The Bridge Project is a community outreach limb of Kybele designed to serve children, especially at-risk girls in Ghana, through education. A true example of students serving students, the Bridge Project aims to improve educational opportunities and outcomes in Ghana. Founded by a group of North Carolina teens, Bridge has the secondary missions of combatting poverty and supporting infrastructure improvements to ensure equal educational opportunities for students in Ghana.
Since 2012, Bridge has worked in six schools in six communities. It has made a lasting impact on each community, none more so than a co-ed, 200-student primary school in Accra, Ghana, called the Odoi Atsem Memorial Preparatory School. At Odoi Atsem, Bridge volunteers have raised funds to construct a school roof, provide running water, rebuild the school’s lavatory and build a library complete with books and computers. They have shared music, dance, art and educational lessons on health and life in the U.S. Through their work, Bridge volunteers have built a relationship with the school and the surrounding community that is producing quantifiable results.
In the Ghanaian education system, students must pass an examination at the end of their primary education in order to continue to junior high school. When Bridge first arrived at Odoi Atsem in 2012, only five Odoi Atsem students attempted the junior high entrance exam, and of those five, only two (40%) passed the exam. In 2016, after four years and several Bridge visits, those numbers had improved to 19 test takers and a 100% pass rate. The pass rate has been sustained at 100% for the past three years. Of the students passing the test, 61% have been girls. This is significant given that young Ghanaian girls living in poverty are especially vulnerable to early marriage, pregnancy and limited vocational opportunities. These realities are magnified without education. For the girls at Odoi Atsem, entrance to junior high school offers a significant boost to their long-term prosperity.
And Bridge is having a positive impact on its volunteers, as well. To date, 10 North Carolina students (aged 10-16) have traveled to Ghana as part of the Bridge Project; six have made multiple trips, and eight have been girls. These students have raised more than $40,000 and collected over 5,000 pounds of books and school supplies. These experiences have shaped the students into servant-leaders with the power to bring about real, meaningful change. They are big thinkers who are determined to use their Bridge experience as a springboard to even more ambitious careers and service work.
The Bridge Project has received support from the Ghana Health Service, Novant Health, the Salizzoni Family Foundation, Cash Lovell Stables and Riding Academy, Forsyth Country Day School, Reynolds America and private donors.