An effort that began two years ago in response to issues raised by Meredith’s Summer Reading Program selection has now resulted in a service trip to Ghana.
After reading “Half the Sky,” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn,” the Office of the Chaplain and the Class of 2013 formed Sisters United. Sisters United sponsors the educational needs of girls at orphanages in Kenya and Ghana. During the winter break, a Meredith group led by Chaplain Stacy Pardue was able to support Beacon House orphanage in Accra, Ghana, in person.
Along with Pardue, Instructor of Spanish Callie DeBellis and students Michelle Cox, Miller Cheatham, Katy Clary, Holly Mills, Naba Khan, Hannah Thornton, Jackie Lytton and Bailey Dunn, traveled to Ghana December 7-19, 2012.
“We support girls’ education, which many scholars believe is one of the best ways to create social change in the developing world,” Pardue said. “We met our sponsored girl, Rosemond, who is 17 and wants to become an Army doctor.”
Pardue said Beacon House is an orphanage that takes in children that have significant health issues, or who are in crisis.
“Beacon House is a special place. In its seven years, Beacon House has nurtured over 200 children, placing them for adoption when possible,” Pardue said. “The Beacon House staff work tirelessly, often driving long distances to save a child from peril.”
The Meredith team led a literacy program for the children, hosted a Christmas party featuring games and gifts, and planted 30 fruit trees at Beacon House. In partnership with the NC State Department of Poultry Science, they built a chicken house that will hold 100 hens, providing eggs for food and to sell as a small business.
While in Ghana, the group was also able to go on excursions to Kumasi, the cultural capital of Ghana and to Cape Coast that houses the history of the slave trade.
Sisters United will continue correspondence and financial support for Beacon House. Pardue plans to lead another service trip to the area a few years from now, because she feels service trips help bring global issues to life for students.
“It is so important for young people to experience service firsthand,” Pardue said. “I really hope they become gripped with the calling to do service for the rest of their lives. A service trip shows you really can make a difference in the lives of people.”
For information on how to assist with Sisters United, contact the Office of the Chaplain at ext. 8346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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