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New six-classroom schoolhouse being built in a rural area out of Accra

Opening of new school becomes a reality for Roosevelt alumna in Ghana

Posted: 01/18/2013

Roosevelt Review, Fall 2012 [ PDF ]

A little more than a year after graduating from Roosevelt University, alumna Renee Farwell (BA, ’11) has realized her dream of opening an elementary school and boarding home for poor children in the African nation of Ghana.

Farwell, 23, who first traveled to Ghana in 2009 as a Roosevelt University study abroad student, this fall opened a new six-classroom schoolhouse in a rural area outside of Ghana’s capital city of Accra.

“You know that you’re doing what you want to do when you wake up every day and you’re happy,” Farwell said during a visit in June to Roosevelt.

Farwell has been teaching children who can’t afford to go to school in Ghana’s Kissemah Village since her first visit to the area as a study-abroad student at the University of Ghana in 2009. In August, she returned to Ghana for a third teaching stint, joined by friend and fellow Roosevelt alumna Sarah Karner (BA, ’10).

“What Renee has done in Ghana impressed me so much that I wanted to go there myself and to try and help out,” said Karner, 24, who was an English and psychology major at Roosevelt. Most recently, Karner was a youth instructor at a YMCA children’s center in Evanston, Ill. She will be a teacher for Farwell’s Mawuvio’s Outreach Programme (MOP) through May 2013.

Renee Farwell teaching

Made possible through considerable fundraising and organizing efforts, Farwell’s new facility for MOP includes six classrooms and two dormitories for 40 live-in children. The project also includes plans for an assembly hall, children’s play area and running water.

“A lot of these kids don’t have a stable person in their lives,” said Farwell, “and sometimes it’s very difficult to keep going. There have been times at night after a long day of teaching that I’d be ready to leave – but then the next day I would get up and be ready to go again. It has been the most amazing experience of my life,” she said.

A native of Goose Lake, Iowa, Farwell and her MOP initiative were recently featured by Davenport, Iowa’s KWQC-TV.

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Last updated 06/01/2015