Louise Barea Completes Library for Maranatha School in Ghana’s ‘Mini Gibraltar’ – The Village of Kewunor // Photos provided by Gianni Cumbo Photography & Videography
A massive amount has changed since GHA nurse and relentless philanthropist Louise Barea first landed in Kewunor, Ghana on a mission to build a better future for this impoverished fishing village in 2013.
The last time we spoke with Louise 5 months ago, she had already made a massive impact on the local community through the completion of 12 classrooms for Maranatha School, which is now attracting students from all over Ghana.
In that interview, Louise told us that her mind was strongly set on constructing a library over the summer.
Fast forward a few months, and construction commenced on the 3rd of June. With the sheer determination of small army of highly devoted Gibraltarians, local workers and some of the school kids themselves, the Maranatha library was finally completed at record speed: 6 weeks.
The initial fundraising goal for the library was £21,000, and with the continuing help of the Gibraltarian community and local businesses, as well as donations from abroad, an impressive £31,000 was raised.
“Since we managed to raise more than anticipated we were able to purchase items such as pillars for the library entrance, extra material to build stairs at the entrance and basically make the library look much better than originally planned”, Louise told Reach-Alcance, who is immensely grateful to her team of volunteers.
“Ah my volunteers, I have nothing but love for them all and when I think about the massive difference they have made to my beloved community, I can’t help but smile. A total of 29 volunteers, including myself, travelled to Ghana to build the library. Then we hired 15 local workers.”
This project was pushed forward by a team consisting mainly of women, with 3 men among the volunteers, with an age range from 17 – 55 years old. The youngest volunteer was Janelle Alcantara who was accompanied by her older sister as her guardian. Janelle said:
“I had people telling me that I should wait a few years because I’m too young and that it would have been very hard living under the same conditions as the locals, and to be honest it hasn’t been easy, but the good things outweigh the bad.”
The team were involved in the manual labour aspect of the construction; carrying sand, bricks and cement for the new library in the hot sun and sandy terrain of Kewunor from 9 am – 4 pm (and sometimes even later) and were also involved with entertaining and giving classes, such as lessons in personal hygiene.
Louise told us that on returning to Kewunor this June, a lot of progress had already been made socially. The practise of caning students, which she has been campaigning hard to abolish for some time, was finally put an end to:
“I was so happy to hear that with all that hard work and meetings with the Ghana education department, the children’s parents and lots of lawyers, the Ghana education department had taken action and teachers are no longer allowed to cane students.”
In addition to this big step in social reform, two more fully furnished classrooms had been completed with funds raised during Christmas 2018 and with the support of Bassadone Motors, 6 new teachers had been contracted to solve the school’s increasing student population and 3 more local families enrolled their children to the school.
Big strides forward have been made in the past 6 years that this project has been in operation, and Louise tells us that this is only the beginning…
“The school really needs a nursery so that we can separate the younger ones from the older ones – at the moment the classes are mixed, so you can image what that is like sometimes… classes get interrupted by groups of toddlers playing and accidents happen during playtime, so they definitely need a different area for the younger ones; that’s next year’s project.”
“But before this I need to finish furnishing the library and fix a few classrooms which are in a dire state … so I am hoping to be able to complete this prior to starting the next big project…”
The Reach-Alcance team would also like to say a big thank you to Louise and Help Me Learn Africa for including a plaque with our name on it at the brand-new library!
Do you want to help to make a difference to this village in Ghana? Make sure you go to www.helpmelearnafrica.com and click the donate button!
Louise Barea Completes Library for Maranatha School in Ghana’s ‘Mini Gibraltar’ – The Village of Kewunor