07.06.2023 Ghana lessons at the Carlo Mierendorff School
Once again, Thomas Erkert from HITA e.V. has organized a lesson about Ghana in all classes of grade 6. This was the first event of its kind after the Corona pandemic. It is always a very special pleasure to introduce this West African country and our HITA activities to the students. It was unbelievable how much the students listened attentively and still wanted to learn more. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the teachers at CMS who make these special lessons possible and who also take up and deepen the topics addressed in various subjects. This particular lesson begins with a brief introduction to Ghana. Maps were used to show where Ghana is located on this vast African continent. The size of the country, it is about the same size as Great Britain, and the population and age distribution were also explained. On the basis of charts, the aging of German society on the one hand and the significantly younger Ghanaian society on the other hand were addressed and discussed. In some classes there were also children from Ghana or other African countries, who were then integrated as experts. A separate topic was the language diversity of Ghana. The official language of Ghana is English, a language that is the mother tongue of only a tiny minority of Ghanaians. The reason for choosing English as the official language is the extraordinarily large number of different languages and dialects in Ghana. Thus, there are nine main languages. These are officially promoted and applied in both primary and secondary schools. In these nine languages: Akan (with Aschanti, Twi, Fante, Nzima, Akuapem, Akyem-Bosome, Kwahu, Ahafo, Asen, ...), Dagaare-Wali, Dagbani, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja and Kasem also appear in various print products. There are also 40 to more than 100 other languages, not counting micro languages with fewer than 1000 speakers. The question of how the people in Ghana can communicate was of great concern to the school children, as there are many students with a migration background at CMS who know this problem from their own experience. A special role in the lessons is played by the ball, which we made ourselves together with children in Ghana. For the students in grades 6, it was hard to imagine that you could actually play soccer with "this heavy ball." Only this proof photo 😊 let the doubts fall silent. Soccer is symbolic of poverty but at the same time also of enormous innovative power.
Great astonishment among the children is always evoked by the pictures describing the Ghanaian health care system. Recordings from hospitals, maternity wards or pharmacies illustrate how important our support is in this area. Most of the students can hardly believe that there are only about 50-100 different medicines in a Ghanaian pharmacy of a smaller hospital. In an average German pharmacy, on the other hand, there are more than 10,000 different medications; theoretically, the patient can choose from more than 100,000 approved medications and usually receives them, even if they are not in stock at the pharmacy, within a few hours/days. Another interesting insight into the daily school life of students in Ghana was provided by pictures showing classrooms without furniture or other equipment. Many students have noticed that there are no blackboards, textbooks, atlases, or any media. One student asked, "how can you learn like that?" The students found the school uniforms shown, which are common in all schools in Ghana, amusing. ehr than 10,000 different medications; theoretically, the patient can choose from over 100,000 approved medications and usually receive them, even if they are not in stock at the pharmacy, within a few hours/days. Another interesting insight into the daily school life of students in Ghana was provided by pictures showing classrooms without furniture or other equipment. Many students have noticed that there are no blackboards, textbooks, atlases, or any media. One student asked, "how can you learn like that?" The students found the school uniforms shown, which are common in all schools in Ghana, amusing.
At the end of the lesson, we turned to the topic of child labor. What does this mean for the children in Ghana? "You don't have to bother with the male and female teachers" was a spontaneous response. Pictures from a palm oil mill not only showed how dangerous child labor often is, it also illustrated the terrible working conditions under which many children in Ghana must work to support their parents. Ghana is one of the world's largest producers of palm oil, with over half a million hectares under cultivation (see https://www.rege nwald.org/themen/palmoel/palmoelflaeche). Estimates suggest that despite compulsory education, about 20% of children in Ghana have to work. Around 700,000 children work in cocoa farming alone. The dangers for the children are manifold: many of them carry too heavy loads, get injured when using machetes to clear the forests, or get sick from pesticides they come into contact with. In addition, there are injuries from falls from trees or bites from snakes and spiders(see https://www.suedwind-institut.de%20FS%. The student who was quoted at the beginning of this article aptly stated that if he saw or heard that, he would rather go to CMS every day! At the end of each lesson, we discuss with the classes how each individual could contribute to improving the situation of children in Ghana. Great ideas were developed in the process. The best part is that some of these ideas will be implemented at the school's Africa Day, which is being prepared now through fall break. The Carlo Mierendorff School's Africa Day 2023 is expected to take place in early October. We will inform you / you about it here and report.