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First Hare Krishna School in Africa
By Ila devi dasi

The first Hare Krishna school in Africa, Lord Krishna's Academy has started in Accra -Ghana. The school opened on 11th September 2001, with 15 children. now, five weeks down the line, the number has increased to 63.We follow a strict spiritual program at the school alongside the Ghanaian Government syllabus.

First Hare Krishna School in Africa!

H.H. Mahavishnu Swami (Regional Secretary for Nepal, Bangladesh and Uttar Pradesh) passed through Ghana on a short two-day visit on transit to London in November 2000. The number of children in the devotee community as well as an amount of poor children in the adjacent village, inspired him with a vision for a Hare Krishna day school, to help fulfil the desire of his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, to establish varnasrama communities all over the world. The temple president, Srivas Das, revealed that indeed such a school was on a lot for future temple development, but a qualified teacher to start off the project was lacking. H.H. Mahavishnu Swami immediately requested his disciple from South Africa, Ila devi dasi (BA Hons, HED, University of Pretoria), to visit Ghana and consider the possibilities. She immediately quit her job at a private primary school—where she was the only "white" teacher, and landed in Ghana, January 2001.

After months of struggle to put up a school building, get adequate funding, get additional members for the teaching staff, the school Lord Krishna's Academy, finally opened on 11 September 2001, with 15 children. Now, four weeks has increased to 63. Many villagers who previously 'feared' the Hare Krishna's, not knowing what their strange religion was all about, can now see that they are "good people" and daily new children appear for enrolment. All parents are clearly told that we are following a strict spiritual program at the school alongside the Ghanaian Government Syllabus.

Much of the success of the school can be ascribed to the efforts of Shastra das (Educational Director) who was previously the Temple President of Kumasi, Ghana. On the request of his guru maharaj, Srila Bhaktitirtha Swami, he has offered his managerial and PRO expertise to get the school together. He is also in charge of the temple's vocational institute and Adult Education program.

As experience from the past has proved that it is better to have stable grihastas to teach in our schools, the marriage between Shasta Prabhu and Ila devi dasi is also a welcome announcement. Srivas Das Ahimsa Das and all the devotees in the community contributed positively.

Thus currently every morning at 8am, 63 enthusiastic little fares happily sing "Jaya Radha Madhava" before their daily classes commence. During the day they learn Math, English, Environmental Studies, and all other local subjects, as well as doing Krishna Conscious Studies. Teachers do their best as many children are from deprived backgrounds, and some 10-year old children have never been to school. The temple is still involved in fund-raising activities, to complete the school building, provide funds for Prasadam supply, obtain a school uniform, and sponsor children who cannot afford the school fee of 150,000 cedis (approximately $25 US) per term. We are planning for the grand opening ceremony, we shall send you detailed information's and pictures later. For further enquiries please contact us at email address:
L-KRSNA-ACA@onebox.com 

© CHAKRA 20 October 2001

 


At the Accra Zoo


From left to right: Mr. Addo (Class 1), Miss Ellen (Local Language teacher), Miss Kalindi dd (kindergarten), Srivas das (temple president), Ila dd (class2 & principal), Shastra das (educational director), Mathilda (attendant), Miss Rebecca (nursery).

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