For the fifth consecutive year, PAMBE Ghana Global Market is open for business in Oklahoma City. The market offers a collection of fair trade items handmade by artisans from regions across the world.
The market is run by local volunteers, and all proceeds support La'angum Learning Center in Ghana. Founded by Alice Iddi-Gubbels, a former Oklahoman, the school is being built largely by the community in Ghana's extremely poor Mamprusi district.
In Ghana, Iddi-Gubbels said, the public school teachers only speak English, the country's official language. That's a problem for many young students, she said, because at home, they only speak their mother tongue, Mampruli.
This language barrier causes many of these children to drop out of school very young.
“They are not taught English. Their parents don't speak English. In the rural areas, nobody speaks English,” Iddi-Gubbels said. “Why don't we start with what they come to school with? They come to school with their own language.”
Her vision is to create a learning environment that is accessible and culturally relevant to the community it serves. Starting her students out in their mother tongue is one important aspect of the education method she's building. The school uses Montessori-based teaching principles and emphasizes parent and community involvement.