Miyawezo! Greetings from Ghana!

When I arrived in November I was informed of many of the wonderful outreach missions of the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church Ghana, including reforestation projects, mobile free clinics, schools and colleges, programs for abandoned children, cultural preservation efforts, reforestation, and AIDS outreach, to name a few. Over the course of the next two years I will be privileged to visit and learn more about many of these projects. At the moment I am working with two of these projects with the possibility of adding another.

When I arrived in November I was informed of many of the wonderful outreach missions of the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church Ghana, including reforestation projects, mobile free clinics, schools and colleges, programs for abandoned children, cultural preservation efforts, reforestation, and AIDS outreach, to name a few. Over the course of the next two years I will be privileged to visit and learn more about many of these projects. At the moment I am working with two of these projects with the possibility of adding another.

The Nenyo Haborbor Youth Rehabilitation Centre operates in Deme, on the outskirts of Ho. The program began nearly 15 years ago when Madam Olivia (pictured on the far right in the photo) noticed some children from the market hanging around her restaurant. Knowing that they had no food or shelter, Olivia began taking the children into her home. When the church recognized the extent of the homelessness problem among children working in the market, the Nenyo Haborbor project was created. Since then the program has expanded to currently include over 60 abandoned, trafficked, and runaway children.

Nenyo Haborbor (which means ‘a fresh start’ in Ewe) offers the children food, Bible study, an opportunity to go to school with all fees and supplies provided by the church, homework help and job skills training. Being part of the program gives the children some protection from being bought and sold by human traffickers in the market. Human trafficking remains a large issue in Ghana. The children at Nenyo Haborbor are also afforded the luxury of simply being children- with games, books, sports equipment and puzzles provided through the community and by visiting groups. There is a garden onsite that the children help to maintain, and a well is located nearby.

A building is currently under construction on the Nenyo Haborbor property to house about 40 male children from the program so that they will not have to continue to sleep outside in the ditches of the market. It is scheduled to be completed later this year. Then construction plans will begin for a girls’ dormitory and a small room for volunteers to rotate through to watch over the children at night.

The Activity Centre is one of many schools started by the EP Church in Ghana. It is also one of the smallest schools. The students at the Activity Centre in Ho all have a few things in common: they are all teenage mothers and they had all dropped out of their schools to raise their children. Employment prospects for teen mothers in Ghana are slim- if they are lucky they can take over a family market stall or a food stand. More likely they would live in poverty, dependent upon their boyfriends and their parents to raise their child.

The Activity Centre program gives these young women an opportunity to become independent. They are instructed in English, math, entrepreneurship, social studies and health sciences, but also in more practical job skills such as cooking, baking, crafts, and batik (cloth dyeing). The program is intense. The students leave their children and families behind to live in the Activity Centre dormitory for roughly 18 months and attend classes six days a week from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This group of students is the first to have the chance to obtain credentials (similar to an American high school diploma) proving their education by passing exams set by the National Vocational Training Institute. Some of these young women have been out of school for years, but they all have the same drive to learn and make the most of their time here.

There is a search underway for a new director for the school, as Madame Ayebi who has run the program since its inception is retiring. The school is also searching for new staff to train the students in dressmaking and in agriculture. There are plans to break ground on a new school building in the next year as the school currently operates out of one room attached to a mobile clinic.

On behalf of the EP Church, the Nenyo Haborbor Youth Rehabilitation Centre and the Activity Centre school, akbaykakaka (thank you greatly) for your support of Global Ministries missions.

Kristine Tisinger serves with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. She provides expertise and stability to the program for loving support and care so necessary for the growth of the children.