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BARD STUDENTS WILL HOLD AN INFORMATIONAL COMMUNITY MEETING ABOUT THE GHANA PROJECT Students seek support from community for fundraising projects to help build school in Ghana, West Africa

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The Ghana Project, run by students in Bard College's Trustee Leader Scholar Program, is beginning to organize fundraising efforts for support of its January 2003 trip to West Africa, where students will be working on construction of a junior secondary school and a public sanitation project. In addition to the work the students will undertake when they travel to Africa next year, the Ghana Project seeks to raise awareness--both on the Bard Campus and in the Hudson Valley area--of the political, social, and economic situation in Ghana, and also bring attention to international service opportunities. There will be an informational community meeting and slide presentation about the project, presented by its student coordinators, Sophie Friedson-Ridenour and Ryan Schwarz, on Wednesday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m., in the Red Room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center.

Once funds are raised to support the trip, the students will travel to Adafeanu, Ghana, where in addition to the project they will participate in the traditional cultural activities of the Ewe people, one of the five ethnic groups in Ghana. The students will live in the village and take dance and language courses facilitated by members of the Adafeanu community.

The Ghana Project chose the town of Adefeanu primarily because of the dire economic conditions and the lack of educational opportunities there. The funds that they seek to raise this year will support the construction of the school (to be built by local Ghanaian contractors). Once building is completed, 180 Ewe children will be able attend school through the 9th grade. Currently the community has only one school that allows education through 6th grade. Teaching staff will be provided by the Ghanaian government. Once the students have graduated from the 9th grade they will be able to attend high schools and colleges outside of the village. The sanitation project includes the construction of 20 community pay toilets--improving sanitation throughout the village and providing income for community projects.

Dr. Steven Friedson, a professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Northern Texas who has been leading similar programs in Ghana for the past nine years, will serve as the Ghana Project's liaison in the country. In addition, Katherine Gould-Martin, director of the Bard in China program, will accompany the group as a volunteer.

Previous successful projects by students in the Trustee Leader Scholars Program at Bard include the construction of a school building in Thailand, near the Burmese border. Thirteen students worked on this project in January 2001 and January 2002, and also taught English to the 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-grade Burmese students. This project was supported by the Henriquez Fund as well as other donors. The Mexico Orphanage Project, also run by Bard students, organizes a one- to two-month internship at the Santa María del Méxicana Orphanage.

The Trustee Leader Scholar Program provides an opportunity for Bard students to experiment with and refine personal leadership styles and learn how to operate effectively in the world. Students are selected for their demonstrated excellence in academics and leadership. All of them are engaged in specific world-changing projects for the duration of their college years. The primary mission of the program is the development of passionate, able, effective adults who will make a lifelong difference in the greater social fabric.

For further information about the Ghana Project, call project coordinator Ryan Schwarz at 845-752-4817 or e-mail For further information about the Trustee Leader Scholar Program at Bard, call 845-758-7056 or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 03-29-2002