Serving disadvantaged communities in West Africa by empowering local leaders who have a positive humanitarian vision for their community.
This blog maps the evolution of the organization's vision through the thoughts, experiences, and collaborative projects of our team. Visit GroundUpGlobal.org for more information and how you can help!
This holiday season, searching for the perfect gift just got easier!
Our BUDU fair trade fashion initiative supports both the women of the vocational schools on Buduburam as well as the single refugee mothers struggling to make ends meet. The gorgeous, hand-made, one of a kind jewelry and clothing items are on sale at our online store. And fair warning: there is only one of each design!
We will be debuting a new BUDU item each day this week, all of which can be purchased at our online store
1 THE RED CLASSIC
This elegant necklace was made by Semiria Kortu, who came to Buduburam as a child in 1990. She lost her entire family in the Liberian Civil wars but has worked to build a life for herself on the camp.
A mother of five and a talented beadwork teacher at Women of Destiny vocational school, she designed many of the beautiful BUDU necklaces. Your BUDU purchase today will help Semiria put her children through school!
To sport this BUDU item and support Semiria, order here now!
SCHEFO’s intern Carolyn reflects on her experience in the camp.
When I first applied for the internship position with SCHEFO at the Buduburam Refugee Camp, I really had no idea what to expect. I had googled some pictures of the camp and had images swirling around in my head from Blood Diamond, but those images were the extent of my conceptualization of what the camp might look like. In reality, Buduburam camp is a twenty-year-old town of 40,000 residents with its own ramshackle market, restaurants, bars, internet cafes, hair salons, schools, vocational training centers, and religious institutions.
Given all that, Buduburam seems to be, at least socially, a thriving community of refugees. But, Buduburam is stuck incomplete economic stagnation. There are no job positions on camp (most of the restaurants and salons are in a constant state of dilapidation. They were started by the few individuals who managed to get access to micro-finance loans.) and the refugees find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to get jobs outside the camp due to travel expenses and the nationalistic discrimination of Ghanaian employers. Several different people at the camp have told me, “Why should they give us jobs when there are Ghanaians who are poor and unemployed too?”
And so the entire economic infrastructure of Buduburam exists in a kind of Twilight Zone with buildings crumbling, electricity failing for weeks at a time, and other struggles. DVD stores with twinkling lights (when there is electricity on the camp,) clothing stores with the doors thrown open, and innumerable food vendors sat by the sides of the camp’s dusty roads are all waiting for customers who don’t exist because the incredibly high unemployment rate on the camp starves the people of cash. Fees are needed to purchase water, send your children to school, receive health care, and even use the public restrooms.
One of the most difficult aspects of camp life to cope with psychologically is the complete absence of opportunity for self-advancement. When there are no jobs to be had, there is no money to be had, and without money there is no higher education and no moving off the camp. Every day is a practice in waiting, and trying, and hoping.