Operation Zuarungu provides education to children and capacity building support to their families in a poor rural community. The project is working with the Ghana Education Service to develop a beacon school in the community.
Operation Zuarungu began in 2004 when AfriKids partnered a team of local volunteers led by Charles Dagore, a local pastor that had been running classes for children who could not afford to go to school, under a mango tree. Zuarungu is an isolated set of communities where families are overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture and children are often found to be out of school and working either on farms or the streets of Bolgatanga. Charles brought our attention to the community’s needs and we spent eighteen months building trust and understanding with the traditional rulers and local families, listening to their needs. Simultaneously AfriKids made a pilot investment of £500 in Charles’ work which he used to build two basic classroom structures and provide full time education to 54 children.
We scaled this up and in 2006 Grace Preparatory School opened its doors. In its first year, the school taught 325 children in nursery and primary education. It provided every child in the school with their basic school resources and built the capacity of their families through income generation and health support. By 2008 the school had established a good academic record and expanded to offer Junior High Education. By 2011 the first children to go through Junior High Education at Grace Preparatory graduated and moved on to Senior High Schools, a huge achievement for children from this type of poor and isolated community. The Ghana Education Service is taking on an increasing number of the school's running costs with a view to complete integration in the government system and AfriKids continues to invest in the school's improvement plan as well as supporting the families of children who attend the school with healthcare, micro-finance and where needed house building.