Students return to Ghana to shape early years’ provision

A STUDENT who spent 10 days teaching youngsters in Ghanaian orphanages and schools has described her “amazing” experiences in the West African country.

Ashleigh Cannon, a second year childhood studies student at Sheffield Hallam University, went to Ghana to support the development of its early years’ provision, working in orphanages whilst lecturers took a leading part in conferences to shape the future of provision in the country.

Ashleigh, from Saffron Walden, said she would never forget her experiences.

“The trip to Ghana was the most amazing experience of my life. It opened my eyes to other cultures that are not as fortunate as us and also allowed us to help these people,” she said.

“The school I was placed in was a very poor school with no resources for the children. We took lots of books and toys and to begin with we had to demonstrate to the children how the toys should be played with as they did not know what to do with them.

“The children in the school were so happy and loved us being there and we miss them so much.”

Ashleigh, 21, said one of her best memories of Ghana was getting a little boy from the orphanage into school.

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“Our tutor had met this little boy last year but he could not go to school as he was classed as a ‘lost child’ and they thought his parents may return for him.

“A year later, they hadn’t so I spoke to the director of the school I was placed in. He said because we had all done such a fantastic job that he would waive the fees for this boy and he could start school the next day.

“This was one of the points of the trip that felt most rewarding. I was so happy for him and really felt like I had made a difference to his life.”

The trip also included a two-day conference on Early Childhood Development and Education in the Ghanaian capital of Accra.