Let’s meet Godfred

By Barbara Allison

I have to believe that many of you are still asking yourself, “who IS GodFred?” “Why the unique spelling?” “Does the foundation have a religious affiliation?” Here is your answer!

Godfred is a 10- year old boy who lives in Senase. Five years ago, our co founder Fredrick Benneh made a visit to Akatim School, which is the school he attended as a young boy and one of the poorest in the area. Fred was there with a group of students from Semester at Sea bringing school supplies and smiles to the children.

It was during a game with the students that Fred became aware of this very bright young boy named Godfred. Godfred knew the answers to ALL of the questions, and by the end of the game he had won every prize they had brought with them.

Unfortunately, children who attend Akatim School have very little chance of ever moving on with their education and finding their way out of a life of poverty. Seeing such great promise in Godfred, Fred knew he had to find a way to get him to a better school where he would have a chance at reaching his full potential.

Soon after this meeting, Fred approached his mom about bringing Godfred to live with her where he would be close enough to get to the next city and a school that would provide him with the kind of education that he would never be able to get at Akatim.

With Godfred’s young mother giving her consent to the arrangement, Godfred moved to Senase to Fred’s home and was enrolled in Freeman Methodist School, which is one of the finest in the area.

Of course, a better school also meant higher school fees, but since Fred was determined to give Godfred a chance for a better life through education, he found a way to pay for his school fees through the small amount he earned running tours to his village.

Therefore, the answer to the question “who is Godfred?” is just this. Godfred is our inspiration. He is a young boy who is now excelling in school because someone gave him an opportunity. It’s about paying it forward, one child at a time. We look forward to all of the “GodFreds” to come with the opening of our new school!

Click on the photos below to see larger versions.

Godfred graduated from 6th grade! 

Godfred with his biological mother and grandmother

Our school building is nearly complete!

Semanhyiya American School, Senase, Ghana, AfricaWow! Look at Semanhyiya American School! With the help of the Social Innovation Challenge prize money awarded to co-founder Fredrick Benneh, our school building is nearly complete! Now there is still important work ahead of us as we need school furnishings, computers, lunch tables, and play equipment to provide the environment we want for our students. You can help us today by making a donation in any amount!

The first day of school is just 77 days away!

Adinkra: The Semanhyiya American School Logo

by Barbara Allison

Semanhyiya American School LogoWe’re thrilled to have a school name that conveys the special story that led us to this point. Semanhyiya, which means, “if I had never met you”, speaks to the fact that if Fred and I had not met in the Spring of 2013, his dreams of attending University himself, and of bringing opportunity through education to children in his village of Senase, would still just be dreams. We searched to find a logo that would represent the kind of learning we expect to take place in our school and the values we plan to instill in our students.

In looking for a way to honor the Ghanaian culture with our logo, Fred suggested we look up Adinkra. Adinkra are visual symbols that represent spiritual, moral and familial beliefs. Before having a written language, this was an important part of Asante culture because the symbols were used as a story telling device. Each symbol has a name and meaning, many derived from proverbs or historical events that convey traditional wisdom and aspects of life or the environment.

nyan_lgAfter finding several symbols that we felt communicated our message, we finally decided on the Wisdom Knot, or Nyansapo, which symbolizes wisdom, intelligence and patience. Just as academic success is crucial to the future of these children, we believe that developing good character is just as important.

The goal is for the logo to send a message that our school values learning through experience, reasoning and logic, and that hard work, perseverance and determination will lead our students to achieving their highest potential.