In rural Ghana, quality education and care for children in need can be difficult to access. But the community of Bawjiase has learned where vulnerable children can go to feel safe and cared for. United Hearts serves as a safehaven for all children in the community, providing food, shelter, an education, opportunity — and most importantly, a sense of possibility for themselves.
My name is Bernard Boateng, or Nana Bee, and I’m the Programs Manager at United Hearts Children Center in Bawjiase, Ghana. Our facility is in a small town with a population of 15,000, but despite our size, the people of Bawjiase are our biggest asset. They are friendly, sociable, dedicated to their work, and supportive of their neighbors. Even when it is difficult to do so, people help each other whenever necessary, because we work as a team. If one of us is struggling, we all do our best to lighten their load. When I walk to the top of the mountain and look down at our beautiful town, full of farmlands and beautiful nature, I feel proud to call this my home. I work with United Hearts because I hope to see the lives of my neighbors improve, as they become self-sufficient and able to provide for themselves and their families.
Many children in Bawjiase lack access to important resources which prevent them from reaching their full potential. At United Hearts, we work to increase every child’s chance of reaching his/her potential, regardless of financial ability, by providing as many children as we can with the resources they need. For the past 9 years we have provided stable and supportive housing, food, and care for over 30 local children; we also provide quality education to the hundreds of local children who would otherwise go without. We are dedicated to providing our children with quality resources so they may become leaders, positive role models, and contribute to the continued prosperity of the next generation.
Our work continues the work of our founder, Pastor Elisha. He was born in Ashanti Region in a town called Hwediem, and as he was growing up, he was passionate about caring for children and families who were in need. After becoming a Pastor, and the lord told him to go to Bawjiase. Once he arrived, he saw children and families struggling with no proper care, education, and health in the town, and also in communities beyond Bawjiase. So he began in 2007 with an orphanage, and also started a school. Now children who are deprived, underprivileged, vulnerable and abandoned are able to change their lives through good education, proper care, and healthcare.
I too am inspired to help my community. From a young, age my parents taught me the importance of helping those in need. Throughout my childhood I was a witness to their actions as they worked to provide support to individuals who lacked the resources they needed to raise their standard of living – even when we had our own struggles to bear. After years of seeing them act out in kindness for everyone around them, I grew to become passionate about providing support where I noticed room for improvement. As I grew older, I began following their lead and taking actions to improve the lives of those around me and I am very proud to say that now my life is dedicated to helping others reach their highest potential.
Some of the projects we foster to help our community include:
United Hearts School
The aim of this project is to improve the quality of education available to our community, as well as to generate income for other projects in our organization. The school building was started in June, 2013. It is a two-story building, and currently houses 4 classrooms and two offices. The school is still under construction. When complete, it will educate over 500 students. We currently have 147 students enrolled in nursery through grade four.
We have a number of farming projects that feed the school and provide income to support our growth.
Palm Nuts: We currently have three acres of land full of palm trees that we began harvesting in June, 2014. These trees have a long life span, so we can harvest them for an extended period and obtain the maximum income from our efforts.
Plantains: In October, 2014 we started farming plantains on 3 acres of land close to our orphanage. It takes a year or more for the plants to mature and bear fruits. We are waiting for them to begin bringing us a harvest, but we do not need to reinvest in new plants each year as the mother plant can give out many babies and before the mother plant is matured for harvest, its babies will replace it.
Mushrooms: We started this project in February, 2016, and are waiting for our first harvest. We have 8000 spawns at the moment, and expect that in 3-6 months we will have a good source of nutrition from our Oyster mushrooms.
Our work has made real impact on the community and we are making the investments needed to become more sustainable.
Bernard Boateng (Nana Bee)
CURRENT GLOBAL ADVOCATE
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