Our PAY IT FORWARD DAY is a celebration of Tomorrow’s Stars success!! Stars and University Students attend from afar to tell stories about their achievements and experiences. We also have PIFs, Teachers and honored guests who were part of their education. And we have Edinaman HS students, who are inspired by these successful men and women who they knew as PIFs while in Elementary school.
Many give short speeches to the group, there are great group discussions about the journey.
This year Otabil and Lawrenda gave an overview about prevention, symptoms and treatment of diabetes, an all too common affliction of people in Ghana.
The day is capped off with food, pictures and visiting their lifelong friends and mentors.
PIF Day brings Stars back to meet with PIFs and Students
PIF Day is always a highlight for us, seeing our Stars and hearing their stories as they become their dreams.
STARS From L to R: Joseph (#1 Journalism student in Ghana, Class Pres). Rudolph (Clinical Coordinator for Ghana and doctor. Francis (Optometrist and TS Board Member), Solo (TS Managing Director and TS Board member), Yawson (Admin Asst to Edinaman HM), George, Osei (Komenda College, Head of IT Dept), Daniel (Yr 4 Chem E)
AFRICAN WEAR DAY AT CHRIST CARES SCHOOL
Occasionally there are themes to make school more interesting. Here are some photos of the dress up. Yes Ghanaians like to look good!
The Grade 9 students (Form 3) Christ Cares graduates.
After a great team effort from students, teachers and PIFs, prep tests show that this will be the best class ever. We will know in mid Jan when National BECE test results come in. We had a dinner party for them at a local restaurant.
Most of our supporters know that our mission is to “change lives through education”. A key part of this is the TWO YEARS that our HS grads spend Paying It Forward. This includes helping libraries, computer lab, working with clubs, assisting teachers, mentoring students etc.
Beyond this, Solo organizes lots of personal development (public speaking, community service, time management and computer classes) to help them prepare for the next step. They read Rudolph’s book “Becoming Your Dream” and try to decide what education/career they will pursue.
WE NOW HAVE 13 STUDENTS IN UNIVERSITYAND20 HAVE GRADUATED.
They apply to their selected university. Univ of Cape Coast and Kwame Nkrumah Inst of Sci & Tech are among the selections. If they are accepted, they apply for a Tomorrow’s Stars scholarship. The awards committee consists of 5 Stars who decide based on PIF performance, academics (HS Nat exam score), etc. These awards can include tuition, hostel/dorm, and a book allowance. They are often allowed to take a laptop from our ICT lab inventory. And off they go.
Amazingly, for most courses, an award of about $1000 is enough to cover most costs. But some courses are not subsidized by the government and costs may be over $3000 per year.
Joseph is first year in Petroleum Eng. He got straight A’s first semester. Sharon is in Early Childhood Education in Distance Learning. She also works with TS in Libraries and our KG Resource Room. She is great with small children.
THE TOMORROW’S STARS EDGE!
During the 4 years of university, they can reapply each year for an award and their academic performance is a main consideration. Often, our students become class leaders and class reps in their chosen major. This is because the PIF experience matures them and, simply put, our students work harder and are team players.
Esther is a banking student at Nduom University. Justice studies Med. Lab Tech at Univ of Health and Applied Sciences.
Mary is 3rd year Nursing student. Lawrenda is beginning 3rd year in Medicine.
In Ghana, students can apply for “attachments”. These are like co-ops or internships, in their chosen field. These come during times between semesters and we encourage the experience to gain knowledge and references in their field. They are paid NOTHING for the attachment, but are given a useful learning opportunity. Students apply for small awards to cover travel expenses, etc usually less than $100. What a great investment for Tomorrow’s Stars!
Daniel is a Mechanical Eng student. His attachment is in the lab at a local water and juice company. Emmanuel is class president studying medical lab technology. His attachment is at a hospital in Accra.
GRADUATION AND NATIONAL SERVICE
Upon completion of the 4 yrs (for most) a student graduates (often with honors) and is assigned to a year of NATIONAL SERVICE. This is nearly always an assignment in their field of study and often in a rural area (especially for teachers). Another great learning experience. They are not paid much, but this is part of a gov’t subsidized education. It is a great idea and the US could benefit from something like this.
Leticia just graduated with degree in Early Childhood Education. We are hoping that her National Service will be at local Bantuma School where we have a library. Isaac graduated #1 in his class (of 92) in Pre Law.
BECOMING THEIR DREAM AND COMING BACK!
After the year of Service, our STARs have a degree, experience in their chosen field and hopefully a resume with good references and a real head start on “Becoming Their Dream”. We are so proud of each of them.
And they come back to visit to help us “change lives through education”!
Solo is our Managing Director in Ghana. He has a Masters in Mgmt and BA in Education. Francis is an Optometrist and manages the Elmina Vision Clinic. Both are on our Board of Directors.
Eric has a degree in Chem Eng and works as QC Officer at a steel mill in Tema. Philo is a teacher at Sefwi school near Elmina, she is starting our second Resource Room
Rudolph: Pioneer, Doctor, Amazon Author and Ghana National Clinical Coordinator
Joseph: National Journalism student of Year. President of Class at Ghana Inst of Journalism
Otabil: Physician Assistant. Will get his license in October. Ping Pong champion.
That’s Right! Our “Star” and “Pioneer” has a new job. He has been appointed as Ghana’s National Clinical Coordinator in charge of information, research and public health education reporting to the Director, Ministry of Health, Ghana.
This is a remarkable achievement for a “small boy from Elmina”, but well deserved. It is a three year assignment and the scope includes about 50 hospitals and nearly 1000 health clinics in Ghana.
Rudolph has been with Tomorrow’s Stars since the beginning. He has been our “Pioneer” at each stage as he moves along the path to “Become His Dream”
Rudolph’s Achievements along the Path!
He was the first Tomorrow’s Stars student to go to Edinaman High School. TStars met resistance on our decision that all scholarship students would attend local Edinaman. Rudolph set the example and cleared the path for well over 100 students.
First student to Pay It Forward helping teach and tutor at Christ Cares School after HS graduation. He is a role model for all our scholars and PIFs.
First student to enter University on Tomorrow’s Stars scholarship. Attended Kwami Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), majoring in Herbal Medicine.
Performed a year National Service after graduation, serving at Health For All Clinic serving about 15 villages in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
Got a job as a medical doctor specializing in herbal medicine at a clinic. Worked there for 4 years before the appointment and other opportunities were offered to move on to more responsibility. He has an excellent reference there and is welcome back at any time.
Developed Diabetes treatment in conjunction with KNUST for masters degree. Oversaw clinical trials to conclusion of acceptance of a plant based treatment and published results.
Shortly before appointment as Ghana Clinical Coordinator, he was offered Medical Doctor job at a major hospital in Kumasi as well as a position as a lecturer at KNUST, so he is not short of opportunities. This is a result of his ability and effort at every step along the way.
Rudolph is also an author of several excellent books.
He has written many books. Check out his books on Amazon.
Although we have not been able to travel to Elmina, our achievements continue. Below are some stories about our STARS and what they have been doing.
Tomorrow’s Stars now has 13 University graduates and 15 more currently attending. These are impressive men and women who would not have this chance without your donations. We have known them all since before HS and during 1-3 years of paying it forward after HS. This connection helps them choose their path as they mature.
Because of Covid delays, graduation is occuring now, and schools will start the new year in January. Here are our latest graduates:
Otabil graduates as the top clinician in his Physician’s Assistant course at Univ Cape Coast. Solo, our Managing Director achieved his MBA in Marketing also from UCC.
Joseph graduated from Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra with dual distinctions. He served as President of the Student Body and was named Most Promising Journalist 2020, while graduating second in his class.
Philomena graduated near the top of her class with a Teacher diploma in Sci/Math from OLA, she has also completed her national service with a teacher coordinating organization.
Eric graduated from UCC with a degree in B.A. Education (Math).
Attachments (internships) are a great way for University students to learn by working during breaks. TS strongly supports these and we help with incurred costs for these students who work for free to learn and meet contacts in their chosen field
While schools and activities were shut down for Covid, our PIFs (led by Solo) continued activities in:
Community service providing handwashing stations and sanitizer
A tree planting project
Personal Development (Computers, public speaking, and other projects)
Donations to a local hospital
Schools resume in mid-late January. We have many projects so we can get a good start.
Library Renovation is starting at Christ Cares.
We will also invest in our other libraries after school starts.
We have 9 new PIFs who just graduated HS and they will be assigned to libraries, KG classes, phonics and the resource room. The computer lab is in great shape including the solar power system for the lab.
Picture of new PIFs to come, these are currentPIFs
New PIF Francis was the most recent of our valedictorians at Edinaman, he is another outstanding science and math student.
THANKS TO ALL YOU DONORS WHO CHANGE THEIR LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION!!
I have been very impressed by the communication and leadership of the Government of Ghana when addressing COVID-19. The virus has spread around the country, but has mostly been in the larger cities like Accra and Kumasi. There have been few cases in Elmina but nearby Cape Coast has been hit pretty hard.
Some of the numbers as of August 15th are: Total Cases=42,210, Deaths=231. Ghana tracks active cases at 1,832 by tracking the cases until they are well. Recoveries are 40,147.
There is good communication and compliance related to masks and social distancing behavior with closing of various hot spots. Water is now free and electricity has been subsidized to help support handwashing. It is my hope that handwashing habits will be adopted beyond COVID-19 to improve overall health.
Borders/airports are still closed. Schools have successfully opened for the final year students of Jr High, Sr High and University so these students can complete their work and take their exams to move on. There is a plan to open school for others in late September with the challenges that will bring.
The number of congregants in churches have also been increased from 100 to 200. Duration of various religious activities has also been increased from 1hour to 2hours with all safety protocols strictly observed.
TOMORROW’S STARS SUMMER ACTIVITIES:
Some of our Pay It Forward Students (PIFs) and University students are active for the summer with projects. These are coordinated by Managing Director Solo and funded through his Nsoroma Africa Foundation.
Hand Washing stations:
We provide handwashing water tanks and home made liquid soap at 10 stations and visit and maintain them each day.
Junior HS Final Year Students:
Christ Cares school has been opened for the 20 Grade 9 students to help them complete their work and prepare for the September exams. Some of our PIFs are supporting the teachers to help assure these students don’t get left behind.
The Kathy Weir Study Center was maintained for 24 students during the period from April through July even though schools were closed. PIFs and university students helped these students. It is now on break until September.
PIF Personal Development
Tomorrow’s Stars strongly supports the development of our PIFs and University students. We are always looking for ways to help them learn new skills and develop their own personal interests. We know this helps them prepare for the upcoming life decisions.
Managing Director Solo coordinates this with great participation. Some examples of topics include:
We use the excellent equipment of our ICT (computer) lab. Examples are blogs, writing poetry, learning software like word, excel and ppt
Giving presentations: Our “Always a Star” gives them an opportunity to do a presentation about themselves, their successes and their dreams. They present these to the group for feedback and questions.
Zoom calls with board members to learn about them and ask questions about how they chose careers and get lessons about preparing for the upcoming years. Board Member Bruce, Sue and George have participated. It was lots of fun, and interesting that our experiences DO have some relevance from a far away place and time.
We even had a cooking class where Lawrenda taught the boys to make banku, a local dish.
With the resumption of Final Year classes for University, seniors Otabil and Joseph are finishing up after some delay.
Joseph is graduating in Journalism as the President of the student body at Ghana Institute of Journalism. He will be entering National Service soon.
Otabil is a leader in the “pioneer” class of Physician Assistants at Univ. of Cape Coast. They have a final class to finish and a December Med/Dent Board license exam. He has been working in a hospital since the schools have closed, and loving the experience.
Eric Asmah is reading Maths with Business at the University of Cape Coast. He is one of our students from Abirem. Eric hopes to start his national service, then further his education with his masters degree in the University of Cape Coast.
Last years 5 graduates are completing their year of National Service and now have the challenge of finding employment in the COVID-19 environment. I am sure they are up to it.
Philo is a science, math and ICT teacher. She is currently having her National Service in Mankessim; a town about 2hours drive from Elmina. After her national service in December, Philo will be posted by the Government of Ghana to a basic school as a teacher. Philo will be employed by the Government of Ghana as a pupil teacher. Philo had her graduation ceremony from the OLA college of Education not long ago.
Emmanuel was top of his class in Business.
Eric Nortey Thompson is a Chemical Engineer and a graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He is currently a national service person working as a teaching assistant in the same university.
Christopher Awortwe is in Herbal Medicine (just like his mentor Rudolph some years ago). Chris is currently having his national service at the Cape Coast Metropolitan Hospital. Chris is actively involved in the development of alternative medicine in his village.
Joana Egyir has completed her Diploma in Business from the University of Cape Coast. She is currently doing her national service at the Catholic Education Unit in Cape Coast.
Our Stars are amazing individuals, becoming their dreams and working together as a family.
Please continue to support us with your donations.
As of 16 May, Ghana has over 5000 cases, but only 29 deaths, most are in the capital city of Accra. They have an ambitious testing and contact tracing program, I am very impressed. This activity inflates cases and helps them manage the virus. We know of 2 cases in Elmina, but over 50 in nearby Cape Coast.
The lifestyle in Ghana makes it difficult to prevent spread. But there is progress on cleaning surfaces, washing hands and social distancing in areas like taxis/transport, markets and at home where many people sleep under one roof.
We will continue to watch the progress. For now schools are closed and we keep gatherings to a minimum with care in our interactions.
HANDWASHING STATIONS IN OUR COMMUNITY
We have purchased tanks and stands and made large amounts of handwashing soaps and will be putting these “stations” in locations around the community. Tomorrow’s Stars has also helped fund masks for PIFs as well as making hand santizer available.
The handwashing stations were presented to the local chief before setting up. Solo’s Nsoroma Foundation is in charge. Tomorrow’s Stars gave Nsoroma a grant for helping with Covid-19. This grant is also being used to provide masks and other supplies. Leticia made a couple of gallons of handwashing soap. It is quite a team project.
AUTHOR JOE BROWN DOES A ZOOM READING OF HIS BOOK “COME ON, GET IN”
Joe is a successful author of childrens’ books focusing on the power of IMAGINATION. He recently did a Zoom reading of one of his books for some students and PIFs in Elmina. We had some minor technical difficulties and will soon do another reading after some minor corrections. It was a big hit with the students (and Joe).
FREDRICK ADEHE WRITES BOOK ON SICKLE CELL DISEASE
Our friend Fredrick was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease at age 17 in 2013. As he has learned and improved his management of the disease, he has written a book. We are now printing some in Elmina to help him help “sicklers” in the community. In addition, he has his book as a kindle purchase on Amazon. It is titled: Sickle Cell Disease: Minimizing Crisis and Living a Happy Life.
Please check it out on Amazon and download a kindle copy for $3. Don’t forget about helping Tomorrow’s Stars at Smile.amazon.com.
We are continuing to change lives through education in Elmina.
Notes about life in Elmina and Cape Coast Ghana during Covid-19: by Solomon Ewusie
In this #Coronavirus era, moving from one place to the other requires a lot of due diligence and care. In our part of the world, our families will extremely advise you to be careful so you don’t contract the virus. In my area, people wear nose masks/covers made with the local fabrics, there are handwashing stands by the roadsides among others. Various assembly members are on the lookout for taxi drivers who take more than the required passengers. All of these things are done just to ensure that the spread of the virus is brought to the minimum. Fortunately for me, the area/town has not recorded any case yet though my municipal has recorded a few cases.
As a young enlightened person, I take my health very seriously and I greatly consider the advice by the World Health Organization, Ghana Health Service among other institutions all aimed at making sure that I don’t contract the virus and I don’t spread it. My bicycle has been my major source of transport anytime I leave from my house to Elmina town for any errands. Traveling outside Elmina to maybe Cape Coast will require the use of public transport. In Ghana, traveling on public transport in this era can be very risky and your life will be on the line. Most taxi drivers simply won’t observe the social distancing, don’t have hand sanitizers, and other things all aimed to minimize the spread of the virus.
Since the outbreak of the virus, I have been cautious with my engagements with the public especially the public transports. I always make sure I have a bottle of water and hand sanitizers with me anytime I decide to leave the house since the outbreak of the virus. It hasn’t been that easy adjusting to such a lifestyle. I must admit that this is one of the major things that will stay with us after this era. Myself and my good people of Ghana will get used to most of this lifestyle which simply connotes that life will never be the same even after a vaccine is found for this virus.
Though difficult for most of the people in Elmina to practice the measures by the World Health Organization and the Ghana Health Services, my good people of Elmina have been trying their best to make sure the contraction and the spread of the virus are at their lowest.
Despite the numerous financial constraints which come with this, most of my good people in Elmina have placed buckets of water with soaps and tissues in front of their houses and stores. This clearly tells how my good people are ready to make sure that they support the government to minimize the spread of the virus. I haven’t made any major transportation out of Elmina for some time, since the outbreak of the virus. There are times that one is required to take a step no matter the issues at hand. Such was the case when I had some issues with my sim card and I had to visit the service provider’s office in Cape Coast, Central Region’s capital.
As usual, I can’t go to Cape Coast with my bicycle because of the nature of the roads, the types of vehicles that ply the road, among other factors. In fact, plying the highway to Cape Coast with my bicycle could be more risky than the coronavirus. Before leaving the house, I properly have to adjust myself to situations outside my home and area. Across the various media platforms both local and national, I have heard of measures put in place by the various state agencies in Elmina and Cape Coast and stepping out, I was simply prepared for anything so I would not contract the virus and also to minimize the spread.
Finally, I made the decision to travel by public transport to Cape Coast for my errands. My errands lasted for about 2 hours. I made some few observations while on those errands which I would like to share them;
1. From my house to Chapel Square, my temperature was checked once by a group of individuals called “Concerned Youth of Elmina”. They are made up of nurses and health personnel who are doing their best to help the government with services through public health services.
2. Transport fares from Elmina Chapel Square to Cape Coast have been increased slightly. To my surprise I didn’t pay the usual Ghana cedis 3.80, but rather Ghana cedis 4.00. This is a result of ensuring that the drivers adhere to the social distancing directive. Taxis in Ghana normally board three passengers at the backseat. Since the various drivers’ unions want to ensure social distancing, they now board two passengers instead of the three and that’s the reason for the increase in the fares.
3. During my time at Cape Coast, I saw countless buckets of water, soaps, and tissues in front of business offices, stores, and houses. Before entering the service provider’s office, I was asked to wash my hands with soap (which was provided), my temperature was taken and I was given some sanitizer, all taking place while observing the social distance rule.
4. A lot of people were seen covering their nose with various types of nose masks; medical masks and those made with the local fabrics.
At the end of the errands in Cape Coast, I left as a very happy person and I feel relaxed considering the efforts my good people are putting in place to support the government’s continuing fight against the coronavirus. I feel that if various individuals in various nations and the world all over try to practice all that has been suggested by the various health authorities, the global fight against coronavirus will be very victorious.
My motive for sharing this information is basically to help travelers prepare as they embark on any journey outside their homes and areas (i.e. if they are not under any restrictions). My information might not be accurate and precise but at least someone can find it very educative and useful. You can share to reach other individuals across the globe.
Solo Ewusie: Tomorrow’s Stars Program Director (Elmina) has been nominated for “YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR (SOCIAL) OF THE YEAR AWARD”.
Solo’s nomination in the “social” category is based on his community activism and service.
He has already won for Central Region and qualifies for the Ghana National Award to be decided by a panel in Accra in December.
He is the President and Founder of Nsoroma Africa, an NGO that operates a community Study Center.
At Tomorrow’s Stars, we are proud of Solo, he has extraordinary talents in developing people and finding common ground. He can manage many projects at the same time and is always trying to make life better for others.
This study center is a place where 45 students of Classes B3-JHS2 gather 3 evenings a week to do their homework with help from Solo and other “coaches”. These students come from 7 different school in the Bantuma/Elmina area. Solo involves their parents and teachers to assure the best outcomes.
Congratulations and Good Luck Solo!!
But Solo does much more for the community
Managing Director Elmina for Tomorrow’s Stars: Changing lives through education. In this capacity he develops our Pay It Forward students to help them decide on future careers as well as helping them with public speaking, time and money management, working together on projects, learning to use word, excel and powerpoint.
Helping at Edinaman HS to coordinate scholarship students.
Our Stars journey to Abirem Essiam School to teach Jolly Phonics to Teachers.
After their February Jolly Phonics training (see previous post), our Stars have been empowered!! Using the letters and sounds and motion techniques, they see that young children are learning English better. AND THEY ARE HAVING MORE FUN DOING IT!!
Tomorrow’s Stars has a library at Abirem Essiam School and the teachers had heard of Jolly Phonics from PIF James the Librarian. They were interested in trying it in their classes, but needed training.
James called Solo who leads Tomorrow’s Stars in Elmina and our Jolly Phonics experts were excited to take a Wed afternoon road trip (about 1-1/2 hours) to do a Thurs and Friday training session for teachers. They found a local guest house for two nights and enjoyed the hospitality of Essiam village.
The girls prepared well, making learning materials showing the letters and sounds and the motions and songs that go with each. Teachers got to practice with Jolly Phonics and they know that James is there to help, and the other Tomorrow’s Stars PIFs are hoping it will be adopted well.
They also had a chance to make friends in the village and tour Francis’s family farm and see how palm oil is made. Francis was our first “star” from Essiam and is now an optometrist doing his year of national service after graduating with honors.
Tomorrow’s Stars is very proud that James and our Stars took the initiative to plan for and carry out Jolly Phonics training at Abirem Essiam village school. But that is not the only benefit. They had a great road trip to see new things, meet new people, and share the joy of helping others. HOORAY FOR THEM!!