Africa – Project OKURASE
Our current work in Africa is through Project OKURASE (Opportunity, Knowledge, Understanding, Renewed Health, Arts-Based, Skills Training and Education) in Ghana. The purpose is to address the plight of orphans and vulnerable children by working hand-in-hand with a rural village to change major health risk factors including unclean water, no sanitation infrastructure, limited health care, limited education, and limited job training.
The objectives toward this purpose are to provide skills training and formal education to vulnerable children and women, and to connect orphaned children with families that have the capacity to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of a child. This will allow the children to grow healthfully into strong and independent adults. The vision of Project OKURASE will be carried out in the village and in a Centre to be built called the Nkabom Centre for Skills Training and Formal Education (www.projectokurase.org).
The MST Link to Project OKURASE
In 1997, the FamilyServicesResearchCenter (home of MST research) of the Medical University of South Carolina began a community violence prevention program, now called, “The Neighborhood Project” in the UnionHeights community of North Charleston, South Carolina. One of the prosocial activities that was developed in the Project was children’s West African drumming and dance. This activity turned into a dance company called Djole and performance quality drums were needed. These drums were purchased from a Ghanaian drum maker, master drummer, and performing artist named Samuel Nkrumah Yeboah – called Powerful in Ghana.
This fateful meeting led to the children of Djole traveling to Ghana in 2006 to join with Powerful and other artists to conduct AIDS dance/dramas in multiple sites in Ghana. The children of Djole are involved in raising funds for the Nkabom Centre. Project OKURASE is a global initiative.
In addition to Djole, Family Services Research Center, MST Services, and people in Charleston, South Carolina, partners from England, Ghana, Belgium and many other places are coming together to make Project OKURASE happen.