A broken down Landrover and a promise to return to build a school set the scene….
In early 2000, Aubrey Malcolm-Green, founder of Partner Schools Worldwide & Sabre Charitable Trust, arrived in Ghana for the first time, having driven across the Sahara bringing medical supplies to a clinic in Elmina. Whilst rebuilding his Landrover engine, Aubrey learnt of the need for new school buildings in the coastal community of Brenu Akyinim, and by the time he was ready to drive back to England, Aubrey had made a promise to help build a new school for the community.
In September 2003, Dominic Bond joined Aubrey for six-months as a volunteer to help formally set up a charity called the Sabre Charitable Trust, and complete the Charity Commission registration process, which paved the way for Aubrey to deliver on that initial promise. The school at Brenu Akyinim became Sabre’s first project in Ghana and was funded over several months through community events, sponsored challenges and expeditions.
Construction began on site in April 2004 for the new nursery building and one month later for the Junior High School. The new Junior High School was gradually completed over several years with the help of community members and a succession of committed volunteers.
In 2007 we began our first partnership between Chesham High School and Brenu Akyinim which laid the foundation for developing a model of cultural learning partnerships involving students from both schools to contribute to a better future.
In 2008, Aubrey left the UK for Ghana with his young family to cement an operational base for all the charity and develop links with Ghana Education Service. As the years past more school links were formed as the charity became involved with different community projects in the surrounding area and by 2010 we’d entered into a relationship with the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) to promote high quality partnerships to their member schools. By 2012 it was clear that a new legal entity was needed. This entity, called Partner Schools Worldwide, was to focus on School Partnership development and therefore allow the charity to focus on Early Childhood Development independent of the legal and safety concerns that surround youth travel overseas.
It is fair to say our core ethos of sustainability, collaboration and community engagement stemmed from those early days working with Brenu Akyinim and went a long way to informing the partnership model that we live by today. Our focus has always been on children and offering them the best possible access to education. We are extremely proud of what has been achieved so far, but fully acknowledge there is a lot more to do and believe that the partnership programme, and close collaboration with implementing charities makes for a sustainable receipe of success.