Teens from Portsmouth churches help decorate school in Ghana

Ben Dawson and Fran Carabott
Ben Dawson and Fran Carabott
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Hard-working teenagers volunteered to help at a school in Ghana.

Young people from churches in Portsmouth had flown there to decorate a classroom for children with special needs.

It was the joy and happiness on their faces that made us so emotional.

Megan Wade

After four days of back-breaking work, they were finally able to show the pupils.

And it was the joyful reaction of the children from St George’s Anglican School in Ho that made it all worthwhile. They started singing ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands’ to show how pleased they were with the transformation.

One of the leaders, Fran Carabott from St Jude’s Church, in Southsea, says: ‘The children with special needs came alive when we were there.

‘They really wanted to help, and they would hold tins of paint for hours for us.

‘It’s incredible, because their culture generally prefers to ignore them. So it was great to do something practical that made a real difference to them and their environment.

‘And for a lot of our team, it really built their faith up. They came away changed, having grown their faith or found real purpose. Everyone got on really well and we achieved everything we wanted to do.’

The 17 adults and teenagers on the Project G team had spent six months raising the money to fund the trip and met regularly to prepare.

The Bishop of Ho, the Rt Rev Matthias Mededues-Badohu, who lives on the St George’s School complex, had invited the team to decorate the classroom as there is little provision for children with special needs in Ghana.

Megan Wade, 17, from St James Church, in Milton, says: ‘The highlight was when we had finished painting and the children with special needs and their teachers gathered in the classroom. It was the joy and happiness on their faces that made us so emotional.’

Hollie Simmons, 16, from Kings Church in Somers Town, adds: ‘It gave us a real sense of reality, because they all seem so happy when they have so little.’