Ghana. Here he is supervising the building of a road to get the drilling rig on site.

Remember the water supply before. You have helped us do our bit to allow children to drink clean fresh water and mothers to use insect free water for their babies.

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New Road needed for Drilling Rig

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You may be wondering why the water supply for Gbedema Kofi has not reported progress since the water tower was built. As we were about to start we were told that the council was about to put a road exactly where we were about to drill the borehole. So the borehole had to be moved from this secondary site that was easily accessible to the primary site across the stream. This meant that we had to make a ‘new’ road across the stream and up the far bank. But the road we build wasn’t up to the task as the drilling rig was HUGE. So now we are in the process of remaking a road sufficiently strong for the task. Please keep watching this space for updates. Can I say that Wolfgang has made a huge contribution to the charity that will cover most of this unexpected expenditure. So Wolfgang thank you so much.

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How can you teach without the correct tools?

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Florence is a dedicated and wonderful teacher. She teaches home economics in the Junior Secondary School in Alavanyo.
But she has a problem.

Florence trying to teach with a very broken sewing machine
Could you teach with this?

So Florence has to teach sewing theoretically. Her pupils can tell you the names of all of the parts of the machine but can’t use it to make anything. Why? Well look at the sewing machine she is trying to use. It is broken beyond repair of even the most skilled mechanic and they have tried.

She needs your help.

I recently had my sewing machine serviced by Geoff Ives and he has offered to service any machines we can get for Florence’s school for free.

We not only need some sewing machines but also the funds to send them to Ghana. I have found a shipping company that could deliver them to Alavanyo which costs £140 per 220l drum (including the cost of the drum). That would hold at least two machines.
If you would like to help with providing a sewing machine please contact us.
If you would like to help funding the transportation please click on the donate button below or this sentence.

Please help Florence and the hundreds of pupils she will teach to learn this skill to help them make clothes for themselves and their siblings.

Florence teaching theoretical sewing to girls
and boys
with a very sad machine

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Work starts on Clean water supply for Gbedema Kofi

The water supply won’t be ready for Christmas but it will be ready for the New Year. This means that the community of Gbedema Kofi won’t have to source their water from a muddy intermittent stream but will be able to get clean artesian water from a tank on a water tower.

In April 2021 the Leos from Cambridge High school in New Zealand had a sausage sizzle and raised the funds to allow us to do a geological survey.
This was done in May 2021 and it found a good source of underground water close to the middle of the community.
November 2021 the Green Hall Foundation gave us a grant of £4,000 towards the project.
In December 2021 the community met and finalised the positioning of the water tower and agreed on how the community would contribute to the project. On December 21st the foundations for the tower were put in and the project started.

Keep coming back to this post for updates on the progress.

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Work Starts on Clean Water supply for Gbedema Kofi

As promised here are more pictures of building the water tower, making a road for the drilling rig and modern dowsing to pinpoint exactly where to drill.

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Ghana Revisited

Alyrene and myself went to Ghana from the 28th November to the 5th December.
Lots of PCR tests before during and after but it was worth it.

An amazing welcome at all of the current and past projects with constructive discussion with the builders and users of the toilets and libraries.
I think the best way for you to see what we did is visit Polarsteps, an incredibly useful piece of software allowing you to see and read what we did during the visit. It shows not only visiting all of the past, current and future projects but visiting friends and places I first went to in 1967.
In case you can’t visit it below are some photographs showing some of the highlights.
I am still surprised it was only a week we seemed to cram in so much.
Many thanks to our hosts particularly Clemence Kitsi, our project manager and friend who makes all of the arrangements so effortlessly fitting us in with his schedule as an Assemblyman for the local council (equivalent to a UK District Councillor but with many more pulls on his time from his constituents).

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Wonderful news for Gbedema Kofi.

A huge donation from the Green Hall Foundation means clean water for a village.

We have just been informed that we have been given a very generous donation from the Trustees of the Green Hall Foundation. This means that we can get started on the project so that people no longer have to walk over a kilometer to scoop water out of a muddy stream for their use. The timing is fantastic too as Alyrene and Adrian are going to visit the projects next week and can help start the works whilst they are there. Watch this space for updates next week.

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and this
is soon going to be a water supply like this.

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An Amazing Week in the Alavanyo Villages

First in Alavanyo Wudidi Library

In Alavanyo Wudidi the carpenter Eric Nyarku, his son Prosper and his apprentice Kwame Amewu have been putting the finishing touches to the tables. They are making carrels so that people studying do not disturb each other and in the current pandemic climate they help prevent the spread of the virus. As you can see they have made the tables and dividers from scratch. No going to the furniture store and just buying some imported item. So now the library is almost ready for the books from Book Aid International which are being shipped at the moment.

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Marking out the table
Building the frame
Frame finished
Marking out the locally produced plywood
Fitting the dividing board
Finished carrels

Thank you very much Eric, Prosper and Kwame for your work.

And in Alavanyo Agome working on the Community Toilet

The community have been working really hard to get the concrete slab with the squatting holes cast before the rain and termites destroy the wooden shuttering. As you can see there has been a really good turnout. Everyone no matter their status in the community get involved and The Chief of the Youth Sohafia in his red T shirt was as busy as anyone mixing the concrete. Soon we can start on the cubicles and roof. Thank you everyone at Alavanyo Agome and thank you to everyone who has donated. BUT we still need more to complete all of the projects so if you can please donate.

Preparing the mixture
Sohafia, the Chief of the Youth organisation, mixing the concrete
Finished slab and squatting holes

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Wonderful Marathon Runners raise funds for Community projects. Thank you!

David and Kate at the start
And again at the end of 13.1 gruelling miles

Just how do you thank these wonderful people for training and then running the Oxford Half Marathon. The distance 13.1 miles, thats just over 21 km in 2 hours 15 minutes and 2 hours 22 minutes. Akpe kakaka (Ewe language for thank you totally)

At 6 miles (10 Km)

Kate at 8 miles (13Km)
Still smiling

David at 8 miles (13Km)
Still happy

They have raised over £800 and when you add on the gift aid this will be about £1,000.
This amount can go a long way towards helping communities build a toilet block, renovate a library or even go towards putting in a borehole to provide clean drinking water.
For example the money raised could go a long way to building the superstructure on the toilet and roof it.
How worthwhile is that.

The funds raised could convert this
to this…
Foli John and Michael Deh who are working on the Alavanyo Agome Toilet say Akpe bor oo (A very big thankyou)

If you’ve been inspired by David & Kate’s fundraising and would like to run the Oxford Half Marathon 2022 or any other fundraising initiative please get in touch

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Why are you doing this in the Volta Region of Ghana?

Quite a number of people ask this so here is a potted history as to why.

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September 1967

In September 1967 I was on a plane to Ghana and so was Heather but we didn’t know each other. We were going to volunteer with VSO.
I was posted to St Mary’s Junior Seminary in Lolobi Kumasi, Heather went to Bishop Herman College in Kpandu about 50km away. We met and travelled to Timbuktu together in the Easter holiday. We returned to the UK, as an item, in the July and were married in 1970.

September 1972

In 1972 we went to Nigeria for four years. We worked in Mubi Teacher Training College in the North East State. Heather gathered material for her book Growing up in the Mandara Mountains when we were there.

December 1979

In 1979 we went to Botswana for about seven years. I worked for the Ministry of Education and Heather did various jobs including journalism. Heather has written Coming of Age in Botswana which describes our life there.
The African continent kept calling and we worked briefly in Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia. Heather worked on educational books for many different countries throughout Africa.

June 2009

In 2009 Alyrene pointed out a project with VOLU in Tafi Atome in the Volta region very close to where we had met. I went and worked on the project. But time and money ran out before the community toilet block was finished. The next year I fundraised enough to finish the project and returned to Tafi. I was again working with VOLU and particularly with Clemence Kitsi a volunteer builder, we completed the building.

2018 – 2019

In 2018 Clemence was asked by the Village Development Committee of Alavanyo Dzobedze if a communal toilet could be built there. So he contacted us. We fundraised again and the block was started, again working with VOLU. In 2019 Myself, Heather and Alyrene went out to help with it.

2020 – Current day

We realised that it would be better if we worked as a registered charity and in 2020 Community Action Ghana was incorporated as a UK charity. Charity number 1188867. Myself – Adrian, Heather and Alyrene are the three trustees.

We are now working on another toilet block in Alavanyo Agome. After sucessfully renovating libraries in Kpeve and Tafi are now in the process of working with renovating libraries in Alavanyou Wudidi and Hohoe Wegbe.
We have had donations from a Fair trade shop in Hamlyn Germany, schools in New Zealand and Germany, and my local garage to help with the projects. The New Zealand school’s most recent donation paid for a survey for a borehole to provide clean water for the community of Gbedema Kofi. We still need to raise the money to make this project a reality.

All this takes money and donations are always greatfully received. Please dig deep to help us help these communities help themselves.

Heather’s Books

Heather is going to donate one pound (£1.00) from the sale of each book to Community Action Ghana. If you would like to order a copy signed by Heather direct from us please fill in the contact form and we will post one to you.

Click on this paragraph
to link to the
contact page.

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