Students Return to Ghana with The Bridge Project
By Jozy Unal, member of The Bridge Project
In June, five American students — Elizabeth Bray, Martha Dean, Jozy Unal, Bray Barto and Katherine Bray — traveled to Ghana for a week and a half to more deeply understand the needs of Ghanaian students as part of Bridge Project, a student-led service arm of Kybele dedicated to serving Ghanaian schools and orphanages. Martha Dean, a three-time participant who now attends Duke University, conducted a health and wellness survey to learn more about Ghanaian students’ lifestyles and aspirations. The survey showed that the challenges that Ghanaian students face are completely different from those of American students. Students expressed struggles with simple things such as affording lunches as well as limited opportunities for important activities such as swimming lessons. Ghanaian students also indicated they are very likely to attend church and refrain from alcohol and tobacco. By examining the results of the survey, Martha Dean and the other American students came to the conclusion that in order to fully help another society, they cannot assume that the Ghanaian students have the same needs and challenges as the American students do. The American students plan to continue their involvement in Ghana and have also been deeply touched by the kindness and generosity of the Ghanaian children.
The Bridge Project is a student lead organization with a focus on helping other children in Ghana. For the past seven years, middle and high school students have been raising money to help support Ghanaian children and encourage them to further their education. The American students have hosted numerous garage sales; have collected used books, school supplies, and computers; and have also reached out to others for donations. The funds that the students have raised have been used to build two libraries, establish two computer labs, stock the libraries with hundreds of pounds of books, install quality bathrooms, rebuild a school, install running water, give proper eye examinations to students and faculty members, and provide hundreds of pounds of clothing. The Bridge Project has built a cultural bridge between American and Ghanaian students that allows both groups learn and grow together.