Along with its microfinance unit, CRAN also sponsors social development projects. CRAN has built 5 schools in Ghana and has provided a community with clean running water. I recently got an opportunity to visit a CRAN sponsored school in the Abaenu community. To get to the village a 4×4 vehicle is a must. Once you turn off the nicely paved road headed to Accra, you embark on what is only comparable to a roller-coaster ride. For about 3 miles the truck bounced up-and-down, sided-to-side and every other way imaginable. After we arrived at the existing school it was apparent how badly another school building was needed, not because the current school was outdated or needed structural improvements, but because of how incredibly overcrowded the classrooms were. A leader from the village came to the CRAN offices and spoke with Teye, the director of social development projects, about the need for a separate school building for the nursery and kindergarten. The kindergarten consists of 109 children and the nursery has 50 children. In total, 159 total children were sharing 2 small rooms.
That’s when CRAN stepped in and built a separate building for the 2 kindergarten classes and the nursery. However, CRAN didn’t do all the work. CRAN provided the materials and specialized labor needed to build a school house, but engaged the community in the building of it. By actively helping in the building of the school, the community members feel more attached to the project and also provide a cost effective labor force. CRAN was able to build the 4 classroom school house with a bathroom for about $18,000.
When I arrived at the school house in the Abaenu village, I was immediately greeted with a loud cheer by the kindergarten class. They quickly left the overcrowded classroom and swarmed me. Kids absolutely love having their picture taken and looking at the picture even more. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to do anything till I took their picture, I pulled my camera out to take the picture and the kids immediately organized themselves in neat rows. After I took the picture, I showed the kids their picture and they all went nuts. Soon afterward, I got the opportunity to talk to the teacher of the class, Rebecca Aidoo. Mrs. Aidoo is an extremely sweet woman and should be a certified saint for being able to teach her kindergarten class of 61 children. On top of keeping 61 kids in order, she also has to share a room with 50 other children in the nursery. Thankfully, the new kindergarten and nursery building is near completion and should be in use within a couple weeks.