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.
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.