Camilla writes about the Ghana project
"Getting involved in the Ghana On the Line Project has been an extremely valuable experience for me. I feel it has been a great learning experience for many people and has affected more than just the immediate eighteen in the group. As well as the teachers and pupils of Downlands School, who have been very interested and supportive of the project which started in June 2000, other schools have also been getting involved.
After having looked first hand and researched life in Ghana, the group decided on different categories to teach primary school children about Ghana within a workshop. One topic was "Houses and Homes". We tried to focus mainly on the similarities between the two countries which surprised us as well as the children. During these workshops it was us, the students, who took on the role as teacher. It was a very challenging task because none of us had been put in this situation before, and were very unsure of how to treat the children. But the children really enjoyed themselves and, by the end of the first workshop, we were all feeling far more at ease and a lot more confident.
Before these workshops I had not interacted with young children before and it has certainly improved my communication skills. I have also developed teaching skills which I never knew I had. As well as getting involved with young students from other schools, the project has also brought different students from within the school together. I have worked with people I wouldn"t have before, for whatever reasons. It has been really interesting getting to know new people and working as a team with them.
My confidence when approaching new people has improved now, not only through working with the children, but also through having to speak about and explain the project to so many new people interested in it.
I have travelled a lot with my family, but getting involved in the Ghana on the Line Project has made me want to experience the true culture of a place more, rather than the tourist sites which we usually only get to see. It pushed me to get involved with an expedition to Peru.
I have always thought of myself as being a fairly open-minded person, but before learning about Ghana, I didn"t realise how many of the stereotypical views of Africa I took on board. I was surprised to learn that not all Africans live in mud-huts surrounded by barren landscape or walk around in the nude! It has really opened my eyes to different cultures and I have learnt not to categorise a whole country and the people living there as the same because of one thing I may have heard. I have learnt so much from this project and am very pleased I got involved and grateful I was given the opportunity to do so."