The ‘make your change’ campaign recently outdoored by Airtel Ghana has already found expression in the first episode of its award winning Airtel Touching Lives (ATL) 3 initiative.
The campaign challenges individuals, groups and society as a whole to be pragmatic about the change they want to see in their lives.
The camera lenses narrowed down on personalities who are creating change in their own lives, in the lives of others and in their communities. Additionally, ATL 3 has identified individuals, communities and institutions with challenges which have deprived them of the desired progress in life.
Poor infrastructure and inadequate teachers continue to pose a great challenge to efforts to provide quality education in our rural areas.
One fine example is the predicament of teachers and pupils of Som Nyame Kodu Junior High School (JHS) in the Central region.
In spite of teething problems militating against their work, teachers at that school are selfless in their approach to duty.
With no electricity, children in that school are unable to study at night. Since drinking water is also hard to come by, children, especially the girls had to forsake their school work in search of water.
The teachers when interviewed confessed harsh living conditions, aside the school’s own challenges and lamented on how the bad and inhabitable their classrooms were anytime there were downpours.
The teaching of Information Communication Technology (ICT) was another challenge as equipment for practical work was non-existent.
“Pupils in both primary and JHS study ICT however we teach them theory without any practicals because we don’t have the computers,” said Ignatius Buje, who teaches ICT and BDT in the JHS section.
The situation compelled the teachers to convey the pupils to Twifo Praso, to the closest ICT centre, 45 minutes away, to experience the feel of internet work.
In response to the selfless work from staff of Som Nyame Kodu, Airtel Ghana through the touching lives initiative has announced restoration of electricity to the school and town through the total repair of solar panels.
Additionally, the Telco will renovate the school’s ICT centre and stock the centre with computers.
“It is critical to recognise and reward hard work, unflinching dedication to duty and selfless effort, especially in the midst of extreme difficulties and harsh economic conditions which are more than enough to act as disincentive to teachers in the rural areas. Staff and teachers of Som Nyame kodu deserve commendation as they remained resolute notwithstanding the school’s challenges,” explained Donald Gwira, Head of Corporate Communications and CSR at Airtel Ghana.
Distraught by a rough environment, they could have deserted their posts, and made for Accra but they chose to stay with the pupils and as they submitted in separate interviews, their motivation was to help the children and stand them in good stead.
Airtel again touched the life of Linda Boamah and that of her family with the full sponsorship of her education including the provision of stationery.
Born normal, Linda became paralysed when she convulsed at age 2 and has since remained in a wheel chair.
Not daunted by her condition, Linda continued her education, however funding proved a genuine challenge and the gesture from Airtel was timely.
When interviewed on her reaction to the assistance extended to her by Airtel, Ms Boamah makes a profound statement. She can now achieve her long held dream of becoming a nurse and not only that, she hopes to set up a foundation which will cater for persons of her kind.
Indeed the two scenarios or cases in the first episode are but a few of several social challenges rife in rural Ghana.
The roles of multinational companies such as Airtel Ghana in reducing the challenges cannot be overlooked and there is no doubt that the touching lives initiative has brought smiles onto the faces of pupils, teachers, other individuals and even communities.
The first episode of ATL 3 also peeped into the lives of personalities in ATL 2 and sought to find out how they were faring.
It is reassuring to learn that all the persons have improved upon whatever situation they found themselves in and are overly thankful to the Telco and for that matter the initiative.
It is hoped that initiatives as these are conspicuous enough for government and corporate Ghana.
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