Thursday, February 23, 2012

Children's Haven Update

A few months ago in October we had received word that our plans to remodel a few building structures in Asikuma and turn them into a children’s haven (foster home) were facing a road block – literally. You can catch up to speed by reading this post.

We were left wondering if God was perhaps steering us in a different location for our children’s haven, or if He was orchestrating different timing for the project. Enter Jake’s recent December trip to Ghana in which he got to visit the makings of Kwahu Orphanage (you can view that post here). Kofi, our in-country social worker, had gradually been building this orphanage from his personal earnings and donations from adoptive families. At the point of Jake’s visit, the project was at a stand-still as Kofi waited to raise more funds.

Immediately after Jake’s day spent at Kwahu he called me and said we needed to strongly consider backing Kofi’s all ready started project. It just made more sense rather than trying to re-invent the wheel when Kofi had such a good thing going and just needed some help to finish it off. Jake and I first connected with Kofi in 2009 when we accepted Justice’s referral and Kofi became our social worker. Justice's was the first-ever adoption case that Kofi worked on and processed. At about the same time that Jake scheduled the December team’s trip to Kwahu, Kofi also took over as the case worker for our current adoption. Anyone that knows Kofi knows that his heart for orphans is HUGE. His own background in growing up as an orphan himself certainly plays into that. Over these past few years, and especially on Jake’s recent trip to Ghana, we have been able to see Kofi’s commitment to caring for these children - Kofi’s whole life is now his social work, and his newlywed wife is right there along with him.

In the days following Jake’s trip we began sketching together a vision of how we could partner with Kofi and make his orphanage a reality that wasn’t years away, but just months away. Since our church had an interest in backing our children’s haven project, we again went to them to ask for help with the funding. We proposed a one-time gift to benefit the remaining construction items for Kwahu Orphanage, and about 2 weeks ago the elders of our church approved our proposal. Here is what the donation will go towards – completion of:

-the roof and ceiling
-all windows and doors
-security fencing
-tiling of the floors
-the water borehole
-all electricity
-purchase of beds, dressers, and appliances
-purchase of mosquito nets in all the rooms

Once completed the home will accommodate an average of 12-16 orphans. The orphanage will have a total of 4 bedrooms complete with their own bathroom. Three of the bedrooms will be designated for the orphans – one room for the boys, one room for the girls, and one room for toddlers and infants. The fourth bedroom will be for the hired house mothers. In addition, Kofi and his wife will also have a room at the orphanage in which they will live and care for the children. The Kwahu Orphanage will also have a full operating kitchen, one main bathroom, a laundry room, study room, and a sitting room. There will be a minimum of two full-time house mothers employed and one assistant. One full-time security guard will also be employed to help control the movement of children and visitors.

The children will attend public school in town during the first year of completion and operation of the home. Once the orphanage is complete, Kofi envisions starting construction on a Christian boarding school that will sit on the same land as the orphanage. He would have the children in the orphanage attend the boarding school, but would also open it to the general public. It would not be a free school as the governmental schools are, but instead it would be a private Christian school where individuals would be required to pay to attend. However, he would plan to have a sponsorship program for the more needy children whose parents have a desire for them to attend a Christian school. His vision is to have phase II completed by December 2013.

Kofi has also laid the initial foundation for the construction of a 96 unit apartment building that will sit on the same 32 plots of land just north of the orphanage. The apartment units will be used for the boarding school so that children from neighboring communities could attend the school and have proper housing provided and included in the school fees. The apartment units will also be used for mission groups that arrive in Ghana as well as for families who are traveling to Kwahu for the adoption of their child. His vision for phase III and the development of this housing complex would be completed in December 2014.

WOWZA – what a vision, huh? It’s clear to see that Kofi is in this for the long-run, and his personal investment into the project shows his commitment and heart for the orphan.

The best part of all this, is that with our church’s donation, Kofi is aiming to finish out the remaining construction on the home over the next 4 weeks. He hopes to be able to have the grand-opening of Kwahu Orphanage while our team is there in mid-March. It would be so great to get to experience the inauguration and to get to celebrate the opening of this safe haven for Ghana’s orphans.

We’ll see what God has in store!

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