Support for Passionate Learners
Denver non-profit helps keep kids in school in Ghana
One of Colorado's newest non-profits is helping children in Ghana, Africa. The Mate Masie (Mah-teh Mah-see-eh) Program offers children who are forced to drop out of school in order to support their families the financial support to continue their education.
In Ghana, many children are forced to live in poverty and cannot attend school. Mate Masie helps pay for school, medical expenses. It also provides for daily living expenses for the children and their families. This allows children to stay in school instead of dropping out and going to work.
The project was co-founded by Lauren Fine in June 2011. Fine is from Denver, Colorado and was drawn to helping the children of Ghana after she visited the country and was moved by what she saw.
She first went to Ghana to teach at a street school in 2007. She lived there for four months. In 2010, she went back to Ghana, but this time volunteering with the Colorado-Ghana Children's Fund (CGCF).
"I fell in love with the children there and their passion of learning, and their ability to stay positive in situations that seem daunting when presented with countless obstacles," Fine says. "I was always amazed at how Ghanaian students rose to the challenges or occasion."
Fine started the Mate Masie Program along with London Moore, whom she met in Ghana in 2007. Fine and Moore are in the United States, while Samuel Damte and Ofair Quaranten, the program's two local directors, are in Ghana. "It was that call-to-action feeling," Fine adds about starting Mate Masie.
Mate Masie is Adinkra (oon-DIN-krah) for "I have heard, and I have kept it" which, loosely translated, means "I am learning".
One student who has been helped by Mate Masie is William Yakah. He was at the top of his class, but at risk of dropping out of school to work to support his family. But then officials from the program looked at his records and his position in his class and recruited him into their program.
"It is good to be in this program, good in my life," Yakah says. "I thought no one would help, but CGCF helped, so I can live, and do what I want to do, and be what I want to be."
Yakah adds that when he graduates from college he wants to become a doctor so he can give back to his community. "I will be the best doctor in Ghana, in Africa, and in the world," he says. "I won't let any one down. I'll do the best for the world."
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