Many Stories at ROBA
At We-Building we recently concluded an expansion of the already existing River of Blessing Academy (ROBA) which includes six new classrooms. This school provides high-quality low-cost primary education in Koforidua, Ghana. Because of the school’s holistic approach, from time to time they are publishing books where every student can participate with a story or a poem. This is just one of multiple activities like art shows, science presentations, and sport events that are happening throughout the terms to give every child the opportunity to shine.
Some of the benefits of reading for pleasure in children are acquisition of general knowledge, a better understanding of other cultures, and community participation. Consequently, further benefits could be expected if they are also writing for pleasure and representing themselves with their own stories. Representation is crucial, like novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie pointed out in her 2009 TED talk titled The danger of a single story. “There is an Igbo word, that I think about whenever I think about the power structures of the world, and it is “nkali.” It’s a noun that loosely translates to ‘to be greater than another’. Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principle of nkali: How they are told, who tells them, when they’re told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.”
The danger of a single story is that it creates stereotypes, which for the most part are incomplete, and after a while these stereotypes might become the norm to think about or view a country, a region, a population. With these multiple stories and poems written by the ROBA students, they are not only staying motivated in their learning process and finding their strengths, but are also giving readers, be it their parents, siblings, friends or neighbors the chance to have a ‘balance of stories’, to access many stories, while emphasizing their agency to imagine and tell their own. We leave you here with some of the many stories and worlds from Koforidua, Ghana.