Tag: Volunteer_in_Ghana

Why Volunteer in Ghana…

Compulsory Volunteerism

Nine years ago I volunteered to work in an orphanage in a small village in the Eastern part of Ghana I am no Mother Theresa so I didn’t do it for a humanitarian or altruistic reasons.

Heinz_baby_foodI had 3 months to spare and nothing better to do but I am thankful I did it. It turned out to be one of the best things I have done in my life! Four volunteers, 2 lads (Si and I) and to lasses (Nana and Rach), I remember the first day I turned up at the orphanage. There were about 25 children, the oldest 14 years and the youngest was about 2 years. I smiled nervously as we were introduced to them and the 2 ladies that worked there. This was nothing like I had imagined. Well I did not expect the kids to be in 5 star accommodation and to be treated to a feast all day everyday but what I saw was well below my expectation. The children looked malnourished for a start and what they were having for breakfast? A tiny pot each containing Heinz baby food. Every child was to eat that, even the 14 year old! We all looked on in shock. I think Grandma (the owner of the orphanage) noticed this, she pulled up a pot and offered it to us, “try it” she said, “it tastes good”. Apparently they had been donated to the orphanage by her daughter who lives in Italy. We later had to explain its food meant for little babies. Bless her, she is illiterate so could not have read the labels.

Ghanaian_Children_Me_FiRi_GHANAAfter breakfast the children started getting dressed for school. I notice the clothes were either too tight on them or hung too loose. It was as though they had a pool of clothes from which each child had to take a dip every morning and don whatever their tiny bodies pulled out. The orphanage building itself was in a pretty good state. It’s a 3 room semi-detached house. There were massive straw mats spread in all the rooms suggesting every room was used as a bedroom. The area in front of the building was where they had their shower and is also used as a cooking area. Later on that morning we made our way to the “school”, it’s about 50 metres from the orphanage itself. I am not sure if you would call it a school, it’s a church hall which doubles up as a classroom for these children. Grandma could only afford to employ 1 teacher so all they had was one big class, with children of varying ages. Teaching aid was the billy basic. Two 3m x 2m chalk board painted black with carbon from used dry cell batteries, a few boxes of chalk and not enough books, pens and pencils for every child.

Teaching_in_GhanaAll four of us seemed confused. I bet the same question was ringing through each of our heads “where do we start?” We all imagined we were going into a structured organisation were we would be given defined roles but what we had was the exact opposite. The only structure we had was the orphanage building itself! After long deliberation, we decided Nana and Rach would take care of the orphanage – food, accommodation etc Si and I would take care of the school with the teacher. We got to work that same day. We split them up into 3 classes based on their ages and that was no mean task as these children had no clue how old they were! We each took a class. We managed to get some more books, pens and pencils. We had a good routine going and we had some pretty clever students too. Plans were in place to get some of them into the mainstream local government school.

Fast forward three months and you had 25 children in tears and 4 volunteers fighting to hold back theirs. It was time to say goodbye, it was time to go back home. Four ordinary people with a few months to spare had made a whole world of difference in the lives of these children. There are many orphanages and like institutions in dire need of voluntary workers. These institutions do not have the funds to employ full time workers. Most of them are started and managed by benevolent individuals out of the kindness of their hearts. Like the one I worked in, Grandma started and funded it from her own pocket, with donations from her daughter who is resident in Italy. During our time there we met an Irish timber merchant who lived in the next village. He made a couple of donations whilst we were there and hopefully that continued.

WAM_Campaign_Volunteer_in_Ghana_www.wamcampaign.orgI am well aware that in Ghana there are only a few organisations which run such voluntary programs so let us make good use of them. You don’t have to be a professional teacher or a social worker. All they need is a willing heart ready to help. It does not have to be 3 months; it could be a few hours a day, a week or a month. Many Ghanaian university graduates often complain about the lack of work experience when they come out of university which is a major requirement for most employers. Well here is my simple, common sense solution. If we make it compulsory for all students in Ghana to spend at least one holiday period during their four years at university to do some sort of voluntary work, then we would have killed two birds with one stone. One, students will leave university with some work experience for their CV and two; they would have provided a great service to the very needy in our society. It will also help teach our youth the priceless value of volunteering for unpaid work in a world where money is held in high esteem. Let us encourage the spirit of volunteerism! 

Volunteering in Ghana: WAM

W.A.M (What About ME!) is an initiative which aims to provide young people with exciting creative platforms to contribute to the wellbeing and development of orphans and vulnerable children living in Ghana.

With the support of the Ghana High Commission, the W.A.M Campaign aims to motivate and inspire young people to contribute their skills, gifts and talents through energetic fundraising activities and by participating in the volunteer programme in Ghana.

With record numbers of travellers now visiting Ghana, the W.A.M Campaign highlights a number of challenges faced by young people in Ghana, creating opportunities for YOU to give back in an easy, fun and practical way.

This Christmas, the W.A.M Campaign will be in Ghana, giving you the opportunity to actively volunteer in both Accra and Kumasi. You can come and teach, dance, play sport, sing… and so much more!!

SO…If you’ll be in Ghana during the Christmas season, why not come and share your unique talents to better the lives of others? Even if it is just for an hour, a day, or for a whole week, YOU can make a difference.

“What About ME?’ ‘It’s NOT about me?” realises that the best of you comes out, when you bring out the best in others.


Ghanas Future: Helping Ghana! or Not…


How many times in your life have you heard a fellow Ghanaian say this, “I don’t go to Ghanaian owned stores”, I don’t let Ghanaians do my taxes, they can’t be trusted”, “I don’t go to Ghanaian churches they are so fake” and the list could go on and on and on.



If you could be honest with yourself, how many times have you said those exact words yourself? Many of us say we love our country the land of our birth or our parent’s birth, yet we don’t really support each other.

I will tell a story to explain what I mean about our lack of support for each other.

The women in my family love to shop. If there is a sale going on they call each other up to share the information and possibly find a date to drive to the sale together.



So, not long ago I was dragged along on one of these epic shopping trips with my mother and my aunt to check out a fabric store.

Walking into the fabric store, I saw two women in a corner talking as they looked through a pile that had a big sign that said 5 yards for $20. I overheard these women talking about how they would never go to the African stores to buy their lace ever again.

This store I had entered with my mother and aunt was owned by Indians. In the front they sold colourful saris and gold bracelets and in the back they sold lace and wax print cloths that African women love to purchase for different occasions.

We were at the store because my mother had heard about the store having a lace sale of 4 for $100. As my family looked over which four laces they would choose, the store started to fill with more African women who were eager to find a good deal on lace.

I just stood there quietly and looked around and kept wondering to myself if any of these ladies would flood a local African store if they had a sale like this.

In the car I asked my mother a simple question “Why don’t we support our own?” She responded by saying that sometimes our own cheat us. My mother went on to explain that if she and my aunt had gone to an African owned store to get this type of lace it would cost them $100 or more for one piece.

This experience has impacted the way I look at our community and our lack of support for each other. Im not saying that we never support each other, but let’s be honest, the majority of people support each other only when it involves weddings, baby naming, and funerals.

When I asked others why they didn’t support Ghanaians that often I heard answers about lack of respect, being cheated out of money in the past and not wanting to deal with inferior goods.

The mentality of not supporting our own is not only seen here abroad but also can be found back home on the continent. Many people don’t buy local items, everyone wants to buy international/foreign items. Did you know Ghana produces their own rice yet many Ghanaians would rather purchase their rice from places like America and Asia?

I read awhile ago about a Ghanaian cement manufacturer that had to close down operations because Ghanaians preferred to buy international cement instead. That is not were the lack of support ends. One of the best selling fast food restaurants in Ghana is not owned by Ghanaians, and concerts that get the most publicity and sell out are the ones that are headlined by international artists and have few Ghanaian artists partake in them.

My question is, where did this mentality of it being ok to not support each other come from?

What will happen in the future if we don’t support our own?

Will our businesses have to constantly close down because of our desire for foreign items?

Do you think the lack of support in our community is serious?

What do you think are some solutions to the lack of support amongst our people?

Have your say below

By Daniela Domfeh

WAM Campaign: Sky Dive Fundraiser

To raise money in support of the WAM Campaign, Ambassador Fiifi Atta Mills, Ernest Simons, Dzifa & Members of the Me FiRi GHANA Team decided to (for some reason!) JUMP OUT OF A PLANE.

This was no ordinary thing! We were strapped against a professional and pushed out of a plane from 13,000 feet in the air.

But it is not about us. It’s about the kids we raised money for in Ghana as we supported the WAM Campaign. (More info. on WAM – happening this Christmas in Ghana – coming soon)


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