Dicker: Dan Skydives For Ghana Education Project

Dan Skydives for GEP

Dicker House students Dan Gottlieb and Ed Stokes write about their House Charity, The Ghana Education Project, Dan's recent skydive in aid of the deserving cause, and how they hope to continue raising money this year.

The Ghana Education Project is a registered UK charity looking to support the development of education and associated infrastructure in Nkwanta, a deprived area of North East Ghana. 

Nkwanta lies in an area of extreme deprivation, where the only means of survival is subsistence farming. The region has been largely overlooked by major charities and aid programmes due to its remoteness and poor communication links with the rest of the world.

The main approach road to the region is un-tarred and often impassable during the rainy season. This has meant that commercial companies have been unwilling to invest in the region. 

School attendance is poor, especially in the villages. Overall there are twice as many boys in basic education as girls and many girls do not complete their education, despite it now being free for the first 9 years.                     

A substantial number of schools in the district require rehabilitation or new classroom blocks especially in the northern part of the district where schools meet under sheds and in the open air. Facilities such as libraries, furniture, equipment and textbooks are inadequate or non-existent.

Practical subjects are not usually taught due to a lack of equipment and teacher expertise. The new curriculum highlights ICT but only a handful of schools have power and none have computers at basic level. 70% of the district population aged 15 years and above are not literate. This is far higher than the regional figure of 41.7% and the national figure of 42.1%.

The illiteracy rate among women is 77.0% whilst that of men is 63.2%

The Ghana Education Project is working to change these statistics for the better through education, training and improved infrastructure. 

Two years ago Bedes went over to Ghana in the October half term to help with the Charity. The trip was organised by Miss Morris with Miss Muxworthy and Mr Kemp also going along.

Two boys from Dicker went as well - Jack Brown and Neil Faulkner. We remember being inspired by their work over there and the experience that they had. As a House, we pride ourselves in our charity work for GEP, and hope to raise as much money as possible this coming year.

This charity supports a great cause; it gives children an education they deserve and need in order to live a fulfilling life. We take education for granted, and some of us may even dislike education, but we must all be appreciative that we aren't walking miles and miles every day to get food for our families or having to farm food ourselves. We should also be appreciative that we will get jobs after School, and that they will help us to provide for our future families; many children in Ghana face lives where, once when they have grown up, they may have to truly fight to survive.

Last summer I completed a charity skydive for the Ghana Education Project. It has been something I have wanted to do for a long time, ever since I received my Skydiving License a year and a half ago. Since then I have completed 90 jumps, but the only question was what to do for the charity jump; as I could jump solo it gave me a lot of freedom in the jump; freedom to do stunts and acrobats.

I went to a city called Empuriabrava, located to the north east of Barcelona with my twin sister; the plan was to do as many skydives as our bank accounts would allow us to do. This was the place where we both learned to skydive and the views will always be imprinted into my subconscious, so it seemed fitting to do the jump there.

I ended up doing two jumps wearing the Ghana Education t-shirt as you will see in the video (coming soon). It was definitely refreshing, jumping in a loose t-shirt, but the lack of control was paramount. The rule on temperature when skydiving is that you lose 2 degrees with every thousand feet, and we were jumping from 13 and a half thousand. The temperature on exit was between 0 and minus 5 degrees Celsius, and it felt like jumping into a frozen lake; the air in your lungs gets pushed out, but breathing in freefall is usually normal after the first couple of seconds.

The jump all went to plan apart from the strong winds under canopy. We both landed safely, but a few people who jumped before us landed into some fields. I ended up sitflying in one of the jumps, which my dad was absolutely furious about because it is one of the skydiving styles that he can't do yet! 

Overall, it was a great experience, and was all the more valuable as a means of raising both money and awareness for the GEP.

The next Dicker House fundraising event will be the Dicker House quiz, which is taking place on Thursday October 10th.

For more information or to take part, please email the Dicker Housemaster Taf Mpandamwana via taf.mpandawana@bedes.org