Mmofra Trom, which means “children’s garden” in the native Dangbe language, is more than a school. It is home to 22 orphans in eastern Ghana, allowing them to live near their original homes and maintain ties with their villages and remaining relatives.
Though the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Ghana is relatively low at about two percent, the country is struggling to deal with more than 150,000 children who have been orphaned by the disease.
The orphanage’s director, Olan Adjetey, said aside from individual contributions, the home did not have the support of any major donors, so they turned to Bentley University, an American business school in Massachusetts, in the hopes of making the orphanage financially self-sufficient.
The first step was to open an elementary and middle school in 2006. Named after the Mmofra Trom’s founder, Carol Grey, the school is open to disadvantaged children as well as those from paying families. The majority of its 200 students pay tuition, and those funds help support the educations of those who can not afford it.
But the project’s program director at Bentley University, Diane Kellogg, said Mmofra Trom soon realized it needed additional business ventures to make the orphanage and educational center truly self-sustaining.
Thanks to continued cooperation with the university, the Mmofra Trom Foundation runs a school, mango orchard, chicken coop, vegetable garden and a sports academy among other projects on its 38-acre plot in eastern Ghana. The educational center provides job skills and computer training, as well as bead-making and weaving facilities.