Making the most of volunteering

Anita Acquaah Anita Acquaah

I’ve volunteered before for charities with causes that I am passionate about. After graduating I volunteered with The Women’s Empowerment Project then at my local MP’s office. I later volunteered with Women in Prison which was an enjoyable experience. But never had I volunteered abroad till over last Christmas.

I’ve regularly thought about volunteering in Ghana when I visit annually but the festive and family fun usually take up all my time then before I know it, I’m on a flight back home kicking myself for not using my time wisely enough!

I was motivated to volunteer this year as at Timebank we get five volunteering days a year. Alongside this, a group of friends of mine walked the Northern Line from Edgware all the way to Colliers Wood (fourteen hours!) to fundraise money for a school in Jamestown, Accra. Although I only walked with them for three out of the twenty-eight stops, mainly to encourage and cheer them on, it got me thinking about how I could lend my time in Ghana during my upcoming holiday.

I spent a day at Reggie the Queen Montessori Nursey and Primary School in Accra. Some primary schools in Ghana can cost as little as 20p daily which may seem minuscule to us but in Cedis (our national currency) it is more valuable, and not always affordable for some families. Regina’s school is catering for those who lack these funds and she has fitted the school with great facilities. The school is well fitted with a great library, music room, good sanitation, clean toilets and tons of space. The school is well structured and organised, and there are still improvements and developments to come which I hope to see on a future visit.

Spending time with the children was great, they were full of joy and eager to learn. I sat in on a Maths class and walked around speaking with the children, helping them solve problems. A friend and I then had a dance class with the after-school club pupils, we thought we would teach them some new tricks but it ended up being the other way around! The food at lunch was also 10/10!

Volunteering is my way of “giving something back” and specifically in the form of teaching (also on our Talking Together project) has improved my confidence.