Written by; AKMEL Meless Serge Bernadin
My name is AKMEL Meless Serge Bernadin, student in Labor Economics and Human Resources at FELIX HOUPHOUËT BOIGNY UNIVERSITY, also a member of the AIESEC organization in which I currently hold the position of National Manager of the Finance and Legality department – Administrative at AIESEC in IVORY COAST.
I am writing this article to you with the aim of relating my experience as an international volunteer in GHANA from February 13 to March 24, 2023 in the field of education (School Help).
It often happens that we complain about the difficulties faced by certain countries around the world, or even certain localities in our various countries, but when it comes to doing what it takes to be able to help these people, we find excuses. Perhaps because of lack of time, because of lack of financial means, or even because of the fact that we necessarily expect something in return (example: money).
Volunteering is an altruistic personal approach that requires no other reason than the desire to invest for free, purely and simply.
Hence the question: does free generosity exist?
I started volunteering in the AIESEC association, more precisely in the local committee of AIESEC COCODY-ABIDJAN in March 2020. But the idea of living an international experience began in January 2022, where I matured the idea of doing a volunteering experience in an English-speaking country in order to improve my level in English.
But a concern arose; and it was a matter of money. So I found the solution to open a crate specifically for this experience. Which led me to plan and put my international volunteer experience in February 2023.
It is December 2023, and I finally decide on the country of my choice based on the money that was in the box I had opened in January 2022. My choice went to one of the English-speaking countries closer to the Ivory Coast. It was GHANA.
This is how it went. Being a member of the AIESEC organization, more precisely of the local committee of AIESEC COCODY-ABIDJAN, I decided to apply for a six-week voluntary internship opportunity in GHANA in January 2023.
For me, it was a question of going to GHANA and teaching French on a voluntary basis in a school without pay over a period of six weeks.
After applying, I now face the problem of airfare, because all my savings from January 2022 until January 2023 could not support my airfare. I had to be in GHANA by February 13 in order to start work on time, but the land borders of COTE D’IVOIRE were closed.
Always with a view to achieving my objective, which is to carry out a volunteering experience in an English-speaking country, I therefore decided to send a letter requesting authorization to leave the country to the MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR AND IVORY COAST SECURITY. And by the grace of GOD it was a success.
On Saturday February 11, 2023 at 9 a.m., I left home (Abidjan-Yopougon) for Bassam station (in Abidjan -Treichville) where I took a coach with the company Océan Transport leaving for the city of Aboisso. I continued the journey with another shared vehicle from Aboisso to the Noé border.
I remind you that to do volunteering, you need love, passion, the desire to want to help without expecting anything in return. And when these conditions are met, volunteering becomes simply magnificent, exciting and easy to do.
I crossed the border at 2 p.m., and it was now the start of the “challenge”. Because I now had to speak English in front of the Ghanaian police in order to get my message across. It was a moving and unique experience.
I left Elubo, the Ghanaian border at 5 p.m., after a long wait. I arrived in Accra more precisely in Kaneshi on Sunday February 12 at 1:30 am. The AIESECer who was in charge of welcoming me picked me up at the bus station at 2am.
I started working on Monday February 13, 2023 at 9 a.m.
I signed the volunteer contract with the NGO, Fafali Organization. It was a matter of me teaching French to pupils of primary 4, primary 5, primary 6, JHS 1, JHS 2 and JHS 3 at the Jerremite School International.
In the first week of work, I made contact sessions with the different classes and took advantage, to define the rules of the classes; so that together we can avoid working in a messy environment. This work was done with all my 6 classes. I also took advantage of this week to set up well-structured course programs for the different classes. It was just wonderful.
It is wonderful when you try to bring the change you need according to your means and according to what you can do.
I had two class sessions a week with each of the six classes. This made a total of twelve lessons per week. I worked 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
This voluntary internship experience in GHANA taught me a little about what life is, what the reality of life is; what is the importance of the other. Through this experience, I learned to know myself better, I faced my fears; and sometimes I even went beyond my limits. Everything can not always be rosy as we wish.
I saw through this project that Ghanaian students really need French teachers. I was the only French teacher in the school. The children were wonderful and I really enjoyed the experience.
We are lucky to have English teachers in COTE D’IVOIRE, or perhaps in the majority of localities in the country to teach us English; but this is not necessarily the case with others.
Through this project, I improved my level of English because by the grace of God, I lived in an environment where I did not know a person who spoke French.
I discovered a bit of the Ghanaian way of life, I discovered several Ghanaian dishes, but my favorite dish was Gob3. Without forgetting the discovery of certain public places such as “KOTOKA International Airport” and the University of Ghana – Legon.
I would like to thank AIESEC COCODY-ABIDJAN and AIESEC LEGON for respectively helping me find the internship opportunity and hosting me.
My thanks also goes to the MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR AND SECURITY OF COTE D’IVOIRE for the authorization to leave the country. Without forgetting Fafali Organization for accepting me as a volunteer in their NGO.
I hope this article will be useful to you so that through it, young people like me realize that change, the improvement of the world can also be possible through us. All you have to do is arrange your time in order to take part at least once in your life in civic service activities, volunteering activities or volunteering activities in your country or abroad in order to help your community.
Done with my voluntary work in Accra, Saturday 25th March 2023
AKMEL Meless Serge Bernadin, 25 years old.
Thank you for reading!