Future Leaders UCC helps children who would, under their current circumstances, be unable to attend government school as a result of a lack of financial means and/or developmental needs. Whilst the Ghanaian government has made schooling’free’ to all children of primary age, they are still required to purchase uniforms, books, sports kit and in some cases make contributions for the school’s ICT provision. With nearly 30% of families in Ghana living on less than £1 these costs prove to be too much and therefore their children stay at home and in the face of such adversity are struggling to achieve their dreams of attending school and gaining meaningful employment. Future Leaders UCC offers free education and provides all of the children with the equipment they need to be able to learn. Once children have studied at the UCC for a prolonged period they will also be given a uniform.
Many of the children are brought to the centre by a relative or family friend struggling to afford basic care and support. As the work of the centre is becoming increasingly popular more children are being brought from further and further away in order to receive free teaching, the waiting list now numbers over 160 children. In addition, Billa makes regular visits to many of the hotspots of children living rough around the city and in local neighbourhoods to offer the chance of education and care in a safe environment.
When the children first start at the centre, they are assessed in order to determine the support and teaching they will need so each child is able to learn the very basics in numeracy and literacy leading up to a full primary education including the core subjects and humanities. There are Ghanaian teachers in each of the 9 class groups and volunteers who offer one to one support to children still learning the alphabet and basic numbers. The students at Future Leaders UCC take exams at the end of each term to see how well they have progressed and those who achieve highly at the end of each year will be moved up a class. Once the children attending the centre have completed the work taught in class 6, the UCC then helps to identify appropriate local government JHS (Junior High)schools for them to attend. The children are then provided with all the appropriate care and support they will need on an ongoing basis in order for them to thrive in their new environment.