Sunderland-born tribal chief's education and clean water drive for Ghana

A charity founder from Sunderland is making a huge difference to the education of children in Ghana. Another school she worked on in the West African country is now up and running.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 12:05 pm

Lynne Symonds née Luccock is a former Bede School pupil who founded the Wulugu Project in 1995.

The charity most recently built a primary school at Gumo in north-east Ghana in 2020. It was so successful that parents in the village didn’t want their children’s education to end aged 12, so they worked hard to build part of a junior high, but ran out of funds.

The Wulugu Project was able to step in and complete it. Ghana Education Services pays for the teachers. But there were no desks.

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The Ghanaian school now has desks, thanks largely to Seaburn Rotary.

That problem has now been solved thanks largely to the efforts of Seaburn Rotary. Fifty double desks were provided to help educate 100 children. Funding is now being sought for another primary school.

Since spring 2020 Lynne has also worked to ensure more Ghanaian people have access to clean water. Boreholes have brought clean water, meaning that around 350,000 people no longer have to share muddy puddles with each other and their animals.

The boreholes drastically reduce the chance of covid and other potentially fatal diseases, such as cholera.

But these are only the latest achievements. Lynne, an Honorary Fellow of Sunderland University who now lives in Norfolk with her husband Roger, is the only ever white woman chief of the million-strong Mamprusi tribe.

Wulugu founder Lynne Symonds on a previous project in Ghana.

No one in the UK or Ghana working on the Wulugu Project receives any sort of salary for their work. The charity is supported by many individuals, as well as Rotary clubs in Sunderland. It has built over 100 schools and hostels for girls and teachers and repaired many more.

Lynne said: “I still have to pinch myself when I realise just how much we’ve achieved on so little money and how many hundreds of thousands of lives we’ve changed. This will go on for generations.

“We’ve also helped start a medical school there too.”

“In many ways, Northern Ghana reminds me of my childhood in an upstairs flat in Chester Road. But at least there we only had to go downstairs and into the yard to find a shared tap!”

Work in progress at the Kanshegu school.

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