Projects

“The Friends Foundation”

Introduction
The local project, the ‘Friends Foundation’, a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) in Ghana has been one of the motivating reasons for starting The Dreams in Africa Foundation. Noor van Hout, founder of Dreams in Africa, spent a year (January 2009 t/m January 2010) in the traditional community of Klikor-Agbozume, a rural underdeveloped area (Volta Region) in South East Ghana as coordinator of ‘Friends Children’s Home and Orphanage’; part of The Friends Foundation. Noor worked closely, and lived with children and workers of the orphanage and school. The people of the local community embraced her as if she was one of them. This special and educational experience gave her lifelong closeness to these people.

Friends Children's Home and Orphanage

Background
Ghana is in West Africa, on the gulf of Guinea. The country has approximately 19,000,000 inhabitants, the majority living below poverty level. This makes Ghana a developing country.

The Friends Foundation was founded in 1993 and has been managed by a Ghanaian pastor/project manager. With the help of his wife and some local staff members, the orphanage and school provides care, support and education for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).

The orphanage is shortly named “Friends Home” and the school is named “El Shaddai International School Complex”, ‘El Shaddai’ in short. Together they are The Friends Foundation.  Around 35 children between 0-21 years old, live in the orphanage, a haven to keep them from suffering they have endured either from neglect, abuse, poverty, child labor, child trafficking and death of parents. They can’t live with their parents or family members and so Friends Home provides a shelter, food and care for these children. In addition, they are raised and supported into adulthood and independence, according to major Ghanaian values (based on Christian faith) and are encouraged to acquire professional skills through education. The children of the orphanage are attending the school of El Shaddai. This is a Primary and Junior High School, where a total of almost 600 children from Klikor and surrounding rural villages, enjoy education. The new school complex is in association with two Dutch foundations; Foundation to Build (www.stichtingbouwen.nl) and Foundation Plan Africa (www.stichtingplanafrika.nl) in its entirety (three school buildings, canteen and toilet facilities) completed and delivered in January 2010.

El Shaddai International School ComplexOpening nieuwe school complex 'El Shaddai'

Activities
In 2009, alot changed and improvements were made on the policy (innovative development plans and projects, staff and parent policy) and the accommodation of the orphanage and school. The enlargement of the project, which is dependent on non-structural donations from the West, however resulted in financial and staffing shortages. This makes development and restructuring of the project difficult. This also means that not enough skilled and educated employees can be recruited, so there is no well-functioning team. Reorganization and personnel training are therefore required to increase the quality of care and so that health care and education can be improved. This will be done in the next two years.

The following activities (projects) specifically lead to sustainability of The Friends Foundation:
Farm project 'Tarkpekope'– The Farm and vegetable gardens: on 8 different pieces of farmland different crops (like maize, cassava, beans, peanuts and vegetables) are grown, which provides food and income for the orphanage. In the future, the farm might expand to include livestock. In addition, firewood is also a major product of the land, for cooking;
– Kentey weaving: the children of the orphanage learn the most practiced and traditional trade of the Volta Region.

Traditionele Kentey weaving projectThe weaving of fine silk into traditional, luxurious fabrics can be sold on the local market and may serve as an export product to America and Europe through international contacts;
– The Bakery: With the purchase of their own furnace bread consumption can be ensured among the orphans to expansion their diet, as bread (a luxury product) is normally too expensive. It will also provide income through the sale of bread and cake in the school canteen (run by the wife of the project manager);
– The Credit Union (micro-credit provision): on the basis of local contributions and sponsorships + interest, a savings opportunity and micro loans availability has been created so that the children in the orphanage and the people in the community are able to invest in the future and build on their lives.

Since January 2010 Noor is also active as a board member of The Friends Foundation (NGO), in which she filles an advisory and supporting role through direct contact with the project manager in Ghana.

“Future Stars International”

Introduction

Future Stars International is a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Buduburam. Buduburam is in the Gomoa East District, the Central Region, of Ghana. We aim to improve health and educational opportunities for the less privileged children in the Buduburam community through projects which rely on the support of volunteers from around the world. Our work supports the principles of the UN Global Compact and aims to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Our grassroots organization has taken the lead in the community of Buduburam, Ghana. Future Stars is addressing the needs of some of the more than 5,000 less privileged children in the Gomoa East district. Currently, Future Stars provides educational services and counseling to 150 less privileged and vulnerable children between the ages of 4-15 years.

Services include providing food, clothing, health care, educational opportunities, and life skills training.

Our methods of eradicating poverty:

  1. Creating educational opportunities and reducing illiteracy.
  2. Researching the local causes of child labour in order to eliminate it.
  3. Hosting HIV/AIDS awareness seminars
  4. Focusing on children’s self-confidence to improve their ability and capacity to learn.
  5. Teaching gender equality through discussion.

Mission and vision

To promote education in impoverished rural communities with solution-oriented projects that enable people to lift themselves out of poverty. We focus on empowering people, particularly the less privileged so that they can become agents of proactive change within their local communities.

Our vision is to become the driving force in education, health, and safety for the impoverished in Ghana.

Programs and services

Education: Future Stars operates a primary school in Buduburam which gives access to basic education and feeding to 150 less privileged children in the community. The primary school has helped to establish the name and trust of the organization with Ghana Education Service.

Child Labor Project: In 2017, Future Stars recognized the need to support Child labor victims. Children are forced into labor in Buduburam and the fishing villages (Senya and Fetteh) for years at a time and exploited with little to no compensation. Some children labor because of their family’s financial circumstances; in desperation, a family may force their child into service for a small sum of money. We strive to eliminate child labor through education, rehabilitation and community empowerment.

Public Health Program: Future Stars International has therefore placed a great importance on health work in the Buduburam area. In order to help alleviate many of these endemic health problems, Future Stars works closely with local administrators, community members and stake holders to improve the health of the surrounding area. We are involved in several projects, each of which aims to provide long-lasting impacts and emphasize prevention. These projects include education in schools and assisting at the local health clinics.

Each month, the public health team travels and conducts health talks to the students at district schools. The topics of these talks include symptoms, treatment, and prevention of malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrhea and more. Future Stars recognizes the power of the youth to lead change in their communities and aims to provide them with the knowledge necessary for action and empower them to work for change. Students are encouraged to not only learn the information, but to put it into practice, as well as to share the information with their families and community members.

Organizational Structure (board, staff, volunteers):

Future Stars International is made up of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals. Members of our team engage in research and filed operations, programs implementations and community awareness projects. Future Stars International consists of a Board of Directors, an Executive Director (Programs Director), Finance and Administrative Director, Administrative Secretary, Project Coordinators and Field Facilitators (Project Assistants). Future Stars International is supported by a Board of Directors. This board advices the organization on the implementation of projects and formulates policies for the organization. The field teams are directly responsible to the Board of Directors, and are required to submit costs of projects, proposals, and updates on a regular basis, as well as at General Meetings. Future Stars International also receives various interns and volunteers from abroad.

Future Stars’ major programs:

  • Education standard program
  • Operating a primary school which supports 150 less privileged children in the community
  • Feed A Soul program that ensures that our 150 children receives a protein rich meal throughout the year in our primary school.
  • Child Labor and Trafficking program
  • Public Health: Education, Empowerment and Assessment program

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