Two Nations - One Trust.
The Assin Endwa Trust UK  is a registered charity, No: 1087136


Clare's Story

Our family decided to do three weeks volunteer work in Ghana with a small charity called the Assin Endwa trust. This has been connected with a village in rural Ghana since 1999. It began because a lady called Kathryn Prosser went out for 3 months to do some volunteer work, enjoyed it so much, she stayed for another three and became heavily involved with helping in the village. From this small beginning the trust was formed.

Since then fund raising in U.K. has enabled the construction of a latrine building (K.V.I.P.) for the village, further aid for the women’s group and recently, work has begun on a clinic. This year was the first time the trust has sent out volunteers. So we were guinea pigs!

The main projects we were involved with were helping to build the afore mentioned clinic, developing a business plan for the women’s co-operative to enable them to approach the chief for more land for a palm oil plantation, lastly and most importantly teaching in the schools, stimulating the teachers to be more imaginative and to use their limited resources more. We were able to highlight the fact that their library contained many books sent out from UK schools, complete reading and maths schemes that were laying idle, some not having been even unpacked, whilst the teachers complained they didn’t have any books!!! After various meetings with the elders and teachers it was agreed that someone would be trained in library skills and the library would then be open for the whole community even at weekends.

On a personal level, it was a fantastic experience. The Ghanaians are renowned for their warm welcome, but nothing could have prepared us for the overwhelming durbar they held as we entered the village, complete with music, dancing, tribal ceremony and drumming. The whole village and more were there and we all sat in seats of honour at the front. It was an amazing spectacle. You had to keep reminding yourself you weren’t on a film set!

We all gained immeasurably from the trip. Although we hopefully were able to give some expertise to them, they showed us how unimportant material things are. They have so little compared to us but shared everything and went to great efforts to make our stay as comfortable as possible.

Bucket showers and pit latrines can be an uplifting experience, even if they just make you appreciate modern conveniences more.

For Joshua (15) and Emily (17) it was their first experience of a developing country and as well as enjoying the work, the Ghanaian people & particularly the children, they also enjoyed the camaraderie within the group of volunteers. We were eight in all with everyone else in their twenties. Although I was the "mummy" of the group, they were all very kind in not reminding me of my great age too often!

I would thoroughly recommend other adventurous families to do something like this. I feel it is one of the most important things I have done with my children.

This a photo of all our group including the Secretary of the UK Trust and Four of the Ghanaian Trust ( I’m not in it cos obviously I am taking the photo!)

  Jenny's Story  

It is hard to put three weeks of the ‘Ghana experience’ into a few words.

After various fundraising events and preparation the volunteers all met at Gatwick airport ready for our project. All the photos and anecdotes from past volunteers could not prepare us for our trip. As we pulled up to Assin Endwa, children and adults appeared as if from nowhere to welcome the ‘Obronis’. From day one we were welcomed into their community and from day one we set to work.

Our main project was the clinic playground. We all brought different skills to the project and day by day it progressed into something we all feel very proud of. It was hard work and the relentless rain didn’t help to set the cement or top up our tans!

Our secondary project and my main interest was to run a summer school. As a student teacher, I found I thoroughly enjoyed working in a totally new environment and enjoyed gaining skills which I could directly apply to my chosen career. We saw the achievements of the past volunteers such as the library and the communal toilets and I look forward to seeing pictures of the playground with the garden grown and the swings worn with plenty of use.

Visiting Assin Endwa village was an amazing experience and one I feel lucky to have been a part of.

Matt's Story

For many years I have wanted to travel to Africa and do voluntary work but never managed to find the right charity to go with.

Signing up with Assin Endwa  Trust looked and sounded just what I had been looking for, having done many years voluntary work for mission Croatia it seemed very odd to be experiencing first time nerves and expectations, I just didn’t know what to expect. There were 18 of us going  and I knew we would be close friends by the end of the three and half weeks that we would be there.

Nothing prepared me for when we arrived in Ghana, walking off the plane the smells of the country were so different from the UK it smelt of fires and diesel. As we walked out of the airport we met up with the people who would be escorting us to our accommodation and then on to the village of Assin Endwa for the next day. I felt a complete tourist as we all stuck out like sore thumbs, being the only white people there everyone seemed to show great interest in us all.

The next day we got to see Ghana, how it really is. Travelling to Assin Endwa on a mini bus which took around 7 hrs. Looking out the window I could see how poverty stricken the country is, people just live with bare essentials, it was quite a shock and for a while many of us just stared out of the window a bit bemused by it all. It was how Africa looked on the television. very raw , dusty and lots of poverty, yet I was really happy to be there knowing that I could make a difference in some way.

Every time the bus stopped at a junction people would come to the windows trying to sell us things, there was not one thing that you couldn't buy at the side of the road, really was amazing at how resourceful they all were.

After a very long day travelling and the bus nearly breaking down, we arrived at Assin Endwa in the evening, nothing prepared us for the reception we would receive from the village. The bus was surrounded by around 500-1000 villagers all screaming and cheering that we had arrived, (it made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up) it was like we were famous, though we hadn’t done anything yet. Just walking from the bus to the chairman’s house where we were staying everyone was trying to touch us and call out to us, it was totally amazing and really worth the long travel there.

The next day we met the village elders and others that would be helping us through the next 3 weeks. We also got used to the amenities i.e. the toilet which was a hole in the ground and the shower which was a bucket with holes in and surprisingly very effective.

I found that just walking around the village I was surrounded by children all wanting to hold my hand and just walk with me where ever I went, the whole group was the star attraction of the village with many of the children having never seen white people before so we were some form of fascination to them.

I seemed to become quite famous at the village due to my hair cut being short and some what balding; this seemed to remind the children that I looked like Zinedine Zidane the French footballer. So every where I went, all I heard the whole time was zidane being shouted from every house and field by all the children and all the adults (I now know what it is like to be famous) although they seemed very disappointed when I played football with the children, I think they expected me to be as good as him at football, unfortunately I'm not.

Teaching in the village was a very daunting prospect for me, as I having never done anything like this in my life, being told that there would around 90 children per class only added to my nerves. Surprisingly it was very enjoyable, they were all very keen to learn and so well behaved, it turned out to be one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life and will never forget

Sports teaching was very easy as all the kids wanted to do was play football or so I thought, running around on a football pitch, if you can call it that, (more a rough uneven field that had pot holes) for half an hour in 90% humidity and around 40 degrees heat I was exhausted only to have the kids call us to play for longer, was some of the toughest football games I have ever played.

The work at the clinic consisted of levelling the ground so that we could mark out a garden area and put swings and a roundabout for the children, this all took much longer than expected and we all spent many days working very hard in the pouring rain and mud trying to get it finished before the grand opening of the clinic, which was to be opened by the minister of health for Ghana .this was a massive celebration in which the whole village turned out for, along with TV crews to film the celebration of the opening

Overall it was a very successful and rewarding trip, meeting some of the most amazing people that are so kind and yet so happy, considering they have so little, it made me feel very humble and has changed me in so many ways. If only every one in  the world could be as nice and welcoming as the people in Ghana then the world would be a better place , I will certainly look forward to going back next year.


Jonathan's Story

“The experience of a lifetime”

I was positive that I wanted to volunteer in Africa, but I wasn’t sure of the specifics.  So when I stumbled across the Assin Endwa Trust and discovered that they could organise a trip to Ghana I thought, “why not?”

I was not to be disappointed.  A six week stay in Ghana over the summer of 2009 triggered what I am sure will be a life long love affair with the country.  For me, Ghana was a sheer attack on the senses; a magical, humbling rollercoaster ride of an experience.

Through the connections of the Assin Endwa Trust, I was able to work in various capacities, living with locals within the communities along the way.  My work ranged from teaching at two different schools in different areas of the country to delivering lectures on the dangers of drug abuse, from spending time in various orphanages to aiding with construction work at one of the schools in which I had taught.  Aside from this I took part in some highly competitive football matches, enjoyed a lot of traditional music and dance and jumped at the opportunity to sample a rural delicacy called ‘grasscutter’ – essentially a large rodent!  The experience was overwhelming and highly rewarding and one week’s respite, in the middle of my stay, spent taking in some of Ghana’s underrated tourist attractions, gave me time to reflect on my the things I had done.

Obviously there are limitations on how much you can achieve as a volunteer during a short stay.  However, I do feel that I was able to make a genuinely positive impact, even if it was to the lives of a relative few.  The experience is, to a large extent, what you make of it.  Show some drive and initiative and the rewards are high, both for the people you are assisting and for yourself as a volunteer.  The mantra of ‘inspire and be inspired’ is a fitting one.  If you are teaching, the kids benefit not only from the knowledge you can pass on to them but also from the advice and encouragement that you can provide.  The teachers meanwhile can benefit from the example of a different outlook and work ethic; a fresh perspective.  On a more basic level, even a simple smile and a few words in Fanti, one of the local dialects, will bring happiness and laughter from a great many Ghanaians.

My advice to anyone thinking of undertaking voluntary work would be to give great consideration to Ghana and to the Assin Endwa Trust.  As someone who has travelled fairly widely, it is my opinion that you will struggle to meet a group of people who are more warm hearted (not to mention fun-loving) as Ghanaians.  With regard to the Assin Endwa Trust specifically, when I came across volunteers from some of the larger organisations, I couldn’t help but feel that the experience available through the Trust was so much more authentic. Furthermore, you are not ladled with the kind of extortionate up-front fees seemingly charged by so many volunteer organisations.

If you’ve never been to Africa, Ghana is probably the perfect introduction.  If you are willing to put in some graft but would also appreciate some well earned rest; if you want a rewarding volunteering experience which is of true help to the community in which you are working then the Assin Endwa Trust ticks all the boxes.

The Assin Endwa Trust U.K. is a registered charity, No: 1087136

A Volunteer's Experience

"The smiles, the culture, the friendship...these are what I enjoyed most about the Ghana experience. Not a day goes by that I don't remember the warm smiles and beauty of Ghana's people and land."       Ishmael  (Volunteer from Belize)

On our home page there is a quote from Clare Roche, one of our group of volunteers from the pilot group that went to Ghana in 2004. Below you can read her personal account of that visit.

Below Clare's report there are others from Jenny and Matt plus a report from Jonathan who undertook a longer placement and has since become a Trustee and now The trust Chairman!