Future Leaders Underprivileged Children’s Centre
The Future Leaders Underprivileged Children’s Centre (UCC) is a drop-in education and welfare centre for children from backgrounds of poverty.
The centre was established under a mango tree in La-Apapa, one of the poorest inner-city areas of Accra, by me, Mamud Billa in 1998. He spent 3 years under this mango tree teaching children who wanted to learn but couldn’t afford to go to school. Over time, more and more children were coming to be taught under the mango tree and soon there was not enough room for them all so he had to move to a bigger mango tree! He spent 5 years teaching under the 2nd mango tree and was able to house some of the street children and those from villages.
Later in 2006, the project moved from the mango tree and rented a small house a few metres away. This enabled Billa to give the children more space and also a larger area in which to teach the children. At this site, in 2007, he managed to send a further 15 children who had learnt enough to pass their entrance exam to school.
The centre grew and grew and in 2008 a bigger house was rented. It was here that the first school structure was put up. It consisted of 4 classrooms that made teaching the children more organised than in previous locations and in turn gave them a higher quality of education. In 2008 a further 20 children were sent to school and in 2009 another 30 making a grand total of 115 children who have been given a chance of education at a government run school that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.
In April 2010, the UCC moved from La to Teshie. The rent was coming to an end on the previous site and it was important to find a new place with enough room to accommodate the growing number of children who are now coming for studies. Unfortunately, the UCC had to be moved from where it was founded in La, but with the help of the tro-tro it is possible to transport all the children from La to classes every morning and back again afterwards. The current house gives the UCC the opportunity to grow as there is space for more classrooms and vocational centres, more rooms to house needy children and it is now able to offer the provision of free teaching to another poorer area of Accra.
Future Stars Football Team
In 2006, Billa formed the Future Stars Football Team under the UCC. Football plays a major part in Ghanaian culture so by establishing a youth football team it enabled the project to access further needy children in the local area. These children then have the opportunity to be taught at the UCC and later given the chance to attend school.
Billa registered one team of under 12’s children under the Ghana Football Association (GFA) in 2006 and now the UCC has U10, U12, U14 and U17 team, a professional team of adults who play in the 3rd Division and a girl’s team which has also been registered with the GFA under women’s football.
Future Leaders Vocational Centre
Billa introduced a skill acquisition programme by forming the Future Leaders Vocational Centre in 2009. This is for adults to under go skill training in areas such as hairdressing, fashion design and carpentry in order to better their chances of future employment.