Life Academy is a Touch A Life program aimed at providing vocational training opportunities and life skills development for young adults in the organization’s care. Touch A Life provides long-term rehabilitative care for children rescued out of slavery in Ghana, West Africa. While many children will proceed through traditional channels of the Ghanaian education system, ending up in local colleges or universities, some young people find a better fit for their futures by pursuing vocational opportunities in lieu of typical schooling options. Life Academy fills the gap for these young adults by providing them with the resources and training they need to become successful adults, employees, and entrepreneurs.
The Life Academy program is located in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, and it operates on a 12-month cycle. The goal of Life Academy is to prepare the young adults who have graduated from the Touch A Life Care Center to be self-sufficient and responsible for their livelihood. Specifically, this program also prepares participants to gain and maintain meaningful employment and equip them with professional skills.
Launched in February 2016, the Life Academy program currently serves eight students in their early twenties.
During core Life Academy sessions, the participants cover topics such as work-appropriate dress, opening a checking and savings account, personal health care, and best practices for job interviews. Nana Amoako-Anin, owner of Bliss Yoga Accra, serves as Life Academy’s Program Director and as an encouraging coach for each participant. Nana works closely with each student to identify passions and skills in order to narrow his or her career options.
Ghana Sewing Collective
In addition to meeting with Nana for life-skills sessions, Life Academy students agree to participate in the Ghana Sewing Collective led by Eunice, a Life Academy Mentor. This part of the program is designed as an introduction to working for a small business owner, as well as working with a team toward a common goal. Eunice guides the students through the basics of sewing and pattern making and the students create products made from handmade batik fabric, traditional mud cloth, and leather.
Touch A Life has rented a small space directly next door to Eunice’s established sewing studio. The space opened in April 2017 and includes a sewing studio as well as an area that can transition between educational and therapeutic uses.