"Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed—doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language. But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps—who works in a foreign land—will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace."

-President John F. Kennedy

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Grant Completed! Help Needed!

Dear Friends and Family:

As you may know, I am currently in Ghana, Africa, serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer for 27 months. I’m stationed in the Northern Region, one of the poorer regions in the country. My primary assignment is in the Education sector and I am now teaching math at the junior high level in my village of Gbimsi. My students have basic English skills, but are a long way from fluency. They don’t have easy access to books and textbooks. Nearly all of them have never touched a computer before. Imagine for a moment what your life would be like without basic language skills, books, or a computer!

Luckily, Ghana Education Services chose my school to provide 20 laptops and a nearby community lab has offered an extra four desktop computers. This is far from a common occurrence and I want to make sure we can capitalize on this donation! Furthermore, the school collected boxes of books and the Peace Corps Volunteer before me was instrumental in acquiring books for the school. The problem that Ghana Education Services didn’t realize is that we don’t have a place to use the computers and books. The classrooms aren’t secured and aren’t even connected to the power grid. Thankfully, my village members have taken the initiative and provided an existing structure to house the computers, connected it to electricity, and installed some preliminary security locks on the doors and windows. This contribution by the community was not easy – parents of students are constantly being asked to provide small monies here and there for the school, when it is already hard enough just to care for themselves.  They really value education, but paying for it is extremely difficult.

This is where you and I step in. With $3,554, we can furnish the inside of the room and make sure the future computer lab and library are started up properly. What needs to be done? As you can see from the following video I have made, (Austin Jacob's Computer Lab Project YouTube Video) the inside of the room is quite inhabitable for people, let alone computers and books. Your donation will allow me to further secure the outside of the room as well as furnish the inside with items such as: a drop ceiling, fans, lights, flooring, curtains, proper desks and chairs, shelves, paint, a whiteboard, projector, and other small things for inside the room. This project, developed to address a pressing community need, will be implemented by both myself and local partners, and will benefit the people of the community for many years to come by enabling them to increase literacy skills and learn how to use computers.

Any amount you are willing to contribute will be of great benefit! Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this and to go online and contribute. The transaction is secure because it is done through the Peace Corps’ “.gov” website, and all of your donation goes straight to the project. It is even 100% tax deductible, and you will get a receipt!  The link to my project’s page can be found here: Austin Jacob's Computer Lab Project Donation Page. Although the web site is the quickest way to make a donation, you may also make a check payable to Peace Corps Partnership Program and send it to:

Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters
Peace Corps Partnership Program, GGM
1111 20th Street NW
Washington DC 20526

Be sure to indicate the project number, PP-14-641-004, on the check so it will be applied to the correct project.  Please note that due to security procedures, checks sent to Peace Corps via regular mail can take up to 4 weeks to reach their destination.  PC strongly recommends donors to send check payments through an expedited service such as FedEx or UPS as this will dramatically speed up the delivery process.

Also, if you’re looking for ways to make your donation go even farther, check with your employer to see if they have a matching gifts program; many companies match donations dollar for dollar. Once again, thank you for helping me help these students.

Please feel free to contact me via email at austinjacobumd@gmail.com, or the Peace Corps Grants office directly at 202.692.2170 or 1.800.424.8580 x2170 with any questions you might have.



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