The Chalice sponsor site of Wa is located in the Upper West Region of Ghana. The entire region constitutes the Catholic Diocese of Wa. It is the tenth region of the country and the youngest. It was created in 1983 with eight administrative districts, each headed by a District Chief Executive. The weather is unpredictable with the average annual rainfall being around 1000 mm, almost all of which occurs between May and October. Following the May-October rainy season is a cool dry period called the Harmattan (in Waali sesiao sanga) when a steady, often dusty north wind blows from the Sahara. The hottest period of the year is in February and March when daytime temperatures often reach 42° C (110°F). Natural conditions do not encourage vibrant economic activities, as is the case in South Ghana. Wa is in many ways an agricultural community, and many people make their living in small scale farming. In this region, it is very common for the young adults to migrate south.
The Wa sponsor site was established in 1997 under the direction of Rev. Fr. William Curran of the Missionaries of Africa (The White Fathers). When Fr. Bill and his colleagues were leaving the area, they trained the locals to administer the sponsorship program. In 1999, Mr. Philip Dorkar Jatoe assumed the directorship of the site. The sponsor site directors are responsible for the overall administration of the site, with each sub site having their own management team.
The Wa sponsor site has approximately 1900 children in their care, 125 of these children attend the Wa School for the Deaf.There are 13 sub-sites in the program, with 11 in the Lassia Tuolu Parish. In the 12 years since the site opened, major changes have occurred for the residents of the area.The goal of the site is to provide children with good medical care, in addition to qualitative and quantitative education. The inception of education for all children has led to a ripple effect on all other spheres of life. The literacy rate has increased substantially. Girls are now receiving formal education, giving them choices for their future which were previously non-existent. The traditional mud and log houses are being replaced with brick buildings roofed with zinc.
The focus of the Wa sponsor site is to see that all their charges receive education, health care, proper nutrition and the basic necessities of life. When a child is accepted into the sponsorship program they and their parents are immediately enrolled in the National Health Insurance program. This program is renewed annually and ensures that all registered members receive free medical treatment. Though all children are registered, it is sometimes difficult for parents to leave the traditional medicines and accept new ideas. Field workers work to instill the benefits of the modern health care system. Regular visits are made by the field workers to monitor the welfare of the children and their families.
Children attending school are provided with school materials, uniforms and shoes. When youth reach the higher levels the required school fees are paid. This has virtually reduced the dropout rate to zero. Quarterly, hygienic supplies, household items and foodstuffs are sent home to the children's families to lighten the burden they bear to maintain their household. In the newly completed Parish Youth Centre, leadership training, meetings, seminars, workshops, celebrations and cultural festivals are held.
In recent years the Government implemented the Youth Employment Programme with the aim of solving the migration of educated youth to other areas. Part of the programme being considered is to have Senior Secondary School graduates teach the Primary and Junior Secondary Schools.It is hoped the government will sustain this program.
Management of the sponsorship resources is a monumental task undertaken by Mr. Dorkar Jatoe and his team of dedicated workers. Their efforts are geared towards supporting the disadvantaged, poor and marginalized people of Wa, thus ensuring that all may have the basic opportunities available in their society .Through the kindness, compassion and assistance given from the supporters of Chalice, the future of the people of Wa will continue to advance, as they pursue their desire to become self sustained productive citizens.
Director's Report 2012 - Wa, Ghana
Once again we have come to the end of another year and it is fitting and proper that we give thanks to God for all His graces that enabled us to come this far. While expressing our gratitude to you for your continued generosity and support we also see it as a duty to give you a brief summary of activities we have carried out through fraternal and close cooperation between the Wa Sponsor Site of Chalice and Chalice, Canada.
EDUCATION: The Sponsor Site currently has over two thousand sponsored children for whom quality education is our priority. During the year, the Sponsor Site supported the children with their books, school uniforms, shoes and furniture to ensure quality teaching and learning in the sponsored schools. In relation to providing quality education, School Days events were organized and deserving pupils were rewarded for excelling in various disciplines. A total of 85 children attending various Senior High Schools, Vocational, Technical Schools Polytechnics and Universities had their tuition fees paid. Other priority areas included school renovations and school forestation and agricultural programs.
HEALTH: All our sponsored children as well as their parents and siblings benefit from our health program. They are registered under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and that enables each to access free medical attention from any clinic or hospital in Ghana. This year Chalice, in close collaboration with professionals from our health institutions, gave health education on Hepatitis B and other communicable diseases to our schools and communities. Over 5,000 children have so far been screened for the disease. This is ongoing. Those found to be positive are given Liver Function and Hepatitis B Profile tests and referred to the health institutions for attention. It is our intention to extend this exercise to members of the entire community.
NUTRITION: Among our major objectives is to ensure that the sponsored children and their families have supplementary feeding in addition to the little foodstuffs their families are able to produce. Harvest is usually poor due to insufficient rains, infertile lands and use of outmoded farm implements. Children and their families in the rural parts of our site are supplied with grains every quarter and Chalice supplements the quality of the meals of children of Wa School for the Deaf (SFD Sub) with milk, fish, yam and meat.
GIFT CATALOGUE & GRANTS: We are thankful to our supporters for this extra funding. This year we renovated a six classroom block, built two toilets and purchased some text books for the children. Also a borehole was drilled for one of our schools that was in dire need of water. Benches and plastic chairs are among other things provided for our surrounding communities.
PARENTS’ GROUPS AND YOUTH ACTIVITIES: Parents’ Groups are groups of 20 parents or less who come together for income generating activities and literacy classes. They meet weekly to learn to read and write Dagaare (the local language), English and a little bit of Mathematics. Our energetic youth organized many activities, including leadership training sessions, quizzes, cultural festivals and visits to other parishes and institutions. With the support of Chalice, the Site purchased musical instruments for the youth and they are currently training to form a Parish youth band.
From the bottom of our hearts we thank all our Sponsors and Donors for your generosity and support, and assure you that your contributions mean a lot to the sponsored children, their families and their communities. We would also like to assure you of our renewed commitment to serve the needy by properly managing your contributions and providing quality education and the basic needs for the poor children.
God bless you all!
Philip Dorkar Jatoe, Sponsor Site Director