06 Oct A Slam DUNK in Ghana!!
Sarah and Cale are at it again, this time with Developing Unity, Nurturing Knowledge (DUNK), located in Accra, Ghana. Here’s Sarah’s report from the field:
Cale and I went in for an interview to volunteer, not necessarily ready to commit to anything… and we discovered that the DUNK staff had already assumed we were committed, and expected us to start immediately that same day! The initial need was for volunteer basketball coaches. Cale jumped right in and was handed a U14 team and coached them for the next few weeks.
I felt completely useless as I’ve never played basketball, but I ended up doing arts and crafts with the kids (pop-up cards were a big hit!) and even taught a sex-ed class to the 13-18 year olds. This was requested as one of the 16 year old girls just discovered she was pregnant, and they were at a loss of what to do. Emmanuel, the facilitator, was very open with the kids and invited suggestions about how they could help their teammate. The kids offered to help bring her homework from school and I offered to teach the class to make sure the other kids were educated about pregnancy prevention, STDs, etc.
We really loved the organization. DUNK focuses heavily on leadership development and is structured so that the kids are elected both by staff and their teammates to hold leadership positions and make decisions about the direction of their individual teams as well as the organization itself. The kids show real drive and took charge of big events, such as a basketball tournament with neighboring teams. The neighborhoods they recruit from are generally resource-poor, and they also go into these communities to recruit kids to join DUNK themselves.
A couple days into our volunteer experience we knew DUNK would be a great candidate for Miracle Bank funds with The Wandering Samaritan! We noticed the kids used shared basketball shoes because nobody owned their own, and they sometimes shared socks for the same reason. We sat down with Emmanuel to explain that some money might be available and, keeping to DUNK’s decision-making structure, we brought in the youth president and vice president to brainstorm some of the items that DUNK needed. Cale and I had immediately thought of a new hoop; DUNK had use of one full-sized court, and another concrete slab that they couldn’t fully use since it didn’t have hoops there. Considering that DUNK had 5 teams that needed to practice, they could really use a second court to do so.
The folks at DUNK really liked that idea and we got approval from TWS and I went to go purchase it. Purchasing anything in Ghana is generally from the side of the road! So I bought it from a guy on the road, and a friend of DUNK transported it to the court. Cale and I also provided school supplies for the start of the school year. The kids were really excited, and started using the hoop immediately! It felt great to leave a tangible impact in the community we visited. And the kids were super grateful for it!