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Bound for Africa

Bound for Africa

Teacher and partner plan to build a school in eco-village in Ghana

By Willie Kiernan

republican@cnylink.com

Two individuals with diverse backgrounds have decided to collaborate on creating an organization in Ghana that will be the site of an eco-tourism campus composed of an organic farm, facilities for volunteers and a school for the children living in the village.

"Our vision is to have a connection between the organization we build in Ghana and high schools in Syracuse," said Janine Nieroda, an English Teacher/Character Education Advisor at Fayetteville Manlius High School.

The connection with Ghana is through Cazenovia College student Yao Foli Augustine also known as Cha Cha. He was the beneficiary of the tireless fundraising exploits of Meghan Stringer, a graduate of Hamilton College, to bring him to America for a college education.

"I was fortunate to see an article about Cha Cha posted in our faculty room and invited him to my class as a guest speaker," Nieroda said.

Since then, the pair have collaborated to pinpoint the needs of the village in Ghana named Kpando where Cha Cha owns about five acres of land and is known as a wizard regarding agriculture with a family-handed-down wisdom of the healing ways.

"Essentially, he is the agricultural expert and I am the education expert, Nieroda said.

Nieroda has been the advisor for two community service organizations at FM for the past three years. She is forming a new club for next year that will be focused on cultural studies and community service.

"The hope is that we will raise funds for the organization in Ghana and we will be taking five of our members to Ghana during the summer of 2009 to start building the school," Nieroda said. "I'd like to promote this new organization and get the word out in our community because we are hoping to raise funds for this program in Ghana."

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