Andy Lee Graham, world traveler, has started a long-term project to install children's chalkboards in villages of Togo, West Africa. Funded by GoFundMe.com page, he proves completion by recording video before and after installation, posting videos on YouTube.
Thu, 4 Jul 2019 02:46:16
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(Kpalimé, Kloto Prefecture, Togo, Africa June 20, 2019) Here's an aid project that shows donors their money is actually helping people. Project workers will record and publish to YouTube.com a video showing each chalkboard, before and after completion. They will number each chalkboard, label it, and document its GPS location on a map for future follow-up, then return periodically to check the chalkboard's status.
YouTube videos can prove money has been spent wisely.
There is one YouTube video for each completed chalkboard.
This controls quality for workers, managers and volunteers and allows donors to see their money working. Donors may sponsor a board, and we will place their family name, business or corporation on the chalkboard.
Chalkboard YouTube Channel
Andy Lee Graham, CEO of HoboTraveler.com, has organized a group of 10-15 workers to install free, black chalkboards on the walls of village houses. Generally, they are in rural locations that have little or no electricity and are mostly dependent on subsistence farming. Why? Because the cost of paper, tablets or pens is a huge expense for the people who live in those areas, and they must travel to the larger cities to buy school products. There is a synergy of intelligence when two or three children decide to draw, write, and play using chalkboards that are open to the community, never private.
According to research by the World Bank, as of 2017 only 19% of the rural population of Togo had access to electricity, and that was a decrease from 21% in 2014. Even where there is electricity, power outages are a routine part of day-to-day life.
Each blackboard starts at no more than 30 centimeters / 12 inches above the ground, so that 1-2-3 year-old children can begin to handle the chalk and learn motor skills. Great care is taken to make sure the workers clean the surroundings and make the installation a thing of beauty for a house or community.
Village people in Togo cannot afford paper tablets, and pens.
The chalkboards are reusable, and chalk is cheaper for the locals than other writing materials. The children start learning to use their fingers to write at age 2 or 3, as they copy the older children. With about $500, we can give 100 children a place to write, draw, and play together, and do that over and over as they grow. A bag of chalk costs 21 cents in Togo, West Africa.
GoFundMe.com funding for project:
Andy Lee Graham, travel writer and CEO of HoboTraveler.com, has visited Togo, West Africa approximately 10 times. On these visits, he observed that the owners of homes would pay a mason to make chalkboards for their children. By mixing cement, a black powder, sand and water, the worker could make what looks the same as a slate chalkboard in the USA. Then three or four years ago, while living in a compound house shared with 8-10 families, he noticed the owner had a wooden chalkboard for her son. He offered to pay to have a concrete one made, and she would agree, but more or less block his attempts. He tried for months, but the nuances of the culture baffled him; until on June 20, 2019, he finally figured how to communicate with the nominally Francophone culture that actually speaks Ewe, a local tribal language.
Upon returning to Kpalime, Togo, in West Africa, he noticed something unusual. There was a construction job across from his auberge. The owner of the house collected all the materials, as if they were the general contractor, then hired the workers. They would not work until they had seen the materials first. The contractors here are not responsible for buying the materials.
We buy the construction materials, then the workers appear; the opposite of the USA where the customer hires the contractor, then the contractor buys the construction materials.
In this project, the starting point for installing a chalkboard is when the organization sees 5-10 children under the age of 10 playing in one location. Then a Togolese local will approach the owner of the house and arrange for the chalkboard. (Tableau de noir)
"Aid organizations continually brag about how much money they raised, but seldom prove how they spent the money, as if having money is a good deed."
--- Andy Lee Graham
Click here to see videos of your money doing good works:
Chalkboard YouTube Channel
About Andy: Andy Lee Graham is the longest continuous traveler on the planet. He has traveled the earth non-stop for more than 21 years, living in 112 countries. He is the founder and CEO of HoboTraveler.com, a travel-lifestyle social network that serves as a community of travelers all over the world. His blog, “Hobo Traveler,” has been named a Top 10 Travel Blog and featured in National Geographic Explorer, Flipkey TripAdvisors, New York Times, Forbes. About.com., Guardian.co.uk, Budget Travel, JohnnyJet.com, Tim Leffel, Abroad.com, TripBase, and 100’s more.
He is involved in over 20 social entrepreneur innovations or inventions, constantly coming up with new ideas to help humans live better, as he lives anywhere, and everywhere.
About HoboTraveler.com: HoboTraveler.com is over 19 years old, it started January 2, 2000. For the few years it was the travel blog of Andy Lee Graham, covering many travel topics. Then, in 2014 it transitioned into a travel lifestyle social network that now has 30,000-plus registered members. There is a travel “Talk Wall,” similar to Facebook, where members can find information and share personal travel experiences. What is unique about Hobo is that all members must prove they are real people. No anonymous members are allowed, and profile photos must be genuine. And because the network is trusted by members, they feel confident in arranging to meet other members in many countries around the planet.
To Join HoboTraveler Travel Lifestyle Social Network:
USA telephone: +1-260-624-4414
Life is good!
Andy Lee Graham