Dear friends of Happy Kids,
Thank you so very much for your kind and generous contributions nearing the end of 2013. It is thanks to you that the children at Happy Kids were able to have the best Christmas yet, in addition to having access to greater resources and programs.
Thanks to your help, on December 20th, we started construction on a proper, modern kitchen and another bedroom for the boys. Construction on the building has now been finished, and painting is currently being done. Extra support also enabled us to run running water and electricity to the building. Now that the orphanage will have its own kitchen, the food will no longer be stored in the girls bedroom. This also means there will be much more safe, hygienic space for the children to learn, play and sleep.
With donations, we also purchased brand new, personalized toys for all of the kids for Christmas. This was in addition to an outstanding number of boxes of toys collected and sent to us by volunteers. On Christmas day, the kids woke up before the sun had even risen, and found a pile of toys on each of their beds. Each child received at least 4 toys; a toy car, plane or doll, stuffed teddy bear, coloring book,and soccer ball, for example. There was also a huge array of shared toys, which we laid out on a table outside of the dormitory.We spent the day playing games, building elaborate lego scenes, putting together puzzles, blowing bubbles, and eating as much food as our stomachs could carry.
And because it was a special occasion and so many people helped us this Christmas, we decided to do something we had never thought possible before; we decided to take the kids to see the ocean for the first time. So just a few days after Christmas at 4:30am, we piled 25 of the kids that had stayed with us for Christmas into a bus to make the 5-hour drive to Accra. At first, the kids were terrified of the water and would run from the waves. But after just a few minutes of letting the water splash on their feet, they started diving in. They swam for the entire day and absolutely loved it.
New Projects & Looking Forward
We have also made incredible progress at the school, with the recent construction of three temporary wooden classrooms. This became increasingly needed with the closure of Christ Orphanage, the only other orphanage in the village. The external managers of Christ Orphanage are now working with us to ensure that we are able to support their kids, to provide as much access to quality education, healthcare and food as many children in the village as possible. The construction of these three classrooms was done primarily from income generated by other projects and the school, and was actually not built by many donations. As the first ever project to be fueled primarily by money raised in Ghana and not from external donations, this is a huge step. It was also largely managed and conceptualized by Emmanuel, Happy Kid’s Project Manager, and is a fantastic sign that we’re getting closer to sustainability.
Last August, we added rabbits and grasscutter to our livestock, in hopes that they would be a new income-generating project. Grasscutter are a bushmeat commonly eaten in Ghana. They eat just grass and cost literally nothing to keep, but when full-grown can be sold for upwards of $70 each. The manager of the only grasscutter farm in the area has signed on to be a consultant and teach the children and staff how to care for them. Recently, we’ve received a donation to scale up this project and build a small structure to house more grasscutter. We’re hoping that this project will yield a substantial enough income to help us put our oldest kids through secondary school (in just one year!).
In December, we said goodbye to our second Project Coordinator, Theresa. We’re now recruiting a new Project Coordinator to be based in Hohoe for 6 months. The project coordinator position has played a huge part in continuing progress, as well as providing an extra pair of hands for hugging and loving on the kids. If you know anyone, please let us know!!