It was one year ago that we first visited the village. Facing the expansive Lake Volta, this area is rare for its mountains and rich greenery. Close to 1,000 people live in this village. Most dwellings have mud walls and thatched roofs. While there is electricity, there is no running water, and transportation is on foot.
The village is currently too poor to have a school. In order to make ends meet, children under elementary school age help their parents with agriculture, go to work in the market, and engage in other work without schooling.
During conversations with villagers, we learned that many adults want to give the children a chance to learn. Amidst the poverty, this dream remains as yet unfulfilled.
We began to imagine what it would be like if our own children were unable to go to school. Seeking to make the villagers’ dreams a reality, we decided that the solution was to build a school.
Chocolate School summary (plans for 20 new rooms, including the below)
◇ Elementary school: 6 classrooms (slated to have 220 students)
There is one classroom for each respective grade from 1-6. Whether the weather is rainy or windy, students will be able to take part in lessons.
◇ Kindergarten: 2 classrooms (slated to have 60 students)
Two classrooms are respectively available for children of medium and older age. The kindergarten classrooms are a lively place, with a blocked structure separating the elementary school area from the kindergarten, allowing the elementary schoolers to focus on their studies.
◇ Computer lab
Ghana is putting its energies into ICT-enabled education. However, schools in the countryside are struck with problems like only having a single computer, or the only computer available being broken. By obtaining valuable computer skills, everyone from children to adults will gain new opportunities here.
◇ Faculty room
This room is where the faculty congregate. They hold meetings and prepare lessons here. The room also stores important school materials.
◇ Dormitory for faculty
There is currently no place for faculty to live in Abui-Tsita Villae. This region does not have good traffic access, so it is difficult for schooling to proceed as planned if the faculty have to commute. By having the faculty reside in the dormitory during the week, they can secure time for classes and promote better education.
The school will implement a lunch system, something still unusual in Ghana, giving children a chance to eat in between lessons. In other schools, only those children who can bring together enough money to buy a lunch get to eat, purchasing items from women who come to the school to sell them. Most children, however, go without lunch until school ends.
A school should be a place where children can learn how to become adults on the road of life. At the same time, we feel that the new school should become a place for the entire village, both for children and adults alike. Instead of being solely a place for children to learn at, it will be a community site where adults can congregate and engage in activities together.
If the school becomes one where the adults take part and watch over the children as a village, the region as a whole will thrive. We want to create a special kind of school that is true to Abui-Tsita and would be found nowhere else.
The children of the village try to make ends meet each day, living under conditions as trying as having lost their families, parents with AIDS or alcoholism, being victims of abuse, and more.
Amidst these conditions, children do not have access to education and in many cases learn to give up, simply silently accepting the difficult circumstances and growing into adults without having overcome these issues. Many children turn to work as a way to make ends meet. Yet there remain many children who have yet to see their dreams become reality.
By giving them the gift of education, the children will gain exposure to a new world of learning.
By developing curiosity, wonder, and imagination, they will gain dreams they never even thought possible and learn to not give up. This school is more than a school: it is intended to give the children of the future a chance to learn, give them hope, and support their changing the future of our society.
Giving these children a chance to get one step closer to their dreams represents a very significant project. This school will become not only a space for the children, but a central site for the community. Those villagers who did not lead a fulfilling life as children can return to school for basic education and learn of its importance.
Not only will this become a chance for the adult villagers to think about their children’s futures, but it will be a chance for the adults themselves to gain new opportunities. We are driving forward this school project as a place where everyone in the village can come together.
Board director, Doooooooo (NPO); President, DOYA Co., Ltd.
Born August, 1985
Native of Tokyo
March 2008: Faculty of Economics, Keio University
April 2008: Financial Sales, Goldman Sachs Japan
November 2010: Founded Doooooooo
November 2014: Leaves Goldman Sachs Japan
January 2015: Founds DOYA Co., Ltd. as its president
September 2015: Launches CLOUDY apparel brand
These funds will be used to assist in the construction of a school in Abui-Tsita Village in Ghana.
After the school is built, the remaining funds will be used towards its operation, for school lunches for the children, for uniforms, and other running costs.
Based on the conditions of construction site in Ghana, the slated date and time of completion in November may be delayed.