Norfolk charity celebrates helping more than 400,000 children over 25 years
A Norfolk charity that has helped more than 400,000 children in Ghana has celebrated its silver jubilee.
The Wulugu Project has been giving children a safe space and an education in the northern region of the African country since its creation in 1993.
Formed by former science teacher Lynne Symonds, from Great Melton, the charity took its name from the first school it was associated in the village of Wulugu.
Mrs Symonds said: “We’ve been able to help, at the very least, 400,000 children in Ghana, have built or repaired something like 100 schools, plus hostels for girls and women teachers, have opened seven vocational schools for girls in some of the most neglected and dangerous areas.
“Many people there have nothing at all - it’s hard to imagine - but they do want better, healthier futures for their children. By helping with their education, we are told that we are really changing things.”
At the start of the project there were 60 pupils at Wulugu’s secondary school, that number has grown to 2,000 with 80 teachers.
More than 80 volunteers and donors from across Norfolk gathered to celebrate the 25 years of work at a party held at The Old Rectory in Great Melton, near Wymondham.
The gathering was joined by the Fine City Chorus barbershop singers, Ghanaian theme storyteller Laurie Steel, and Wymondham Rotarian Hugh Morgan, playing a barrel organ.
Mrs Symonds added: “Educating girls was rare and difficult when this school opened.
“We opened the first hostel for them, and it has been packed ever since; girls sleep two per bunk bed and some on floors. And now, there are two more hostels.
“Our work is far from done: there is a great deal more that we need to do.”
The project emerged out of a chance meeting at a science conference in Japan between Mrs Symonds, then a teacher at Hethersett Old Hall School, and the head of a school in Ghana.
Because of Mrs Symonds’ work, she has been made chief of three tribes in Ghana and earned the titles Woman Chief of Enlightenment and Education, and Queen of All Philanthropists.
But she says that the work would not have been possible without the countless volunteers and donations to the charity.