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The summer of 2006 Nic and Ashley were part of a six-month volunteer program in Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast).
In 1988 the American musician and composer Robert Levin travelled to Kopeyia, Denu in West Africa to study drumming. At that time the 2,000 inhabitants of this rural farming village in Southeastern Ghana were facing steeply diminishing crop yields and escalating poverty, stemming from generations of illiteracy, a paucity of resources, and continued isolation from the outside world.
Levin’s appreciation for Ghanaian culture, and his observation of Kopeyia’s lack of educational opportunity, moved him to offer assistance to Kopeyia’s elders if they wanted to establish a school. Kopeyia opened its school under a thatched shade on October 10, 1988 where for three years students carried their desks and chairs to and from school each day so the wooden furniture would not be spoiled by rain.
Since 1996 more than 75 Kopeyia residents have earned scholarships to attend the region’s best Senior Secondary Schools for grades 10-12, and over 60 have been graduated from high school and vocational school. The programme at the nearby Dagbe Cultural Institution focuses on African music-making. Students learn dance, drumming and songs for African music styles.1