Spotlight on Service - Neeta Patel - Ghana
During the first four months of BYP, I am volunteering at New Horizon Special School in Osu, Accra, Ghana. New Horizon is one of the few schools in the country for kids with special needs. Mrs. Salome Francois, who is currently the Executive Director, founded the school in 1972. Her daughter, Helen, who is still a student here, was her inspiration in building this facility. New Horizon is divided into two sections – the educational section provides academic training to the younger students and the sheltered workshops provide vocational training, such as batik, tie & dye, beading, and kente weaving, to the adult students. The school also operates a small handicraft store to sell the students’ products.
My tasks at New Horizon vary from day to day. I started with general administrative jobs and organizing the small school library. As I gained more responsibilities, I began to send out letters to various banks and large businesses in the area asking for donations. Next year is New Horizon’s 40th anniversary, and to celebrate the school is installing an E-Learning Center. I did research on what types of products they need and provided cost estimates. Occasionally, I will travel to different companies with the headmistress to give short presentations on the school and our needs to solicit sponsorships. Currently, I am planning a large dinner fundraiser at a hotel in Accra for the end of May, and I am compiling a school yearbook with short profiles on the students and staff of the school to be distributed at the launch of the anniversary celebrations.