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06.06.2007 General News

Phoebe Hagan — The Girl With The Big Dream (II)

When I met with David, he told me that the school replaced a quarter of their 90 computers every year and it cost them about £25 to dispose of each computer. For every year they have between 20 to 30 computers to dispose of and these could easily be given to Phoebe instead.

At this point Alice came into the picture. When she heard what her sister had done, she also spoke with her headteacher at Lyndhurst First School the following morning and she actually got the first set of computers delivered to her home for the start of the project which would later become CARE Computers for Developing Countries.

Dad Jib was overwhelmed by the response from his daughter's dream so he decided to assist. As we speak now, CARE Computers has already shipped 800 computers to Ghana. There are about 400 more in a container waiting to be shipped and some 500 more stocked in a warehouse in Sussex waiting to be recycled for shipment.

Meanwhile, all 260 basic schools and additional secondary schools, universities and business institutions in West Sussex have agreed to pass on their used computers and others which are no longer needed and their accessories to CARE.

The ICT Co-ordinator for schools and institutions in East Sussex has also come on board to do likewise for CARE from the East Sussex area.

Jib says the computers, including laptops, are now coming in like a flood, but what is needed now is funding to wipe them, reload them with appropriate software (LINUX UBUNTU/RED HAT), train people in Ghana to teach the kids and to repair the computers when they break down.

How wonderful is it to dream and see your dream come true! Phoebe is outwardly quite modest about the big thing that her dream has led to.

Recently, she sacrificed four weeks of schooldays to be with her dad in Ghana to officially open the CARE Service and Distribution Centre at Dansoman, in Accra. She told me that although she missed classes, she felt fulfilled because she had the opportunity to live her dream.

While in Ghana the power-rationing problem denied her the opportunity to send her first e-mail from Swedru Secondary School, where CARE has now set up a computer lab. Phoebe is very hopeful that very soon she would be able to have constant, uninterrupted communication with her friends in Ghana via e-mails.

Phoebe is now in Stage Seven at Chesswood Middle School and would move on to Davidson Secondary School (DSS), in September 2007. Davidson Secondary School is fourth on the list of the top 10 schools in the whole of the UK in terms of academic performance. She intends to champion the link between DSS and Swedru Secondary and establish an exchange programme between the two schools.

As young as Phoebe and Alice are, they are already set on the road to make a great impact in their generation. The ball is now in the court of as many kind-hearted persons and organisations as possible to help sustain the dream the girls have begun.

Meanwhile, the Headmaster of Swedru Secondary School, Mr Ebenezer K.T. Osam, has confirmed that the school has received 20 computers from CARE Computers for Developing Countries.

In an interview with the Junior Graphic during a visit to the school, he said the computers were donated to the school on condition that it would promote environmentally friendly practices such as recycling products like plastic bags, paper, wood, etc.

He said the computers had come as a relief to the school, adding that now every student had a computer to himself or herself, compared to the situation some time ago when three students shared one computer.

Mr Osam urged the company to extend the programme to more schools so that students in those schools would become environmentally conscious and protect the environment.

Story by Samuel Dowuona