Blog

Blog post from Elmina: November 2020

Greetings to Friends of Tomorrow’s Stars!!

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.

Joseph: President of Ghana Institute of Journalism Student Body. Most Promising Journalist 2020

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 current PIFs

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!!

August News from Elmina, Ghana

Posted by Solo Ewusie and George Weir

Ghana Government Leading the response to COVID-19

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:

  • 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.

University Students:

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.
Joseph at PiF Day Celebrations
  • 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.
Otabil at PiF Day Celebrations
  • 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.
Eric Asmah at PiF Day Celebrations

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.
Eric Nortey at PiF Day Celebrations
  • 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.
Chris at PiF Day Celebrations
  • 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.
Joana at PiF Day Celebrations

Our Stars are amazing individuals, becoming their dreams and working together as a family.

Please continue to support us with your donations.

Mid May 2020 News from Elmina

STATUS OF COVID-19 IN GHANA/ELMINA

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).

Joe Brown talking about IMAGINATION

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.

Fred’s Sickle Cell book
Fredrick talking about Sickle Cell Disease with our PIFs

We are continuing to change lives through education in Elmina.

Thanks for your support.

THE INNOCENT CITIZENS’ FIGHT AGAINST CORONA VIRUS; THE COMMITMENT LEVEL OF THE PEOPLE OF ELMINA AND CAPE COAST; SOLOMON EWUSIE WRITES

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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;

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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.

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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.

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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.

Solomon Ewusie

Solo Ewusie-Star and Entepreneur

Young Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee

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.
  • Enhancing Vocational education opportunities.
  • Many other community leader activities.

SOLO IS TRULY A SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR!!

Pay It Forward (PIF) Students’ Excellent Adventure:

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.

Our Stars: Solo, Helen, Faustie, Mary, Kate, Ayisha and Rolland

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!!

Tomorrow’s Stars and Abirem Essiam teachers. Making Education Possible!!!

Jolly Phonics comes to Elmina

On February 7-8, Tomorrow’s Stars brought Jolly Phonics training to Elmina, Ghana.

Jolly Phonics teaches Phonics methods of learning English letters and sounds to help children learn to read. Remember that small children do not learn English at home.

Nearly 2 years ago, Tomorrow’s Stars sent 3 of our Pay It Forward students to Jolly Phonics and they returned with excitement and we were able to implement the concepts successfully in our KG Resource Room. Scroll down to 3-Helping Children Read: https://tstarsorg.wordpress.com/2018-year-end-news/

Now we brought Janet Kyei (“Chay”) an expert Jolly Phonics trainer to Elmina. We invited 23 teachers and Pay It Forward students from the local area and they have learned and enjoyed the experience. They will do their best to help children learn to read at their schools and Tomorrow’s Stars will have ongoing meetings with them to help and encourage.

We continue to “MAKE EDUCATION POSSIBLE” in Elmina!!

 

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Literacy Resource Center

At Tomorrow’s Stars, we believe in learning through play using phonics. It is difficult in Elmina, Ghana because most children come into Kindergarten with little knowledge of English. We have more information about our Resource Room/Center in other sections of our web site.

Our Literacy Resource Center has great resources, including experienced Pay It Forward young women. These women are Sharon, Kate, Leticia, Esther, Elizabeth, and Aggie. Also we have many toys and games to help learning and small (12) class sizes. Over Christmas vacation our girls added many visual aids for learning. Check them out on the photos below.

An improved ceiling fan is always a welcome addition

At top:
Beat the heat with our new ceiling fan!!

Other News!!! Tomorrow’s Stars Reading Club at Abundant Grace School. We are starting a library when the room is complete, meanwhile Solo, Faustie and Rebecca have started a reading club.

Solo introducing students to Tomorrow’s Stars. Librarian Faustie in the back.

A great picture of our Stars on PIF day. They are an amazing bunch!!!

STARS IN UNIVERSITY: NOW 22

At Tomorrow’s Stars, we are proud of our students.  After they have performed well in Junior HS and Senior HS, we expect them to Pay It Forward. 

And They Do!!

 

 

After Graduating HS and doing well on their National WASSCE Exam, they come back.  They work at Libraries, Labs, Resource Room, Girls Club and all the time they help the young ones learn.

 

 

After Paying It Forward for 2-3 years they are eligible to apply for Scholarship Awards to University.  We now have 22 students in 6 universities.   They are mature, bright and hardworking.  

These 14 young men and 8 young women are amazing!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have known them all for a long time, they are leaders in their classes and perform well academically.  We are VERY proud of them.  

Nsoroma Africa Foundation

Nsoroma (En-so-ro-ma) is a start-up Ghanaian charity founded by our “STAR” Solomon.  They intend to supplement the work of Tomorrow’s Stars in the Elmina area and they receive small grants from us to do this.  Nsoroma focuses on local children who have parental support for their education and expects parents to provide study areas in their homes.  Nsoroma also offers occasional events and excursions to enhance their education.

NSOROMA Study Center:

This project has 22 selected students from 3 schools from Grade 3-8 who meet 3-4 times/week, mostly in evenings at the Nsoroma study center at Christ Cares School.  Students do homework there with coaching from Tomorrow’s Stars PIF students Justice, Rolland and Rebecca.  Their grades are tracked and are already improving.

Excursion to Elmina Slave Castle

(A World Heritage Site)

In March these students had a tour of nearby Elmina Castle, formerly a holding prison for slaves headed to the “Americas”.  The tour is tasteful but unsettling, but they appreciated the history lesson, asked questions and wrote reports.

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The Black Panther Movie:

Another excursion was a day at the movies.  The group went to nearby Cape Coast to see the movie “Black Panther” in a hotel theatre room.  For everyone, it was the first time seeing a movie on the “big screen”, they were so excited.  The movie day was funded by our volunteer (and “Star”) Fred Graham.  Fred’s son was the stunt man for the actor who played the Black Panther, how cool is that?  They enjoyed the movie and wrote reports on the excursion.

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Continued study center use and excursions are planned.  They have also toured Kakum National Forest. 

Solo was recently on the local radio station urging parents to provide a study area in their homes at a cost of about $12.  He continues to “make education possible” every day all through Elmina.

You can support grants for NSOROMA by donating to Tomorrow’s Stars!!