I would like to talk about DUNK. Many don´t know this – but I volunteer. Moving to Ghana was a real eye opener for me. I was prepared for it to be different– without really knowing what to expect. Being here, seeing poverty and need up close, changes you. First of all it makes you appreciate what you have so much more. Secondly, it makes you want to take action. I know I can´t save the world. But if I am able to help a few, my hope is that they again can help a few – and hopefully in the end we have all helped many.
When we first arrived in Ghana I became a member of NAWA, a woman´s humaitarian organisation where I now sit on the board as head of volunteer engagements. NAWA was a great help navigating me through the sea of NGO´s in Accra. And after less than a month here I had found my organisation with their help. Today I volunteer at DUNK based on their cause and shared passion for sports, education and empowerment of young individuals and women.
DUNK stands for Developing Unity, Nurturing Knowledge. It’s a youth-led, community-based, Non-Governmental Organisation. DUNK was founded in 2011 with operations in Nima (an urban slum in Ghana). Since it has grown, and we are now currently operating in the two most deprived communities in Accra, Ghana – Nima and Jamestown. In September 2016 we opened our facility in Jamestown with the first community library and a free kindergarten for the moms attending our Sew Your Future program.
DUNK´s mission is to create safe spaces for at-risk children and women aged 0-19 years old living in the most deprived communities in Accra. We provide a healthy environment for our members to Play, Learn & Grow through sports (basketball), after-school support, life-skills –and vocational training. We empower and nurture our members so they may become agents of change in their own communities.
DUNK´s objectives are:
- Provide a safe and healthy environment in which the right of children is put forward
- Develop physical, social and emotional competences and cognitive development of children and youth through sports and leadership skills
- Encourage children to excel in and out of the classroom as well retaining their school enrolment
- Empowering and provide teenage mothers and at-risk girls with economic stability
- Provide Sexual Health education for teenage mothers and at-risk youth with partners
- Promote early-child literacy and development for the babies of teenage mothers
- Promote respect, self-esteem, leadership, commitment and teamwork
In their work DUNK uses a triangle method based on three pillars:
- Athletic Development – Through the establishment of basketball teams, DUNK appeals and reach out to children living in deprived communities. Central to the quality of life of young people, as a key source to friendship, social and self‐identity, and as a deterrent and diversion from crime – is participation in sports activities. Participation in sport is proven to positively impact cognitive and social skills and health. It can also reduce impulsiveness, risk‐taking and positively impact behaviour by raising self‐esteem and confidence.
- Academic Development – Through tutorial sessions, after school programs and our educational centre (library), members are assisted in their studies and encouraged to further their education. DUNK also provides scholarships to those most needy.
- Personal Development – Through mentoring sessions and life-skills training, our members are given the tools to impact and influence positively their peers and own community.
DUNK is able to reach over hundreds of kids, from primary to Junior High School level. In Ghana education is supposed to be free (up to high school level). Unfortunately there are many hidden costs preventing students, especially those from urban communities, from attending and finishing their education. These hidden costs add up to roughly $200 dollars per year. Our goal is therefore to have a scholarship for each of our members helping them staying in and finishing school.
In classes of sometimes 60+ pupils, children get “lost” in the system and have little support should they need it. The DUNK team therefore works hard at linking families with sponsors, as well as monitor the student’s attendance and progress with their education. Since parents and legal guardians are seldom home after school, DUNK provides a space where young people can practice Basketball and leadership skills, learn and play indoor games, have access to books, attend education and skills classes, and socialize with each other and their mentors.
DUNK’s members participate in an afterschool program with professional teachers that volunteer with us during the week. We mainly focus on English and Math, but we also enrol kids in other educational activities such as science workshops, writing workshops, reading classes, arts class and much more. By monitoring the kids through their academic year by collecting their report cards we are able to make sure every kid is getting the help and assistance they might need. We also catch those who drop out and help and motivate them to get back into school.
If you would like to know more about this organisation and it´s cause – maybe even become a donor and sponsor a child – you can visit their website. You can also follow us on facebook or instagram where we post weekly updates. If you have any further inquiries please send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.