There are moments in our lives when we pause to reflect on our joy and our luck and our fate-of-birth while being confronted with the reality that others in the world must find joy in desperation and fight a luckless circumstance all while hoping others will care enough to stand with you. Here are the bright faces of the children who attend the State School for the Deaf in Accra, Ghana and they could use your help.

Accra School for the Deaf in Ghana

We are not sentinels alone in our lives. We communicate every day with other watchdog beacons stationed across the globe and this week Janna received a request for help from across the world from Brooke, one of her former American Sign Language Level 3 and 4 students at New York University:

Professor Sweenie: I am sending you some pictures of the students at the state school for the deaf in Accra. The students in the pictures are ages 7-14. The school however, services all school age students. They could use help in basic school supplies like pencils and paper.

Also, I know they are trying to raise funds in order to build a dorm for their students because they are the only state school in Ghana without dorms, which makes it very difficult for their student who have to commute.

Consequently, some students end up missing class often because they cannot make the commute everyday. The school has a bus, but it needs repair. Any kid of help would be appreciated.

Accra School for the Deaf in Ghana

If you are interested in helping the Accra Deaf School it would be great if we could find a way to get the money directly to the school without going through any sort of service agency that will take a cut of donated money for their “operating expenses.”

In a quick web search I found some agencies that claim to help the Accra Deaf School but, according to Brooke’s recent email, that help does not appear to be hitting the ground in Accra. Do you think we can divine the address of the school from this image to send supplies straight to the children?

Accra School for the Deaf in Ghana

This is the outside of the school. It looks like a prison!

Accra School for the Deaf in Ghana Even though there are infrastructure needs, I wonder if directly sending them things like paper and pencils and crayons and other daily resource wants might be a better quick fix to get what they need now?

When a call goes out to find a way to help and you are reminded of your own fortune and your own benefit-of-living, you realize it is the true humanist who can look beyond the smiles and the joy of finally being noticed and acknowledged and validated — even if only for the instant moment of a photograph — to perceive the real need and the loud call for help hiding in the outstretched hands of the Deaf children in Accra, Ghana.

Accra School for the Deaf in Ghana


  1. Hi David,
    I tried Google and couldn’t find anything. Of course, everything isn’t always in Google, so the answers could be on the net elsewhere.
    I’m sure you’ve already asked this, but I wonder if Brooke has the contact information for a teacher or administrator at the school who would be able to get the donations to the students.
    I’d be careful about sending donations to organizations that claim to help or directly to the government because it is too easy for the funds to be misappropriated or wasted.
    Corruption isn’t just a problem in some big American cities. It runs rampant in the third world, especially in the lower level government officials who supplement their meager income by siphoning off a cut of whatever they can grab.
    I knew a guy who worked in Russia for a while for an international intermodal transportation company in the early 1990s who told me that government officials routinely took 1/3 of anything that was shipped through their port and there was nothing that could be done.
    In another case, I remember getting a letter from Africa when I was first starting out practicing law from a client’s sister asking if I could check into requirements and the availability of nursing jobs in the U.S. The person wanted to get a hospital to hire her and process her employment visa, but didn’t know where to start.
    The letter was ripped open and mauled before it got to the U.S. Postal Service — it was in a plastic bag with a disclaimer from the USPS that that was the condition they received the mail from the original postal service overseas.
    I assume someone was looking for anything of value or for money, even though there wasn’t anything of value in the letter.

  2. Hi Chris!
    Thanks for those links! I will ask Brooke for a contact person.
    I agree these companies that are set up to do “good things” always find a way to skim money off the top.
    That’s why I thought it might be better to send things rather than money. Paper instead of pennies. Pencils instead of pounds.

  3. Thanks for the link, Nicola!
    I prefer to find a direct way into the school. I don’t want to go through any middlepeople.
    If these preexisting relationships were working Brooke would not have sent out the plea for more direct help.

  4. They may be able to give you some information about the difficulties involved and how best to solve them – I am quite prepared to email them and ask – if appropriate.
    I would imagine there are various issues at play here – from the sheer difficulty of transportation and intervention and corruption.
    I am currently looking through various *overseas Aid* charities from people like V.S.O to Catholic Aid and Baptist Aid to see if there are any points of contact who could provide more background information on the realities of working on the ground over there and how these can best be circumnavigated.
    My cousin has worked with CAFOD and the baptist equivalent in Ghana, Malawi Kenya and Zimbabwe – she may be able to suggest the most direct route. I also have contacts in South Africa who I have also asked.
    It might also be worth talking to the RNID in the UK to see if they are currently operating any overseas programmes.

  5. Nicola!
    I love your contacts and I admire your ambition!
    Contact away!
    If there is a solid and reasonable way we can help the school from here, there and everywhere, please let us know the method and the means!

  6. Where there is a will there is a way.
    Email sent to the solicitors mentioned in my previous link (and bcc’ed to you) – the same e-mail sent to the British High Commission in Ghana and to The British Council in Ghana.

  7. UPDATE:
    The lovely Nicola told me she is going to blog about the Accra Deaf School tomorrow to try to get some more interest and ideas rolling!
    It’s great to have many minds working for a universal solution!

  8. Chris and Nicola!
    Thank you so much for helping with this matter and it’s a tremendous feeling of warmth and joy to know who your friends are when the call for help goes out.

  9. Hi David,
    Once you find out the best way to get aid to the school, post another entry and I’ll write up something about it over at my entertainment sites since there might be some interest in helping out.
    I also posted over at Nicola’s site to let her know as well.
    What we need to do is find a way to make it easy for people to make some sort of contribution without doing a lot of work.

  10. Thanks, Chris, we’ll try to make all this happen. I appreciate your effort all around! I agree the best way is to see if we can make a “safe donation” so the money gets there fast and hardy for the students’ benefit only.

  11. Thanks for the welcome, David.
    You have to sit there and look at the images for a while before they have an effect – and when that effect takes place, you’re kind-of hit by it.

  12. I agree, Matt. You have to look beyond the initial smiles to see where they all are in the world and how they are all sort of pleading for your help and to be noticed outside the instant glance.

  13. I did some research on Pay Pal this morning after several suggestions that his might be an option.
    From what I can see so far this is going to be difficult as Pay Pal does not appear to operate in Africa apart from some limited operations in South Africa.
    I have emailed paypal to see if they can confirm/deny this.

  14. UPDATE
    I got a reply from PayPal
    “Hello, my name is Shiela and I will be happy to assist you with your
    question if it would be possible for you to open a PayPal account in
    Ms. Brown, we sincerely appreciate your interest in opening an account
    in Ghana. Unfortunately, we are not yet providing services for the
    country or regions in question. Establishing our service in each new
    country or region involves complex changes due to different regulations.
    We hope to be expanding our availability, however, due to the
    complexities of global expansion, we cannot give a timeframe for this.
    We are working hard and look forward to expanding our services to
    additional countries and regions in the future.”
    Back to the drawing board then.

  15. Hello! My name is Paula and I’m portuguese. I’m working in Abuja -Nigeria, teaching portuguese and while planing a trip to Ghana I found your blog. I studied Portuguese Signes Language for 3 years and French Signes Language for 1 year and after thsi stay in Nigeria, I want to make my Masters in Special Education.
    I’m really interested in helping this school, just let me know how can I do it. I think your the best ones to tell me what they need, anything, because If it’s possibel I would like to go there myself and give them some kind of “hoppe”.
    Probably I won’t go to Ghana before June so I can organize everything you advise me.
    Thank for charing this withn the world, and sorry for my english, I’m trying to improve it.
    Paula Isidoro

  16. Hi,
    my partner taught for several months at the deaf school in Accra in 2002 while we were both working in Ghana and I am responsible for the Freeth Cartwright link found by Nicola (on 28/9/2006) (Freeth Cartwright being the firm of lawyers in the UK for whom I work). I and the firm have been raising money in the UK for the school for nearly 5 years and sending it direct to the school’s own bank account (NOT to a central government account). We have paid for a number of (mainly capital) projects from construction and drainage works, through repairs to the buses, to refurbishment and furniture. The headmaster can be trusted 100% and I have quotations and/or receipts for almost every item of expenditure over 5 years!
    The needs at the school is genuine, but the staff can be trusted to allocated resources where they are needed most: therefore I have always sent money direct and, subject to my comment and oversight, the headmaster has been at liberty to spend as he wishes. While we haven’t solved even a fraction of their problems, we have seen real improvement over the last 5 years.
    If anyone would like further information and to contribute to the school please contact me via the website and I can provide all necessary details of how to donate – and I guarantee that 100% of your donation will reach the children.
    James Dunkley

  17. I’m working a radio station in Accra-Ghana called Vibe Fm And it has a radio program that wants to help in a small way by providing little donations ,But i need a contact from the any one working in the school, so as to get more information.if there are any question please let me know.I’m called Marvin Sesay

  18. My name is Georgina Yeboah Owusua ampaw and i was a former student of the state school for the deaf. And want to know how i can help my school buy contributing in cash and helping my other collegues.

  19. ITS URGENT!!!!!!!!!
    its 4 days to the end of the dell social innovation competition. please vote for rhema so we can get a library project for the deaf students in Ghana. its free to vote and will only take a few minutes. kindly click this:
    search for rhema and vote the idea to the semi-finals. you would be a blessing to these deaf students if you do. the target is 5000 people and we have only 230 votes. no one would see you but GOD will and will richly bless you. its urgent! please help. thank you

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