Story from Isaac Akwetey-Okunor
Kloma Gbi, a youth-driven association established on the conviction of the need for a more effective and active voice for Krobos in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality, has rekindled the spirit of communalism in the area.
The group, through the instrumentality of other well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies, has built and commissioned a multi-purpose six-unit class room block and other ancillary offices for the Kpong Presby Junior High School.
Kloma Gbi decided to embark on the project dubbed “OWIM”, which literally means our widow’s mite, to rescue teachers and students of the 52-year-old deathtrap of a classroom block housing the Junior High School.
Half the pupils in Form One sit on logs and piles of wood (wawa boards) to use their laps during classes due to the limited number of desks.
There is a daily scramble over the few desks which are occupied on a first-come first-served basis. Students who are unable to make it to school early enough to reserve a desk for themselves before class sessions, either perch by their colleagues on what are mono desks, or embrace the discomfort that comes with sitting on the improvised seat, a pile of wooden boards.
Academic work does not only grind to a halt at the sight of clouds (now a regular feature in this rainy season), because of the dilapidated structure, part of which has been ripped off already, but the pupils, numbering 129, return to school after every downpour to meet drenched desks and the ardous task of draining water from their classroom and drying the desks before classes begin.
An old student of the school, Dr. Stephen Manortey, Head of the Biostatistics Department of the Ensign College of Public Health, Kpong, initiated the construction of a new unit, but was initially frustrated due to what he described as the uncooperative posture of the church and assembly.
Giving a narrative of how the project started, Dr. Manortey indicated that he was touched to start the project following the threatening state of the building in which he once sat during the early days of his life.
According to him, he was then pursing his education in the United States of America (USA), and, therefore, took the opportunity to solicit funds from friends, corporate bodies, and family members.
He continued that discussions were held with the management of the Presby Church to officially inform them and have their permission to reconstruct the dilapidated school building.
Dr. Manortey hinted that Kloma Gbi had joined hands with him since they shared the same vision and mission, leading to the soliciting for funds and contributions from members of the area who are in good financial and societal standing.
He was overwhelmed with joy after the completion of the project, adding that it was like a dream come true, and profusely expressed his appreciation to Kloma Gbi and charged them to do more for their communities.
He also charged the teachers and students to give out their best, since they do not have any excuse to give again.
At a durbar to commission the project, a former Minister for Energy, Boakye Agyarko, stated: “It is a very important edifice, given what the school has before,” adding that, “it is important, because the previous building was not providing the environment for quality teaching and learning.”
The former Minister for Energy, who is an illustrious son of the area, commended Kloma Gbi for their high level of communal spirit, describing the project as very important and worthy of emulation.
According to him, the development of our respective communities is not entirely the government’s responsibility.
He explained that it would be unpardonable and irresponsible for the people of the area that, in the face of all these calamities, to have remained silent and not do anything about the situation.
According to him, the gesture demonstrated by Kloma Gbi is the beginning of more developmental projects, starting from other two dilapidated school buildings next to the newly-constructed edifice.
To ensure that the two dilapidated buildings are turned into useful facilities, the former Minister for Energy launched a fundraising with seed money of GH¢5,000 to reconstruct another school building.
He was, however, quick to parry away the argument that both present and past governments have neglected the Krobo area, and rather charged them to sacrifice and postpone their enjoyment and develop the area, other than depending on the government.
To him, he holds it a responsibility to give back to the area, following a simple fundamental principle of the fact that is the community which made him, hence, he also has to develop area with all that he has.
“If anybody thinks a government can satisfy the entire needs of a community, then that person has a wrong view of what a community is, because a community is a self-government, where individual men and women aid and protected their communities.”
To him, the principles of community and communal spirit would be defeated, as well as members of the community failing themselves, if they sit back expecting the government to provide everything they need.
The Headmaster of the school, Mr. Prosper Elolo Adikpe, expressed his profound gratitude to Kloma Gbi and partners for the timely intervention, since both teachers and pupils were just making do with a death trap of a building.
He disclosed that “the children don’t feel safe, as well as the teachers, in such a building, which, by extension, affected teaching and learning negatively.
“Here is a child who is afraid to learn and a teacher who is also afraid to teach in such a building.”
According to him, the state of the school, prior to the construction of the new building, really affected teaching and learning negatively, since most often teachers and pupils had to close abruptly any time it threatened to rain.
The Headmaster, recounting one of the incidents, disclosed that on May 8, this year, during a rain storm, he was hit by material in an effort to run away and fell unconscious for almost an hour when part of the building roof was ripped off.
He disclosed that the state of the building sent shivers, fear and panic into both teachers and pupils, particularly after the incident
Touching on the government’s efforts towards the development of education in the area, the Kpong Presby Junior High School Headmaster charged the general public to emulate the shining examples and steps of Kloma Gbi towards community development.
He explained that the government alone cannot do everything at a go, a situation he linked with many children eating from the same bowl, with the tendency that some will get more whilst others get little or none.