Our Story.

Jemma Williams teaching Ghanaian kids

We have been working with some of the most disadvantaged children and young people in Ghana to enable them to achieve their potential and break the cycle of poverty since 2016.

Porridge and Pens was founded by Jemma Williams after a trip to Ghana aged just 18. During her time volunteering as a teacher in Ghana, Jemma learnt of the many challenges facing young women, girls and children in the area. In Ghana, it is often girls who lose out on their education when their families are struggling financially, with only 3% of girls in Ghana completing higher education. Around 30% of children in the Kumasi region do not have access to basic education. At Porridge and Pens we know that free and safe access to education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Porridge and Pens’ first beneficiary was a 14-year-old girl called Mabel who was working for a family in Ghana, cooking and cleaning.

With help from the charity, Mabel was able to gain permission to leave the family she was working for and able to study catering and boarding at a Vocational Institute in Kumasi. Mabel is now working as a small business owner.

The Brightlingsea Academy was launched in 2016, and the charity now works with local communities in Ghana to impact the lives of 2,000 children and young people and their families.

Girl Power

2018 saw the launch of Girl Power, a project designed to tackle the inequality of access to education for girls in Ghana.

Brighter Futures

The end of 2022 saw us introduce a programme for bright and talented young men, living in multidimensional poverty, to access higher education and release their potential.


Through our project monitoring and evaluation and research we recognised there were many skilled parents and community members who could support their families in a much more sustainable way if they could access small business grants and business mentoring. Following a successful pilot programme we launched StartUp, in 2023, to address those needs.

Smilling kids
It can make all the difference

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Porridge and Pens © 2015 – 2024
UK Registered Charity No. 1166497

Porridge and Pens
1 Chapman Close,
Essex CO7 0FS