Teens get valu­able lessons from Ghana pro­ject

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

BRI­TISH TEENAGERS have spent the sum­mer util­is­ing their youth move­ment lead­er­ship skills to help young Ghana­ians run a sum­mer camp for pri­mary school chil­dren in the north of the coun­try.

With the sup­port of in­ter­na­tional devel­op­ment char­ity Tzedek, youth lead­ers from FZY and Tribe spent three weeks work­ing with their Ghana­ian peers.

Among the Bri­tish par­tic­i­pants was Bushey United Syn­a­gogue mem­ber Jemima Moore, 17, who helped to run ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren in year four.

“I wanted to use my sum­mer wisely, us­ing my skills to ben­e­fit oth­ers and learn­ing new skills at the same time.”

Af­ter work­ing with the Ghana­ians, she now ap­pre­ci­ates that “hav­ing less isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bar­rier to hap­pi­ness.

“The way peo­ple in the com­mu­nity care for each other is amaz­ing. They are so friendly to all re­li­gions.”

Moun­ish Schim­mel, 17, a mem­ber of Cen­tral Square Minyan in Hamp­stead Gar­den Sub­urb, was an­other of the ten Bri­tons in­volved in set­ting up the camp for more than 360 pri­mary school chil­dren.

“I saw this op­por­tu­nity as a great chance to help peo­ple less for­tu­nate than I am — and at the same time learn new skills.”

He said his les­son from the pro­ject was “not to take things for granted. We are gen­er­ally quite priv­i­leged. Chil­dren here [in Ghana] have much less ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, re­sources and op­tions for jobs, yet they are still so happy.”

As part of the ini­tia­tive, the Ghana­ian youth lead­ers, who are mostly Mus­lim, re­ceived train­ing, as well the chance to take part in an en­tre­pre­neur­ial boot camp de­signed to get them on the busi­ness lad­der, thus help­ing them to es­cape poverty.

Ya­haya Ab­dul-Fataw, 19, said it was the first time he had en­coun­tered Jewish peo­ple.

“I learnt some Jewish songs and can now sing in He­brew,” he said. “It was re­ally good to meet peo­ple from a new re­li­gion.”

He added that the pro­ject not only helped him to im­prove his English. “I have gained re­spect in our so­ci­ety. Peo­ple have seen that I am in­volved in help­ing their chil­dren and now when I walk down the street chil­dren call out ‘there is Fataw’. That makes their par­ents happy and it makes me smile.”

The ven­ture has helped Ma­hami Mo­hamed, 23, to de­velop the lead­er­ship skills he will need to ac­com­plish his dream of be­com­ing a com­mu­nity leader. “I used to be un­able to speak in pub­lic due to be­ing very ner­vous. Now I am very con­fi­dent be­cause I have had lots of prac­tice.” He has also “learnt a lot about the Jewish peo­ple. We are very sim­i­lar in as­pects like our rules of ha­lal and kashrut.”

Tzedek chief ex­ec­u­tive Ju­dith Stan­ton said ed­u­ca­tion was a route out of ex­treme poverty.

The pro­ject — in part­ner­ship with a lo­cal NGO — had en­abled the pri­mary pupils “to fur­ther de­velop their English com­pre­hen­sion, nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy skills through an ex­tracur­ric­u­lar, in­for­mal struc­ture, as well as to learn about a range of so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

“Along­side the vol­un­teer­ing work, our par­tic­i­pants learned about in­ter­na­tional devel­op­ment, the Jewish re­sponses to poverty and so­cial jus­tice and how poverty af­fects the lives of com­mu­ni­ties in Ghana.”

We are very sim­i­lar in as­pects like ha­lal and kosher’

The Bri­tish vol­un­teers with Ghana lead­ers

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