Elizabeth Agzagbo founded happy kids in 1995 in order to provide housing and schooling for the wide array of orphans and underprivileged children in the local area of Wegbe, Ghana. In partnership with American Director Kelsey Finnegan, Elizabeth and the local staff work around the clock in an attempt to keep these children off of the streets and to provide them with an education that will enable them to rise out of poverty.
However, due to a lack of resources and funds, the Happy Kids are almost always hungry and attend a school that lacks basic necessities such as books, pencils, desks and even a roof. Happy Kids receives no government funding and survives on the meager, uncommon donations from the local community. Despite having so little, the 120 children that attend happy kids (40 of which are orphans) are among the happiest, most hopeful group of dreamers anyone will ever meet. They are smart, determined, and consider the orphanage to be their home and their friends to be brothers and sisters.
Steps to Progress
Despite being the most struggling orphanage in the village, Happy Kids is making significant strides toward progress. The volunteers that Happy Kids receives from Cross Cultural Solutions help with teaching and curriculum improvement. However a lack of resources and educated staff make it only possible for them to focus on the act of daily survival.
Until 2010, only 12 of the orphans were able to live at Happy Kids. Although around 50-60 children learn, eat and play at happy kids between 8am and 9pm, they would leave at night to sleep either with distant relatives or local community members. The children shared a room the size of a closet and slept on a cement floor covered in their own urine. For decades the foundation for what could be a new dormitory building lay behind the current orphanage, untouched.
In the summer of 2010, the intervention of many generous donors enabled American volunteer, Kelsey, to return to Ghana and oversee the construction of a large two-roomed dormitory building. Both rooms are equipped with electricity and ceiling fans (which reduce the risk of malaria). For the first time in their lives, every child living at the orphanage has their own bed. Kelsey was also able to bring over 600 pounds of donated school supplies so the children have a library on site and some vital educational resources. Kelsey registered Happy Kids as non-governmental organization and is now acting as Director.
In 2010 another volunteer, Guido, helped fundraise so that Kelsey managed the construction of new classrooms. Before, the majority of the children must learn under the trees. Since then, we've constructed 5 additional classrooms, including one that houses our internet cafe.
This is only the beginning of possible and very necessary change. In order for the children to thrive, Happy Kids needs help. They can't do it alone. Through improved infrastructure, innovative programming and educational as well as skills training, we aim to transform Happy Kids into a model facility that can be duplicated throughout the region.