Ghana Workshops

Following a whole-school assembly where we learned more about life in our partner village in Ghana, we took part in workshops to further explore some aspects of life there.


We already knew that many people carry things on their heads and wanted to experience this for ourselves.

In class we experimented with a variety of plate and bowl shapes to see which worked best and we attempted to carry different loads. It was extremely difficult to carry water as it moved about!


Diet and Cooking

We also learned about some of the staple foods the villagers in Kwamebikrom eat daily. We cooked yam and cassava to make 'fufu' and tried fried plantain, which is similar to banana. As with most foods, there were mixed reactions to the flavours and textures!

Fufu is made and eaten daily in the village. Yam and cassava are chopped and boiled to soften them, then pounded together to make a thick, sticky mixture similar to mashed potato. It is served in large balls which are then pulled apart and dipped into soups and stews. It takes over an hour to make and the mixture is pounded with a large wooden stick.
 


Drumming



 

 


Sewing

 


There are many skilled dressmakers in the village who make beautiful, brightly coloured clothing from bold, patterned fabrics. The fabrics are bought from the larger cities where they are hand-dyed or printed in factories.

The village dressmakers are able to take measurements and create outfits within hours, producing beautiful dresses, collared shirts and school uniforms. We were delighted to be presented with outfits made especially for us.

Although there is now electricity in the village much of the machine sewing is still done manually.

At assembly, we were  shown  an  amazing rucksack which had been made by sewing offcuts of brightly coloured fabric together. We loved it! Many of the markets sell these to tourists, along with items of patchwork clothing. Mrs Denvir set us the challenge of making her a pair of trousers using scraps of Ghanaian fabric!

During our workshops we worked with parent helpers to hand sew patches together. Many of us then had the opportunity to use a sewing machine to make the stitching stronger. After two days of workshops and lots of piecing together, the trousers were finally made! An excellent example of creativity and sustainability! Mrs Denvir says they are so comfortable!





In October, Ms Lamond and I travelled with four members of Murrayfield Church to visit our partner village of Kwamebikrom in Ghana. We were welcomed warmly and were delighted to see the efforts the pupils of Edinburgh Unity Presbytery Primary School had gone to, to greet us. Stones had been laid and painted with the message 'Welcome Home Roseburn Primary' and the Scottish flag was flying proudly alongside the flag of Ghana.

 During our week in the village we visited five primary schools. The staff and pupils were thrilled to have visitors and were happy to share their learning and teaching with us. After observing many classes at work, we delivered lessons in classes, focusing on developing literacy and numeracy skills. We shared 'postcards' from all of our pupils at Roseburn and played short video clips on an iPad which showed our pupils singing, playing in the playground and garden, eating lunch outside and talking about themselves - all experiences which the Kwamebikrom pupils were able to identify with.

We also delivered teacher training to a group of 30, including teachers, Head Teachers and members of the Education Department. During this we introduced many of the active learning activities we use within Numeracy at Roseburn, including physical games, working with concrete materials, using numberlines and 100 squares. These were well received by the staff who were very competitive and worked hard to achieve points and prizes! We also highlighted the different ways in which pupils learn, exploring visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning.

In addition to developing literacy and numeracy skills we explored some issues relating to Health and Wellbeing, stressing the importance of regular breaks, active learning, water for rehydration and the necessity for ALL pupils to have a lunch during their six  hour day at school.  

During our last day, we had a whistle stop tour of all five primary schools. We decided that the stationery and sports equipment kindly donated by our pupils, Murrayfield parishioners, Sainsburys and Decathlon should be shared equally between the schools so that ALL of the pupils in the village would benefit.  Thank you for your support in this - the resources were gratefully received by both teachers and pupils!
 


We were delighted to see that new furniture has been bought with funds previously raised through the Murrayfield/Roseburn Partnership and while we were there, we witnessed the start of the latrine project, also funded by the Partnership.

We have made several recommendations for the future including locked doors on all classrooms to ensure furniture and resources are kept securely. Many of the schools also desperately need new Kindergarten blocks as they are far too small for the numbers of pupils they have. Now that the village has electricity we would also like to see fans installed in the classrooms to facilitate a healthier working environment for all.


Our pupils at Roseburn will now have the opportunity to view photographs and videos of school and village life in Kwamebikrom. Although there are many differences, the pupils will be able to identify with the many things we have in common such as the need for love, kindness and sharing in our societies. We shall contrast and compare our daily lives and explore what we can learn from each other. The postcards written by the pupils in Kwamebikrom demonstrate the similar interests of both sets of pupils. The pupils will also learn how lifestyles vary vastly across Ghana, from the bustling, modern cities complete with all modern amenities to the rural villages hundreds of miles away whose way of life is much more simple and often without electricity and running water.


 In addition, our pupils will have the opportunity to explore some of the colourful and vibrant artwork brought back from Ghana. Below is a selection of some pupil work which has already been completed.

This truly was a memorable and humbling experience for Ms Lamond and I. We were able to share our knowledge and experience of teaching and learning for the benefit of the  people of Kwamebikrom. Equally, we have brought back much to share with the staff and pupils at Roseburn and look forward to exploring this with them.

Mrs Denvir


You can view photos we have uploaded to our Ghana gallery by clicking here.
 

Ghana History

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During the past ten years, the staff and pupils of Roseburn, along with Murrayfield Parish Church, have developed close links with the village of Kwamebikrom in Ghana.

The village is in a rural area, two days drive from the capital city of Accra, and at present has no electricity supply. Water is obtained from a borehole and carried to the houses and medical clinic by the villagers. The local people depend upon agriculture to sustain their economy.

Together we have raised funding to build and resource a library there and staff have taken part in reciprocal visits where they have worked closely with teachers and pupils to deepen their understanding of life in Scotland. Teaching packs have been developed and introduced along with books, PE equipment and stationery.

At Roseburn Primary School, close relationships between the school and community are promoted and children are encouraged to understand their own culture and the culture of others. To develop their understanding of global citizenship, the pupils learn about life in Ghana and take part in enterprise projects, including the sale of Fairtrade products.
 
During February 2010, five members of staff from the school travelled to Kwamebikrom with a group from Murrayfield Parish Church. The village of Kwamebikrom has five primary schools and one secondary school. We worked alongside the staff and pupils of the newly-built ‘Edinburgh Primary School and Kindergarten’.

The purpose of this trip was to consolidate previous work and further develop our partnership. In addition to providing much needed resources, we worked alongside the teaching staff and pupils to show how resources can be used to enhance pupil learning and extend the curriculum.

**It is hoped that a further working partnership trip will be made by two of our class teachers and members of Murrayfield Church in October 2014 to build on the valuable work done previously and to further develop links and support within the Kwamebikrom community. 

The people of Kwamebikrom appreciate the support and interest from Scotland, both in terms of educational input from visiting teachers and educational resources provided.
 

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Mrs Donaldson and Mrs Rankin set
off for school!
 Year 5 hard at work.

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The Nursery Class with up to 70
pupils.
Pupils enjoying their first
experience of painting.
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A nursery child draws pictures in
the soil.
Resources kindly donated by
Roseburn families and Sainsburys.