On the request from few Konkomba youth who wanted to be helped in getting basic education, in 2003 we started some night classes, with the help of Samuel, at that time living in the area and studying at St Aquinas. Many people have never been to school and there is a great desire to learn to read and write, and to have some basic knowledge of English. We started sitting in the evenings at a pito bar; then with increasing attendance we looked for a better place. A fitter offered us an empty space near his workshop where in December 2003 we built a wooden structure.
We started to have classes from Monday to Friday from 7.30pm to 9.30pm with few youth, many embarrassed at sitting on a school bench at their age; sometimes friends passing by were teasing them, at the point that in the beginning students were asking us to have classes, notwithstanding the heat, with windows and doors closed. In a short time the school got the respect of people and embarrassment gave way to pride.
Far the teaching we got the help of some educated people living in the slum, most of them students in secondary or tertiary institutions. During the day the school was used by students for personal or group studies. Very soon our structure was not able to accommodate all our students and at the end of 2004 we had to extend the school building with a second floor, still wooden, on top of the first.
Seeing the need to be there full time, in summer 2006 I moved from the room I was renting to stay in the school. In September 2006 the school was burned down; the fire started in a shack around 100m from our place, but lack of water and disorganization made the fire spread to more than hundred shacks, among them our school.
We rebuild at the end of the year, still with wood, adding one more room after the agreement with a neighbour sharing wall with the school to rebuild his two rooms and getting in exchange the permission to put a second floor on top of his rooms, and using one of them for three years. In 2008 we added a new room, buying the workshop of the fitter who had given the land in the beginning.
On the 22nd of December, 2009, the school was razed down to the ground again by a fire outbreak that started around 400m from the school and spread vastly to reach our school, reducing to ashes more than 2,000 structures. In January 2010 we started rebuilding with a lot of help from people of the City of God and from other parts of Accra and at the end of the following month the school was reopened fully. This time as all our neighbours we rebuilt in blocks, but with only one floor, so with less space and rooms more uncomfortable for the heat and poor ventilation.
At the moment the school offers six classes at primary level and basic computer literacy. It is not easy to attend classes after a day full of toil and sweat, overcoming the temptation for easy rest and enjoinment that the slum offers, but every evening around 60/70 young people attend (there were more with the former structure); the teachers are from the slum, they get a monthly bonus, paid mostly through the daily fees collected from the students.
Sometimes volunteers from our parishes of Accra help in the teaching, like Nana Peprah, who started the computer programme. I feel that to give the possibility of basic education is to give the grace to grow in self-esteem and in the dignity of children of God. More than 3,000 students have passed through the school, some for years and some for just few days. They belong to different tribes (we have counted more than 80) and religious groups; classes are also moments of fraternity and friendship.
The students themselves suggested the name “Peace” for the school. The school is also an opportunity for human and skill formation. Outside classes the school is used by students of primary, secondary or tertiary level for private studies.