RTA in Ghana

Students in BDC 960 Selected Topics in International Media this semester will be traveling a loooong way to get to class: all the way to Ghana, West Africa.

Eleven RTA students and several professors are getting ready for the volunteering trip of a lifetime in February. They’ve been busy raising funds for supplies and equipment to build a school and a community radio station in a rural community in the Volta Region of Ghana. In partnership with Disaster Volunteers of Ghana (DIVOG), the students and profs will work alongside local villagers hauling water in buckets, making mud bricks, mixing cement by hand, and any other tasks that need doing as the foundation is laid for a new school house.  They’ll also help get a new community radio station set up.  In a place where not necessarily everyone can read or write, and access to electronic communications is extremely limited, the benefit of an accessible, local radio station is huge.

Professor Lori Beckstead worked with DIVOG in Ghana in 2011 on a school-building project. “I wanted to create an opportunity for students to have an amazing experience like I had,” she says. “Spending two weeks living and working with local people in an African village will teach a student more than a whole semester spent in classes.”

RTA in GhanaThe group hopes to raise $20,000 to complete the school and radio station, and has organized several fundraising initiatives:

  • Stand-Up for Ghana is a stand-up comedy night at the Comedy Bar on Thursday, January 17th (tickets $10 at the door)
  • We’re Ghana Rock is a night of live music and dancing with Ghanaian band Afrafranto, known as “Canada’s Kings of Highlife Music”, and special guest, 4th year RTA student and singer/songwriter Maccie Paquette. There will also be a silent auction featuring authentic Ghanaian treasures such as a hand-carved drum and a hand-woven Kente cloth. Thursday, January 24th at the Lula Lounge. Tickets are $20, or $10 with valid student ID, available online or at the door.
  • A raffle, featuring a long list of great prizes. Raffle tickets are just $2 each or 3 for $5 and are available online. Draw date is Feb. 1st.

RTA instructors and award-winning documentary filmmakers Helga Haberfellner and Paul Andrew will also be traveling to Ghana with the group, and are planning to shoot a documentary that will look at how the experience transforms the students.

More information about the trip can be found at www.GoingGoingGhana.com.