The inspiration for Porridge and Pens came after Jemma Williams spent a year in Ghana
In 2009, between college and university, Jemma volunteered at a poor government school in Ghana as an ICT and English school teacher.

She was placed in the home of a wealthy Ghanaian family and this was where she met 14-year-old orphan Mabel, who had been abandoned at the age of eight because her family were too poor to pay for her school and living fees. Mabel was placed with a family who needed help around the house with cooking, cleaning and washing. The family promised Mabel’s relatives that she would receive an education in return for her work but, during Jemma’ time there, Mabel went to school no more than a handful of times.

Mabel was under intense pressure to complete all the household chores and there were occasions when she would be beaten if she didn’t complete the work on time or to the right standard. Jemma was desperate to help Mabel. She had only completed a few years of primary school and had been kept back every year for poor attendance and failing her exams.

So when Jemma started work as a secondary school teacher in 2012 and began earning, she decided to support Mabel through boarding school in Kumasi. With help from Jemma and her family, Mabel was able to gain permission to leave the family she was working for and left to start a new life studying catering and boarding at the Ramseyer Vocational Institute in Kumasi. She now is incredibly happy and fulfilled.

The real inspiration behind Porridge and Pens and all the charity’s projects comes from Mabel and the need for free schooling in Ghana.

Top: Jemma with a pupil at the Brightlingsea Free School

Right: Jemma and Mabel

In 2009, between college and university, Jemma volunteered at a poor government school in Ghana as an ICT and English school teacher.

She was placed in the home of a wealthy Ghanaian family and this was where she met 14-year-old orphan Mabel, who had been abandoned at the age of eight because her family were too poor to pay for her school and living fees. Mabel was placed with a family who needed help around the house with cooking, cleaning and washing. The family promised Mabel’s relatives that she would receive an education in return for her work but, during Jemma’ time there, Mabel went to school no more than a handful of times.

Mabel was under intense pressure to complete all the household chores and there were occasions when she would be beaten if she didn’t complete the work on time or to the right standard. Jemma was desperate to help Mabel. She had only completed a few years of primary school and had been kept back every year for poor attendance and failing her exams.

So when Jemma started work as a secondary school teacher in 2012 and began earning, she decided to support Mabel through boarding school in Kumasi. With help from Jemma and her family, Mabel was able to gain permission to leave the family she was working for and left to start a new life studying catering and boarding at the Ramseyer Vocational Institute in Kumasi. She now is incredibly happy and fulfilled.

The real inspiration behind Porridge and Pens and all the charity’s projects comes from Mabel and the need for free schooling in Ghana.

Top: Jemma with a pupil at the Brightlingsea Free School

Below: Jemma and Mabel

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