Shipping materials to Nigeria has always been problematic, with no direct route other than shipping through DHL at exorbitant cost. Enter the Rev. Ben Nnaji, Priest-in-Charge of St. Edmund’s Church in the Bronx, New York. He had befriended Bishop John several years ago; Elaine Chagnon was asked by Bishop John to contact him. Rev. Nnaji had a contact who ships regularly to Lagos, Nigeria. Through the generosity of the Women’s Guild at St. Edmunds’s, the cost of shipping one barrel was covered. AEP covered the cost of a second barrel. On September 22, Elaine and son Nate headed to the Bronx to load the barrels with books. At this point, the books are enroute and should arrive before Christmas. One of our Nigerian team members will make the trip to Lagos to bring the books north to Gusau.
Carly Hajducky, a middle school student from St. Paul’s Church, Huntington, had an idea to help AEP. After hearing that a need existed for a library, the energetic young woman decided to collect books. She submitted her proposal to the Rev. Amjad Samuel, an AEP Board member for approval...and also to the Girl Scout Council for her Silver Star Award.
After receiving the go-ahead from both organizations, the drive was on! Carly worked tirelessly to collect 525 volumes. She catalogued each volume, placing a dedica- tion label in each one. In addition, she had bookmarks, several book bins, and a binder with the catalogued list to add to her donation.
On September 17, Elaine Chagnon was invited to St. Paul’s to address the congregation with Carly. At the conclusion of the service, the church picnic provided Elaine with the opportunity to become better acquainted with Carly and her parents. The books were presented and loaded!
It was a heartwarming experience to chat with the Hajducky family and appreciate their generosity and compassion. AEP is grateful for the effort and special care Carly took to make the drive such a success. The books will provide the library space with a great starting collection. On behalf of the students at GIS, AEP expresses its sincere thanks!
We are pleased to report continued progress, that has resulted in the completion of our two major projects: the exam hall and the eight-foot perimeter wall. The school continues to grow and improve as our Nigerian partners creatively strategize and prioritize our next steps.
The summer trip was the most successful of all previous trips. Board member Elaine Chagnon, accompanied by husband Bob, were able to spend an entire week at the school, surveying the physical progress of the plant, meeting with the school board to discuss next steps, and engaging in conversation with teachers, students, and administration to gather valuable information regarding requests, improvements, and needs.
Enrollment at Graceland International School is on the rise after several lean years due to the tensions and threats of violence resulting from the last presidential election and its effect on the local population. Our numbers indicate that enrollment is up across the grades with an additional 100 students– and the number continues to increase.
A Clear focus
We have a clear focus for our next steps in moving Graceland International School forward. Funds have been transferred to complete the exam hall. The outside staging has been removed and the only work left is some interior plastering. This will allow the administration to move from their current location in a classroom – leaving a space for a full computer lab. The perimeter wall is also complete and the second gate is now being installed.
Our work with a grant writer continues, as we search for funding for a well and school upgrades. We are in a position to move forward, as a requirement was to improve our presence on the web. Our board has worked very hard with a technology expert to recreate the website– please check out our new, improved look at africaep.org.
Please consider a holiday offering as we move forward at this most crucial time.
Don Ghostlaw, President
Africa Education Partnership held a successful "grilled cheese" fundraiser for Graceland International School at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, South Windsor, on Sunday, September 24. The menu offerings, provided by the Whey Station food truck, included seven varieties of delicious gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. The Whey Station (www.wheystation.com) generously donated all proceeds to support AEP's work at Graceland international School. We are very grateful for their kind generosity.
This page compiles information from outside sources, as well as AEP's own blog updates.