Monday, August 11, 2014

How Humber breathed new life to a school in Ghana

Donation from Humber goes a long way

By Paul Nguyen, Communications Coordinator, Humber College
This article originally appeared on
Humber Today

Nancy Simms is excited that Humber is making a difference in the world, not just locally, but 
globally.  As the director of Humber’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity, she organized last year’s fundraising drive with Humber Spa to raise money for the Ropak Educational Complex, a school in rural Ghana.

Students whose school fees were supported by Humber College

Because of Humber’s donation, the school has undergone a big transformation. As a show of appreciation, the school wants to name the main school block after Humber College.

Here’s the backstory.

In the spring of 2013, Simms participated in Uniterra’s Leave for Change, an international volunteer program in Canada sponsored by Humber.  Landing in Ghana, she hopped on a bus carrying a suitcase full of books and pencils to give to students. Simms travelled long hours to visit rural schools in the Ashanti region in southern Ghana.

“The schools are developed by small villages and get no government funding,” said Simms.

Simms shared this information with the Diversity Committee, where she received support from Deb McCarthy, vice-president of Human Resources, and President Chris Whitaker, to hold a fundraiser for the Ropak Educational Complex, a school of 589 students in the city of Kumasi in the rural Ashanti region.

Almost s$4,000 was raised and donated to Ropak with the aim of improving the academic performance of the school. The plan wa to use the money to upgrade the flooring in one classroom block, but it was realized that the money could support other projects in the school.

“We appreciate your extraordinary show of commitment to the development of the school,” the management, parents and pupils of Ropak wrote in a letter to the college. “We are dumbfounded by the gigantic support from Humber College.”

The letter contained over a dozen before and after photos of the school and a breakdown of all the expenditures. The donation was used in conjunction with funds from Ropak to update the floors and ceilings, and to acquire new furniture and desks for students. A library, staff room and computer room was also built. There remaining funds from Humber went to pay for school fees for eight needy children.

Simms is elated by the changes at Ropak. “It goes to show how the money has gone a long way,” said Simms. “I was impressed by the level of accountability and the impact the changes will have on the students.”

She is hoping Humber ECE students will visit Ropak and other regions to share teaching techniques.

“I would love to see a Humber map all over Kumasi one day,” said Simms.

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