Building My Platform For Yaarah Schools

Adizah Tejani, a former volunteer on overseas programme Platform2, reflects upon a busy month (and year) working for global development; from P2 to her contribution for Yaarah Schools…

As September drew to a close I took a step back to reflect upon a busy month and year. One thing that has tied together all my experiences is education…

Raising £900 to help provide a learning lifeline to children in village schools through Yaarah Schools, helping raise awareness of the MDG goals through a video that ended up having world-wide coverage and finally meeting Nick Clegg and Andrew Mitchell, to prove that there are young people who do care about development issues!

Firstly let’s start with Yaarah Schools. Yaarah Schools is a project that was set up in order to help improve the educational prospects of children in villages, by providing them with a learning lifeline. We have started in Adaklu Aziedukope Ghana.

The inability of government to provide all schools with adequate buildings led to the pursuit for a sustainable solution. A year ago I was in Kasapin, Ghana due to P2. Even though I was not at the Yaarah Schools project, my P2 experience allowed me to have a better understanding of the education system. I taught in the government school, and I split my teaching of current affairs between two classes of 14 to 18 year olds. There were about 60 students in one class and 40 in another. This was by no means an easy task to handle, but I embraced the challenge even though the teaching resources were minimal.

These children were lucky enough to have a classroom. Imagine trying to teach 60 14-16 year olds with minimal resources. The resources I had brought with me were a copy of the DFID mag, The Economist and some chalk. This experience made me understand how well resourced the education system in the UK actually is. In this day and age where education is viewed as fundamental in shaping one’s mind, and being an MDG goal, it is a shame that due to the context of a person’s situation they may not be able to have knowledge due to having inadequate classroom facilities.

So last October (2009), I arrived back home to finish my degree in International Development. I was further inspired to have a positive impact and Yaraah Schools was a way in which I felt I could do this. In the past year the team have raised over £5000 in a range of ways; from cake sales in Norwich, jewellery sales in Manchester and a fantastic cultural event called Fusionite in the heart of London.

Fusionite took place a few weeks ago, on September 6 at Avalon in Shoreditch. We had spent the whole summer bringing together musicians, designers, models and poets in preparation for a great night. However, in true London style the week before the event, it was announced that there would be a tube strike on the same day of the show… Yes, this made me really angry and annoyed; yet I knew that we had to push ahead with the show. In the end it was a great night and the Yaarah Schools team rose £900!

All the organising of rehearsals, calling acts, finding a venue and sorting out great food all worked out. And just a week ago two team members went out to build the next classrooms – check them out here.

Without my Platform2 experience I would not have been able to gain a deeper understanding of how the education system in Ghana works. So volunteering and fundraising for Yaarah Schools has led me to have a stronger belief that change is possible.

As posted on Ctrl Alt Shift

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