Rachel Alder, Travels to Ghana for a Great Purpose
“The most fulfilling thing was connecting with the kids. They have so little and yet they have joy,” Alder says.
Alder traveled with the Ivy Foundation which is a non-profit founded by Jessie Clark Funk. The mission of the Ivy Foundation is: “Unleashing Potential in at Risk Youth Through Leadership Education.” You can learn more about the Ivy Foundation through the Ivy Girl Academy’s website: www.ivygirlacademy.com
Eleven total people, including Rachel Alder and Jessie Funk, went to Ghana. There were seven girls and four adults. This special trip to Ghana, with the Ivy Foundation, was in partnership with another non-profit called VIMA which stands for Volunteers for International Medical Aide.
We learn that “VIMA is a California-based international humanitarian organization, established by a Ghanaian citizen living in the United States to help provide much needed medical aid to some rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa”. Much more information on www.vimaonline.org
Alder, along with the other girls, spent most of their time in an orphanage in Bethel where they hugged, loved, and even played soccer with the children.
“We brought resources to villages that don’t normally get visits and don’t see many people,” Alder relates. “We brought laptops to two villages that just got access to technology for the first time, so that was a really eye-opening experience to be part of.”
One of the main service projects Alder and the other girls were able to engage in was building a hygiene center for boys. Part of the funds, saved for this trip, went towards the purchase of the materials for the hygiene center.
“We actually got to make the bricks and mix the cement together. We let those dry and took the ones that were already done and stacked them up. It was an incredible experience.”
Over in Ghana, Alder was able to teach the children a message on leadership which is what her Miss North Ogden platform: “Choose Your Own Statistic” is all about. To learn more about Alder’s platform you can go to www.rachelalder.com
The orphanage in Bethel is unique in the sense that it has a school attached to it as well as a church. Teachers are hired to teach the children.
Alder adds, “What really surprised me was the community and how tight knit the village is. The village kids can play with the orphanage kids. I felt very safe there. It is a very loving atmosphere.”
Sponsorship is actually encouraged over adoption in Ghana.
“Instead of having these children move away from their friends, community, their language and the culture they know and love—sponsorship is a great opportunity where they are able to get access to those resources.”
Additionally, Alder says, “They are able to stay where it is familiar and it is better long-term for the kids where they can stay and build up their own communities.
There is a Sponsorship program which only costs $40/month and this allows a child: clothing, further education, health care and more. You can choose which child to sponsor, write to them and even send packages.
When it came to sponsoring a child, Alder thought, “I can do that. I’m in college, but I can do that.”
Alder sponsors a young Ghanaian boy named Mesiwotsos who is 11 years old. In time, she would also like to sponsor his younger brother, Jacob, who is 3 years old. Right now, Mesiwotsos takes care of Jacob who has down-syndrome.
“The whole time we were there Jacob would not let me put him down. He doesn’t speak at all but he’s taught me so much about love.”
You may want to help sponsor a child, too. If so, you can go to this website at www.vimaonline.org to learn how. More trips to Ghana are in the planning stages. Alder definitely wants to return there when she can--- especially to see Mesiwotsos and Jacob.
One of the greatest things the girls from the Ivy Foundation learned on their trip to Ghana is the difference between a need and a want. And the fact that love needs no words.
See full article with the Sentinel News here