WEARSIDERS’ donations have offered hope to poverty-stricken young women.
Tens of thousands have already benefitted from the Wulugu Project in Ghana, since it was set up by Sunderland-born Lynne Symonds.
Now even more have access to education, as the former teacher’s organisation has opened a college in northern Ghana, in the neglected district of Karaga.
Girls from outlying villages can learn vocational skills that will enable them to earn a living and remove them and their families from the poverty that plagues much of Africa.
Lynne, an honorary fellow at Sunderland University, said: “We have received donations from people in Sunderland who had read about the charity in the Echo.
“Sunderland people are just great, and I think it’s more personal to them because I’m from Sunderland originally.”
“The land for the school has been donated by the local chief, and local government.
“Women’s groups and village people have worked hard together to help the building to run smoothly.”
Although there is only equipment for 140 girls, Lynne hopes that donations will lead to more supplies.
In 1996, Lynne – who used to live in Farringdon – was made “chief of enlightenment and education” of the million-strong Mamprusi tribe, and in 2006 became chief of the Gonja, a tribe of three quarters of a million people, in recognition of Wulugu’s work.
Wulugu has proved a big success in northern Ghana and has built or re-opened 30 schools, put desks and books into more than 100, provided hostels for girls and teachers, as well as opening six vocational colleges.
The new school follows the Sawla vocational school, which received much-needed help from Sunderland and Houghton Rotary Clubs, as well as several groups and people in the region.
“Next there is a real need to build a hostel at Karaga so that girls from distant villages can be safe,” said Lynne.
“In Sawla, the hostel is packed, with many sleeping on the floor between the bunk beds.”
For more information visit www.wulugu.co.uk