By Audrey Ross
Thanks to the generous donation of £1500, from The Lush Charity Pot, sustainable catering stands have been set up and are operating well within the ICCES system of schools. The impact is already being felt with students able to learn their trades with greater work experience but at the same time earning profits that ICCES are able to reinvest into developing the schools.
The stalls will allow the students at Afoako, Atwimaman and Kumasi ICCES to sell on their products to the local community. Two catering stalls have been set up at Afoako and Atwimaman. The profits from this can be reinvested in the schools, making the project sustainable and allowing more students to benefit in future. We expect that within 4 years each stall will have been able to raise enough funds that it would be able to pay for a second stall for another school in a new region. This will help not only those students using the stalls; the profits can be used to improve the facilities at the ICCES such as the computer labs that the Trust has been developing. Moreover the stalls will provide a fantastic practical work experience opportunity for the students who learn entrepreneurship at the schools. Students should then be able to apply their knowledge directly after graduation and be able to start their own businesses.
The catering stalls are targeted towards women’s empowerment. Whilst not discriminating against males the culinary courses taught at the Ghanaian ICCES always attract more women as a part of Ghanaian culture and as it stands currently there is a 98% female majority of students studying catering in the Ashanti region where our projects are based. Moreover this project is giving many of the female students at the ICCES an opportunity to avoid an early marriage, very common in Ghana, and instead concentrate on their careers giving them greater independence in later life through economic freedom, something we consider a human right.
The stalls sell only healthy, organic, protein-rich, low cost vegetarian food, therefore saving on running costs when buying foodstuffs, whilst making the stalls more efficient and increasing profit, and having the benefit of promoting animal rights.
These stalls are giving students a chance to break into the business world with a project that will set them up for their careers teaching them key microfinance tools available as well real-world experience in marketing and administration. Our students are 13-25 year old Ghanaians who are looking to gain employability skills having finished basic secondary school. Each of our stalls are enabling 10 students annually to start work immediately after graduation in a programme where they can be further mentored in their chosen profession. Whilst working at an ICCES catering stall the students will participate in our microfinance initiatives that will enable them to group together to purchase their own stall on completion of their participation in the project. This is encouraging entrepreneurship and independence.
Lastly our students are benefiting from being able to use their skills immediately after graduation rather than having to return to subsistence farming until they are able to save enough capital to start their own businesses.
The Trust, thanks to the Lush Charity Pot donation, has been going from strength to strength and is making a remarkable impact in Ghana. In fact, our Ghanaian director of the Turing Trust, Edmund Pinto, was recently promoted from his position as headmaster of our first partner school, Afoako ICCES, to the regional manager of 13 schools, with responsibility for an area larger than Wales. This is in no doubt due to the wonderful impact that the Trust has had on Afoako ICCES. Edmund would like to pass on his gratitude to the Lush Charity Pot for enabling these amazing developments to happen from both a personal and school-based perspective.
The Turing Trust can be supported through many ways some of which are the computer recycling scheme, using easysearch, www.easysearch.org.uk, a search engine that supports charities, simply type in the charity you wish to support prior to searching. The Turing Trust can be found online at www.turingtrust.co.uk