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Completed Projects

Summer Update 2009

Building blocks...

Back in June this year (2009) we started to produce our first bricks using soil from our land mixed with cement and pozolana. We used some of these bricks to construct a single room on one end of the storage shed we had built for the bricks, intending it to serve as a tools room. However, it proved so successful that we decided to turn it into a caretaker’s residence! The brick-making programme has continued since, whenever funding is available to buy the cement. Thanks go to local builder Pastor Samuel who supplied us with the brick machines and training, and also to the BRRI (Building and Roads Research Institute) whose advice and expertise has been much appreciated.

The bricks have also been used in the beginning stages of the new building on-site – the foundations have been completed and the first few rows of brick laid. Now that the short rain season has set in we must pause at this point in order to safeguard against brickwork being washed away. However, we hope to continue with the building in the dry season from November-March, funds allowing. Although the building was originally designed as an administration block for Mat-to-fore, we are exploring the option of using it as the first foster home – see our fundraising page for more details!

 


Time for play!

A welcome addition to the Mat-to-fore site is a playground for the children, boasting a set of swings, a two-way slide, a four-seater seesaw, and a twelve-seater merry-go-round. This playground has without doubt transformed the life of the school! Here are some photos of the children enjoying their new facilities during their first week back at school…


 

Not just a toilet block...

The biogas toilet that was started last summer (2008) has been brought to near-completion, as a result of an intensive programme undertaken by a team of local masons and plumbers under the able supervision of volunteer architect Gareth Selby. The toilet building has been plastered inside and out, and a second toilet has been fitted.

 

 Biogas is basically a self-sustainable energy source whereby human/animal waste is allowed to decompose (in a sealed chamber of course!) and the gas produced is collected and used as fuel. Mat-to-fore’s system is now complete following the sealing of the digester chamber and the laying of pipe work to carry the gas produced to the pre-school, where a biogas lamp has been fitted to test the system as soon as enough gas is produced. The digester chamber will be fed with waste from the two toilets, but also with cow dung and vegetable waste in order to boost the amount of gas produced. An overflow cesspit has been constructed to collect any excess water produced in the decomposition process – this water can then be used as a fertilizer for the land. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Waste not, want not”!

 

A big thank you to our biogas expert, architect Gareth Selby, for all of his hard work and advice on this project.

 

The water tower has been completed and is ready to hold the tank that we hope will supply the toilets, showers, and also the kitchen (when it is built). The hope is to fit a pump system that will transfer water from the well to the tank. Since the water that will be coming through this system is clean and potable we are also looking at other possibilities for servicing the toilets, such as using collected rainwater. Watch this space!

 

The harvest begins

By God’s grace we now have a live-in caretaker who is responsible for security and farming on-site. One of the best farmers in the village offered his services to us voluntarily to help cultivate some crops. We offered him the job of resident-caretaker, with a monthly wage as well as a place to live, and he did not hesitate to accept it! His appointment formally took effect from 1st September and we have already seen a good harvest of beans, with cassava, yam, and plantain on the way. These will be used in the school meals, with any extra sold to defray expenses.

 

Orphan update

We extend our gratitude to those who responded to the plight of the orphaned children, and are pleased to report that they have been able to stay in the village in their own home. A distant cousin has come to live with them as their carer, and with the help of sponsors through Mat-to-fore the children are being looked after and provided for – the first, we hope, of many young lives touched and empowered by the ministry of Mat-to-fore, by God’s grace.

 

Sad news from Kotei...

It is with sadness that we report the death of one of three children recently orphaned in the village. Mary, who was 15 or 16 when her single-parent mother died a few months ago, could have been the carer for her younger two siblings. However, Mary was increasingly unwell herself and needed constant attention and medication. Mat-to-fore saw the need to extend a loving and caring hand to these needy children, in keeping with our vision. Osei and Florence sought a foster carer for them and the village chief stepped up, taking them into his own home on a temporary basis. Mat-to-fore also sought to contribute to medication and feeding costs, and have been pursuing the prospect of sponsors for the children. Unfortunately Mary was severely malnourished, and her health deteriorated. She sadly passed away on Sunday, 31st May.

 

Our concern now is to provide help and support for her younger siblings, both as they grieve and for the future. We must pray and act quickly. The children need money for food, schooling, health needs and general welfare. Their foster carer will also need some support and encouragement. If you feel you would like to give towards this cause, either as a regular sponsor or even as a one-off donation at this difficult time, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Pre-school May report

Mat-to-Fore Preparatory School is now in its third term. A tremendous transformation has happened in the lives of 36 children from the village of Kotei, who would normally be found loitering about doing nothing. These are the children who were either too young to travel the distance to the nearest village for schooling, or whose parents did not see the value of education, and so gave them no encouragement and support to go to school. Their ages range from four to twelve years.

They were all put together in one class during the first term, but have now been separated into two classes – KGI and KGII. The KGIs are between the ages of four and five years, while the KGIIs are between six and twelve years. As a result of the separation, another teacher has been engaged to help Mr. Azuma.

 

It is so encouraging to see the improvements in the lives of these children within such a short period of time. Not only have they developed an orderly routine of getting up early each day to have their bath, dress up in their uniform, and get to school on time, they have also learned how to go through assembly, seat themselves orderly in their classrooms, and pay attention to lessons taught them, mainly through recitations, poems and games. They now know how to welcome any stranger who enters their classroom, sing a song about how good their school is, and recite various poems, all in English.
Having been taught how to pronounce the English alphabets and count basic numbers, they are now going to move into learning how to identify and write them. They will start writing with chalk on slates before they later graduate into using pencils and pens. This will be their main academic exercise during this summer term.

 

 

STOP PRESS: Kotei Preparatory School opens!

School in sessionOctober 28th 2008 was a monumental day in the lives of the villagers, as Kotei's first educational establishment opened its doors for the first time. The pre-school will provide valuable preparation for primary education, and at the moment has 30 pupils enrolled aged from 3-8years old. This may seem like a large age range for a pre-school, but some of the older ones have never begun to attend the primary school in the next village and so are in desperate need of teaching. It is envisaged that the children will spend 2 years at pre-school before moving on to primary level.

 

Two assistants have been engaged to help in the pre-school, and are overseeing the children's progress through the national curriculum. During the school day the children will be provided with a meal to nourish their bodies as well as their minds, and equip them for learning. A temporary kitchen has been set up until we are able to construct a kitchen block, and catering staff have been hired locally.

 

A group of the villagers, including the chief, have formed a 'school board' to encourage involvement in their children's education. Together with Osei and Florence they have agreed that children entering the pre-school will pay a small one-off admission fee (around £3.50), which includes the price of their uniform, and then a token amount towards food each day (around 10p). However, those for whom this is not possible will not be excluded and we hope in the future to set up a child sponsorship fund to cater for this.

School buildingThe building itself is one large room that can be split into 2 smaller classrooms, and local materials (such as bamboo) have been used wherever possible. A toilet and washroom block has been constructed and is awaiting the final fitting of accessories. When complete it will offer four toilets - two male and two female - and two shower rooms. In the meantime a temporary latrine has been provided, in accordance with government regulations, so that the pre-school can open.

 

 

 

School roll

 

The running costs for the school are estimated to be around £250 per month - this includes paying the teacher, assistants, kitchen staff, and caretaker as well as providing food (enough materials for the year such as pencils, paper, paints etc. have been kindly donated by UK supporters and volunteers). Details of how you can help us meet this financial commitment can be found on our Fundraising page.

 

Fresh Water

When Mat-to-fore arrived in April 2006, the village of Kotei had no fresh water supply - women and children had to walk to a nearby pool (about 45 mins) and carry it back. Thanks to fundraising efforts in the UK, August 2006 saw a borehole drilled and a pump installed in the village to the delight of all the inhabitants – but particularly the children, who watched the work being done with great interest! The pump brings water up from the water table, over 30 metres below the ground.

 

Here we see Osei testing the freshly installed pump, and the children doing their bit to help unload the PVC pipes!

 

Water for a villageWater for a village

 


On land...
The land purchased by Mat-to-Fore in 2006 is being put to good use as farmland as it awaits development. August 2007 provided a good crop of maize, some of which was sold and the money put back into the land. A local man is employed as caretaker, and some volunteers from the youth group of a south London church helped with the harvesting during their visit.


Healthcare
During October 2007, health specialist Kate Hutton visited Kotei and conducted two training sessions in basic hygiene and health. Some of the villagers have already taken on board the advice given such as the practice of hand-washing, although old habits die hard!


Children’s work
Work with the children of Kotei has been ongoing since summer 2006. Florence attends the village regularly to lead the children in singing and games, and she has also started a book club with books that have been sent from the UK. Sometimes she includes a story-time from the Bible.

Volunteers visiting from the UK have helped in the children’s work, whether by bringing games and musical instruments, by helping the older children practise their English, or by nourishing and caring for the children just by spending time with them. During summer 2006 and 2007 the global organisation “Youth for Christ” also got involved, bringing a group of teenagers from the nearest city Kumasi to work with the children and so providing positive role models from close to home.