Ibrahim Oubda

IbiThe former professional footballer, Ibrahim Oubda, comes from West Africa. He was born in Burkina Faso and grew up in Takoradi, a large city in Ghana.

Before moving to Zurich, Ibrahim played for Ghana and several European football clubs. He moved to Europe in the early 90’s. Ibrahim achieved his UEFA footbal coaching license in Switzerland and coached the juniors of FC Waedenswil, Kilchberg and Ruschlikon and now coaches for FCZ U12, Letzikids, and ZIS students.

In July 2004, Ibrahim Oubda went to Ghana for the summer holidays. During their visit they were introduced to a small school in the bush, called “Arise and Shine International School”. It had been initiated by a carpenter called Joshua because the area lacked education. With financial difficulties, he explained the situation and won over their hearts with an agreement to help them.

Pictures were taken, children and teachers were met and he returned home to ZIS with a new mission. Rob Risch, the former TeachingLower School principal, was thrilled with Ibrahim’s idea to start finding ways to involve Zurich International School students and Bosomtwe students. Money was raised by organizing various events in and around school. Soon the project was raising awareness and sparking interest from the whole ZIS community.

For the first 5 years, friends, family and people outside school supported BCS with financial donations, clothes, school materials, etc. Later the project to help the Bosomtwe Community School became part of ZIS. Various events are now organized on a yearly basis and the project is a school-wide support program. Our support for the Behenase community and BCS was mainly financed by selling African handicraft and drums on the occasion of ZIS events like the Worldfest, Ghana Cup and more. The small amounts of money help to pay small salaries to the teachers, buy pencils and books and also a second hand bus to take the pupils from different villages to BCS. Over the years the number of BCS pupils increased and BCS became an interesting place for social service trips.

Nowadays, the highlight of the partnership between Wädenswil and Ghana is the nine-day annual trip with a group of ninth-graders. The students fly along with four teachers to Accra, the capital of the former British colony. From there a bus or plane transports the students to Behenase, the location of the Bosomtwe Community School.

In 2010 the first student service trips took place and Team Ghana was built up. Now Grade 9 and CWW student service trips take place twice a year (three times in 2014), on a regular basis.

Team Ghana 2012After the first service trip in 2010 several students returned home deeply touched and inspired by the experiences they had in Ghana. They had a lot of ideas and proposals in their minds which they shared with their parents and teachers. This was the beginning of the BCS Partnership. Since then numerous people (parents, teachers and ZIS alumni) showed their interest in the project by donating and even visiting BCS individually to teach the community and the pupils about health issues or assisting the teachers in the classrooms.

Ibrahim’s involvement as BCS School proprietor in this process, was and is up to now primarily to check all requests and ideas for feasibility and to set up a well structured program and agenda for the trips, including travel organization, hotel bookings, entertainment, leisure time etc., to make the students’ and visitors’ trips an unforgettable experience. To ensure all donations are used in a most efficient and proper way, Ibrahim is constantly organizing, controlling and supervising the construction work at BCS. His presence in Ghana is therefore a must as often as possible.

 

 

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School Development Project

BCS and ZIS are currently working on several projects to improve BCS’s educational program and campus. Below are a few projects initiated this year (2013-14):

Basketball/Sport field construction (COMPLETED)

Ibi loved how the kids reacted to basketball. He hopes to get a sports surface for sports lIMG_3539ike soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. Dan Allen is currently in the process of raising funds for the surface that will cost approximately 10,000 CHF with labor and materials. This court will help benefit the physical education program in
BIS. Dan is looking for people to donate money for the cause and so far it has been a success, fund raising efforts are underway. We hope to have the funds by July of 2016 to insure it will be finished by the trip in October 2016 so ZIS students can educate the BIS children on the sports.

University of Winneba partnership development

In February 2013, before the Team Ghana group had landed in Accra, Nick Bentley flew into Kumasi to meet with Miss Teresa at the University of Winneba in the hopes ofUniversity of Education in Winneba securing a partnership between Winneba and BCS. With this partnership, Miss Teresa would contact a teacher training college nearby and secure them placement at BCS. While most of their peers are forced to find placement themselves, this partnership would allow for the teachers at this college to have a predetermined placement for them as well as free accommodation nearby. At the same time, BCS can benefit exponentially – the students will benefit from an elevated level of teaching and the teachers will be able to learn from them and develop an understanding of what it takes to be a truly good teacher. Before this partnership was secured however, BCS would have to receive a B rating from the Ghana Education Service Yet and find suitable accommodation for the incoming teachers. These teachers in training at the University of Winneba now not only teach at BCS, but also provide training to the current teachers of BCS.

 

Newly Constructed Bathrooms

Completion of third classroom block and bathrooms (COMPLETED)

In December 2012, in order to accommodate the influx of new students to BCS, the third classroom block on the property was constructed. This building provides 5 additional classrooms.10 bathrooms were also built at this time. The new classrooms have white boards, large tables and glass windows. They accommodate the increase in student numbers and provide a better learning environment for children in all age groups.The new bathrooms have European style toilets which provides a more germ resistant environment for students and teachers. Both of these projects were finally completed and both buildings were being used as of July 2013.

 

Current Construction of new library and fourth classroom block (COMPLETED)Third Classroom Block

BCS and ZIS are currently working towards finishing the third classroom block (seen right). The newest classroom block will be built on the location of the oldest block, which was in need of renewal. The classroom will be facilitated with modern school white-boards and other classroom furniture. Along with new, bigger classrooms, the block will provide room for a library. ZIS is bringing hundreds of books with plastic covers over to BCS. To read more about the library project, click here. 

Team Ghana 2014 – February Trip

Ghana

1779157_666310503426190_770710313_nOn the 6th of February 2014 a group 18 9th graders travelled to Ghana to do a service project at ZIS’s sister school, BCS.  Throughout our stay we were involved in many different experiences which helped to create an overall amazing trip. Not only did we visit BCS and spend three days teaching, we were also able to involve ourselves in Ghana’s culture. We were given the opportunity to go to a Ghanaian Church, where they sang and prayed for us, visit one of the many markets throughout Ghana, and  take a dancing and drumming class from a professional Ghanaian dancer/drummer.

We arrived on a Friday in Kumasi after two days of traveling. As we arrived in Kumasi just after lunch we spent roughly an hour in the hotel where we unpacked and grabbed a snack, then we left for the school. It was approximately a 20 minute bus ride but due to the anticipation and excitement it felt like longer. I will never forget the excited looks on everyone’s faces as we pulled around the corner and the school was in sight for the first time. When we arrived at the school we were given a warm welcome and I immediately felt like family.  We met the principle, Barnabas and received a performance by some of the dance students at BCS. After the performance we were 

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given some time to meet the children. From living in Switzerland you forget that these children haven’t travelled and seen the different cultures that we have. It was interesting to watch the younger children trying to figure out why our skin colour was different to theirs; at first some of the children rubbed our arms and tried to get the white off. On Saturday we went to the school purely to work. Whilst we were visiting, the main project was knocking down the walls of one of the classrooms to make room for a bigger classroom to be built. We helped with moving all the torn down stones and bricks out of the way into piles to then be made into concrete bricks. Whilst we worked there were a few children from school that showed up to watch us work. At the beginning they were shy and hid behind the wall but by the end they were coming up to us and dancing around. On Sunday we woke up early and went to church. When we arrived we were asked to separate into groups by the day we were born. The fact that most of the people on the trip didn’t know what day they were born on and yet the Ghanaians did make me realize even more how much religion means to them. Whilst in the groups we read different verses from the bible and analyzed them. Once the reading groups were over we were welcomed to the front where we were prayed for. After this we gave our donations and they sung us out.

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Monday was our first day of teaching and everyone was both nervous and excited. We taught every grade in sessions of 50 minutes. As we were not sure of the intellectual level of the children we had to vary our lesson plans. Each grade had their own quirky qualities and I was amazed at how fascinated the 1st graders were with rocket ships they colored in. Each day we changed the grades we taught therefore we got to teach each grade except nursery. On Tuesday we used the same schedule as Monday but just taught different grades. On Wednesday however we taught our final grade. Then we participated in a goodbye assembly where we performed the African dance that we learnt before, the cups song, and Cameron performed a final song where we all sang along in the background. After our performance Ibi’s drumming group performed the drums and we all got up and danced, then the drummers performed their own dance and then we said goodbye.  We all individually formed a bond with certain children which made it harder to say goodbye. All of us received many letters from them and they all insisted that we write back. We have promised to send letters back with the April group which will hopefully help them to remember us more.

I will always remember all the memories and bonds that were made on this trip. It has been the best experience of my life and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity. I would like to thank Mrs. Callaghan, Frau Rusch, Mr. Nelson, Ibi, BCS, and especially Mr. Hovey for making this trip possible.

– Katherine Jackson