EXHIBITION OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY BARD STUDENTS IN GHANA ON VIEW AT THE BERTELSMANN CAMPUS CENTER THROUGH MARCH 21 Eleven students raised over $20,000 to help build school in Ghana, West Africa
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-An exhibition of photographs by students in the Ghana Project taken during their January 2003 trip to West Africa will be on view daily through March 21 at Bard's Bertelsmann Campus Center. The Ghana Project, part of the Trustee Leader Scholars (TLS) Program at Bard, 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 bring attention to international service opportunities. The primary organizers of the project are second-year students Sophia Friedson-Ridenour and Ryan Schwarz.
According to Paul Marienthal, director of the TLS Program, 11 students raised more than $20,000 from the community to pay for the construction of a secondary school in Adafeanu, Ghana. The students, traveling with Katherine Gould-Martin, director of the Bard in China Program, paid for all the materials as well as a primary contractor for the construction of the school. Working alongside African workers for three weeks, the students saw the completion and dedication of the school during their January 2003 trip. The photos in the exhibition show the finished school, ready for 180 students. "This was a genuine contribution to the life of the village," says Marienthal.
In addition to the construction project the students participated in traditional cultural activities of the Ewe people, one of the five ethnic groups in Ghana. They lived in the village and studied 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. With the completion of the school, 180 Ewe children are now able attend school through the 9th grade. Prior to this, the community had only one school that permitted education through the 6th grade. The teaching staff for the new school is 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.
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 and the Trustee Leader Scholars Program, call 845-758-7056 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #