The beautiful smiles on the faces of these happy toddlers (pictured above) do not come about because they are in one of the Grade ‘A’ schools as you may think, but because they have found themselves at a place better than they would have otherwise been.
The mere fact that they will no longer be on the streets, at the back of their mothers plugging away under the blazing sun daily, is enough to make them enjoy life as children born into this world.
Thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Ellen Nti and her Grace Educational Centre in Accra Central who have consistently picked these street-bound children from their mothers, who are mostly “Kayayei” and market women at Kantamanto and Tudu markets.
There are currently 170 tots under her care with the assistance of other volunteer teachers who try to make these future leaders get the needed care until they reach the age to enter primary school.
From there, some of them continue to primary and Junior High Schools in the area. Others have even completed Senior High Schools and have found themselves useful in society, according to Mrs. Nti, who is the Proprietress.
The school, established in the early 1970’s by Mrs. Nti’s late mother, is situated on a piece of land less than a quarter of a plot right behind the walls of the St. Andrew Lodge No. 11 of the Grand Lodge of Ghana, in the Central Business District. The plot is part of a stretch of land which Mrs. Nti described as an “abandoned road project by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly”.
Mrs. Nti and her volunteers go to the market and do a lot of talking to the women to convince them to bring their children to the school. They then walk the children to the CMB area and cross the busy road in front of the Accra Region Police Command and further walk a distance of about 300 metres to the school.
Recently, a mini-bus was presented to the school by a transport operator to convey the children to and from Tudu and Kantamanto but at a fee of Ghc 50 a day.
She however mentioned that due to the growing number, it has become necessary to expand and put up a permanent infrastructure to serve the purpose of the school but their challenge is that, the AMA has refused them permit to develop the land.
“We have written several letters to the AMA to consider our situation and grant us permit but we don’t hear anything from them,” Mrs. Nti said, sounding disappointed.
She therefore called for support from the AMA and other benevolent organizations to support them in their desire to make the facility more accommodating and fitting for the children.
'Help from above'
Mrs. Nti receiving the items on behalf of the school
One of such groups which has responded to her call, is the St. Andrew Lodge No. 11 of the Grand Lodge of Ghana. “Nonetheless, they are also demanding the permit before they can go ahead to help us build the school for the children,” she disclosed.
Members of the St. Andrew Lodge No. 11 on Monday 19th November, 2012, presented 300 copies of exercise books, play toys and provided lunch to the kids.
Expressing appreciation, Mrs. Nti noted, that was not the first time the St. Andrew Lodge No. 11 had been of help to them as she and her colleagues recalled the numerous helps the school had received from them.