THE BLOG

I Visited Ghana to See How Red Nose Day Cash is Changing Lives And Building Brighter Futures in Ghana

19/10/2015 22:16 BST | Updated 19/10/2016 10:12 BST

When Cynthia invited me to help prepare lunch at her home in the rural village of Dwabor in Ghana I was so excited. Winning Celebrity MasterChef has really ignited my passion for food and I didn't expect to find such yummy cuisine in Ghana, like Cynthia's groundnut soup.

It was also a great opportunity to speak to this incredible woman, mum to mum, about the huge dreams she has for her triplets Eric, Erica and Isobella.

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Money raised by UK schools and the public and matched by the UK government is improving education across Africa, giving children like the triplets a brighter future and the tools they need to escape poverty for good.

Despite the obvious differences in our lives I recognised the passion for her children she displayed at every turn - she has six kids living at home including the triplets, who are six-years-old. She and her husband have worked hard to grow palm trees to make wine and farm cocoa which they sell.

Despite their own relative success, they don't want their children to be farmers too. Cynthia wants the money she makes to support the triplets through university and become a nurse, teacher and an engineer.

The triplets were desperate to start school in the village, to get an education and be in class like their older siblings. But when Cynthia took them in for their first day at kindergarten, carrying one triplet on her back and the others under each arm, the classes had changed.

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The plain rooms and the rows of desks where her three older children learnt were gone and so was the willing, but unqualified, member of the community who had taught her other children. In Ghana only half of kindergarten teachers are formally trained.

In its place was a vibrant and decorated space, with circular tables, where lots of children were playing, counting with bottle tops and reading books.

The new, trained, teacher Dora, 25, has been supported by The Sabre Trust, which uses cash raised by UK schools and the public this Red Nose Day and matched by the UK government to transform school for young children. Teachers have been trained to deliver learning through play and activities instead of formal lessons and they recycle materials to create the class resources they need but which schools simply can't afford to buy.

Sabre is working with the Ghana Education Service to engage young minds and transform the futures of an entire generation - it's inspirational stuff.

At first Cynthia was dubious but the differences soon started to show. The triplets could quickly write their names and started to learn English as well as the local language Fante, things which their older siblings didn't pick up until they were much older.

And the triplets' behaviour at home has transformed. The polite kids entertain themselves outside, are trusted to go to the shop and help their mum with chores around the house.

Cynthia adores Dora, who sings and dances in the classroom and has incredible patience with the kids.

I saw for myself the sheer enthusiasm from the triplets and their classmates who were all desperate to learn, putting up their hands in class even if they didn't know the answer to the question, just giving it a go.

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I totally get Cynthia wanting to create an amazing life for her kids, wanting to give them the best, educate them well, inspire them and hope that one day they grow and find their passions. All I ever want is for my daughter Willow to grow to love what she does and be as happy as she possibly can. I know that's universal.

But I also know that these children realise from an incredibly young age just how vital every moment of their schooling is to lift themselves out of poverty as adults.

It's clear that the work of Sabre is giving these children the incredible start in life that they crave and the UK, my adopted home, should be exceptionally proud of the part it is playing in that.