North Salem, N.Y. - All Seniors at North Salem High School are encouraged to do an internship in the field that they are interested in towards the end of the school year. Many stay local, but Senior Stella Ard, who has an interest in International Relations, went to Washington D.C. for a week to work with a senior healthy economist Sarah Alkenbrack at the World Bank.
Prior to Stella’s internship, her mentor Alkenbrack had travelled to Ghana and had met a man named Chief Tidow. This man was the only educated man in his village. As part of the North Salem High School Internship program, the seniors are required to create a project in which they benefit or assist the business/workplace in someway. Stella, with the help of her mentor, decided to assist Chief Tidow in his mission to aid his village.
Chief Tidow is from a district in Ghana called Zambulkura, and in this district “education is very limited; it’s basically non-existent,” said Stella. Chief Tidow had to move to Accra, Ghana, which is the capital, in order to receive his education and get a degree in public health. When he returned to his village after receiving his degree, he was quick to notice the “backwards cultural beliefs” and “lack of education” which were both “detrimental to the health conditions” that existed in the village. These “backward beliefs” consist of the belief in witchcraft, and the belief that if a woman is in labor too long it is because the woman committed adultery; this causes both the woman and child to be banished. Both of these instances negatively impact the women, which is only because these people are not educated.
“One of his main goals is to empower women through education” Stella said. By educating and empowering the youth, particularly the girls, Chief Tidow hopes to benefit his district. “When they [the youth] grow up, those traditional, backwards beliefs will become less prevalent and have less of an impact in society.”
For his mission, Chief Tidow built a place, a pavillion, where about 250 kids from his village can be educated, and he wants to build more permanent structures and obtain more supplies for education.
In addition to the education problems, the health services of this district are very poor.
“There is only one hospital in the Zambulkura district and it serves 20,000 people that live in Zambulkura from over 100 villages and its 20 kilometers away from his village” said Stella. “So imagine being sick and having to travel 15 miles to the one hospital to only to get turned away because it is constantly overcrowded.” Because of this, Chief Tidow wants to construct a health clinic in his village.
For Stella’s project, she is helping raise money for Chief Tidows’ NGO called Rescue and Restore Hope. She wants to raise money to aid these kids in their education, and aid the village in their health services. She supports Chief Tidow with his goals to empower girls and women and improve health services in the small village in Ghana.
To contribute to the cause, donate money to Stella’s GoFundMe: gofundme.com/f/rescue-and-restore-hope-to-zabmulkura-ghana and for more information regarding Chief Tidow’s mission, visit rescuerestore.org.