Under the Knife: Ghana Project strives for educational outreach

Formed by sophomore Rejoice Owusu, senior Ben DeGeorge and senior Jesse Parent, the Ghana Project is a grassroots organization hoping to leave a significant impact oncommunities local and abroad.

Beginning last fall, the group has collaborated about 20 dedicated members, all of whom are hoping to get the program off the ground with funding from the Student Association and turn its many plans into action.

This group combines the resources of the students of Geneseo and Genesee Valley Global Friendships, an initiative to mutually benefit the community in western New York and Ghana.

Each meeting is initiated with a different Ghanaian ice-breaker. Ranging from Ghanaian chocolate samples to a "There's a Fire on the Mountain" - a game similar to "Duck, Duck Goose" with singing and clapping. Each meeting serves as a Ghanaian culture lesson and service opportunity. Members work to learn the Ghanaian handshake as well, a feat that requires a great deal of manual dexterity to the untrained hand.

Owusu said her favorite part of the Ghana project is "the great amount of interest that this campus has shown toward it. I want to continue to educate and share my culture with as many Geneseo students as possible."

Currently, the group's primary goal is to build and begin managing a school in Ghana. They hope to be involved in the maintenance and upkeep of the school, and possibly even send students over to teach in it to ensure its effectiveness.

The group intends to raise funds through creative and innovative means, which also serve to spread information about Ghanaian culture. Plans are in motion to devote an entire April weekend to awareness and fundraising activities such as a 5k run/walk, kickball tournament, T-shirt sale and an exotic Ghanaian food cookout.

According to DeGeorge, Geneseo is taking a lot of interest in Ghana. "This school-building project will take advantage of that energy and will involve many different organizations, groups, classes, individuals and even residence halls like the Dante House and Steuben Hall to volunteer and make it happen," he said. "We are very excited to collaborate with anyone who is interested."

The Ghana Project hopes to combine forces with the Dante House, which is hosting Ghanaian professor Ernest Owusu for a speech on March 26. The group intends to supplement the speech with a Ghanaian dance followed by a brief lesson for willing participants.

With such large educational ideas and an unstoppable work ethic, the Ghana Project is happy to be working with several education-specific groups on campus, such as the Council for Exceptional Children and Young Children's Council.