Hello! This is Megan Youtsey writing today. I am one of the six Touch A Life Collegiate Interns traveling in Ghana.
Today we went to the Life Academy studio at Eunimak’s Place! It was so amazing to meet all of the friendly faces and see all the amazing creations! We were honored to meet Eunice, the manager of the Sewing Collective, who is a teacher, a mother, and an inspiration of kindness and hard work to all who know her and work under her guidance.
After the tour we sat down to hear some information from Nana, Life Academy Director and an important contributor to the overall program vision. We discussed what trauma means to these young adults and what they have been through. Life Academy strives to do healing through action and there are two ways they achieve this. One way is through literacy and another way is through sewing and vocational skills. The final goal is to help them gain independence. We also got to learn from Rachel, the Life Academy Psychologist. She told us that there is often a stigma against therapy in Ghanaian culture. As a solution, she encourages psychoeducation and serves as a much-needed mentor.
A crucial topic discussed was Accra’s imbalanced economy. Here are some statistics: Accra is the second most expensive place to live in the world – $100 U.S. is the equivalent to 400 cedis. With the knowledge learned though Life Academy the young adults can go out and get a job for around 150 cedis a month ($40 U.S. a month). The average rent for a room alone in Accra is 400 cedis a month. If someone were to rent an entire apartment it would cost the equivalent of $3,000 U.S. and for a house $5,000 U.S. Here in Accra, you cannot even get a job at the mall without a high school education, and keep in mind that these young adults are not able to read or write. This should give you an idea of just one of the struggles they face.
After we left Eunimak’s Place we joined Nana at her parents’ beautiful home for an amazing lunch, tea, and a brain-storming session. We also went to Movenpick, a five-star hotel where Nana teaches yoga and stopped for dinner at a wonderful deli. Seeing all of this today showed our team many different sides of Africa. We all learned so much today, and in the words of Eunice: “It is good to learn”.