Born in Bechema in the Ahafo Region, Gloria Anima possesses first-hand experience of how children from low income communities of Ghana struggle with access to quality education in the country.
Upon becoming a teacher at Aboabo No. 4 Presby Primary School – Dormaa in September 2007, she knew she was “brought to the school for a purpose”.
She tells SheHUB.tv: “Interestingly, becoming a teacher was something I never thought of growing up even after my secondary education. But when I first stepped on the grounds of my school, the sight of a dilapidated school block with few children around, became my driving force.
“I see the need to achieve quality education delivery and the desire to arouse learners’ interest in school and inspire the next generation.”
The 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) report estimates that a total of 1.2 million children between the ages of four and 17 in Ghana are not in school. Experts opined that this is linked to poverty and underfunding among other factors.
After completing her first degree in University of Education Winneba, she desired to change the face of education in rural communities using the school where she is teaching as a focal point.
Filling the gaps
To spur academic growth for pupils, Gloria employed lots of interventions to help sustain learners’ interest such as: the formation of a reading and debating club to improve their reading culture and instill public speaking skills for them.
Armed with a passion for sporting activities, she revamped the school’s sports team and this has made the school excel in most of the circuit sports competitions across the region.
Periodically, she writes proposals to benevolent people, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to solicit funds to secure teaching and learning resources for the school.
“I have been able to provide eight bicycles to learners who commute from other villages to access education and to teachers who teach in a village near Aboabo.”
Chiyiri Villima, aged 16, said the benefit of the bicycle has made life easier for him considering the unfortunate status of his family. Before this time, the long distance from his home to school affected his academic pursuits as he used to miss the first two periods every morning in the school.
“I have received a school uniform, a bicycle and financial support from Ms. Gloria. Honestly, I come from a very wretched home and since these opportunities started falling into my arms, life has been easier for me,” the Basic 7 pupil tells SheHUB.tv.
“My parents are peasant farmers, I used to walk more than 9-10 miles to school and the same distance back home every day on an empty stomach, in torn school uniform and poor shoes. It got to a point that I decided to give up and almost stopped schooling to join my parents in the farming activities because I was lacking the necessary things that would make education attractive to me. But Ms. Gloria saved my life. Through her, I can confidently boast of a bicycle which has eased my movement. I currently report to school very early…”
As Chiriyi continues his education hitch-free, he sees the teacher as a source of inspiration and a hope to reach his academic goals in life.
Ataa Franlina, aged 12 and in Basic 5, revealed that she got enthused with education again for what Ms Gloria is doing to her and she hopes to become a teacher who will spread joy like her one day: “Whenever my school uniform tears, she patches it with her sewing machine in the school. Life has not been easy after my father’s death and the unfavorable condition almost ruined my education but Ms. Gloria has made it quite simple for myself,” the paternal orphan revealed to SheHB.tv
During the Covid-19 pandemic, she visited some radio stations within her municipality to sensitize parents and their wards about the preparation towards schools reopening having given the pupils some learning resources to keep them engaged during the lockdown.
When the school finally opened, she lobbied from the Ministry of Education to construct a three-unit classroom block for the school while devoting her personal salaries to facelift the deplorable conditions of the school.
Through her effort, the school now boasts 180 dual desks, five library shelves and tables, and 42 teachers’ chairs among other furniture. In December 2022, she secured 3,000 books for her pupils worth Gh. 117,000 ($10,235)
Defying the odds
As Ms. Gloria is able to boost the enrollment of the school from 133 when she stepped into the school in 2007 to 542 as of now, she believes financial constraints pose a challenge which is impeding her from doing more.
Nevertheless, she is not stopping to beam a light for children like Chiriyi and others from the low income communities of the state. She hopes the government would come to her aid to work collaboratively in imbibing sound education in the pupils.
Mohammed Taoheed is a Nigerian-based freelance writer. Follow him here .