Tzedek

Modern Star Primary School, also known as Morning Star, has hosted Tzedek volunteers in Ghana every summer for the past three years. Volunteers have returned each year over-whelmed and inspired by the dynamic Madame Cecilia, founder and driving force behind the school, who was herself orphaned and suffered many hardships in her youth.

Madame Cecilia originally set up the school in her garage, as a place of education and safety for orphaned girls who were being sent out to work as street sellers. She begged their parents to let them attend her school for free. As the government schools gave a far inferior education to that given in her garage class¬room, Madame Cecilia was soon persuaded to expand and take children of both genders, or¬phaned or not. In 2005, she moved to a larger, rented plot of land due to the increased number of children.

Today the school offers nursery to junior-high education to 177 children; free for the orphans and at very low fees for the non-orphans. But the lease on the current plot of land is due to expire in 2010 and the school buildings are in a dilapidated state, as the volunteers found this summer and wrote in their group blog:

“The classroom: three planks of wood; an aluminium roof; no electricity. And worst of all, the toilet is anywhere you want it to be. With an open space substituting for a door, we are frequently visited by a selection of farmyard animals, including goats, chickens and lizards. Our shacks resemble stables more than class¬rooms. On one occasion, a pupil returned to class to find his seat was being occupied by a chicken laying an egg. When monsoons hit, the lack of windows makes teaching virtually impos¬sible. Our shouts are drowned out by thunder¬storms and rain floods the classroom.”

In August the Overseas Projects Team recommended that Tzedek approve a grant application from Morning Star to enable the building of a solid three-classroom block with proper walls and floors, blackboards and electricity, on land given to them by the community. The grant was approved by Tzedek’s trustees and the three-month building project will commence in 2010. Madame Cecilia and the children are overjoyed and have started to buy the materials

The new school will accommodate an additional 60 children and its ongoing costs are being met through local and international donations. When Tzedek volunteers return next year, they should meet a very different situation at Morning Star.

This project has been gratefully funded by the Nicholas Roth Memorial Trust

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