Helping a neighbor in need

Ghana School
Reconstruction of the school building will help students focus on learning again.

When a rainstorm devastated a local school in rural Ghana, Sandvik answered the call for help.

The students at Pakyi School No. 1 dream of becoming doctors, pilots and engineers. Their teachers encourage them to take their studies seriously, emphasizing how this helps to improve their future career prospects.

Conditions were not conducive to learning after a rainstorm in December 2014 destroyed classrooms at the 900-student school in a rural farming community 20 kilometers south of Kumasi, Ghana’s second city.

Teacher Hannah Amankwah vividly remembers the Friday downpour.

“School had closed for the day, so we were at home,” Amankwah says. “We woke up the next morning to find that some parts of the building had collapsed.”

Teachers improvised to keep the school open

In the weeks that followed, teachers improvised to keep the school open for the displaced students. Some primary classes were combined into already-overcrowded classrooms that had survived the rainstorm.

“It was stressful for the students and the teachers,” says headmaster Jacob Anane. “Children were easily distracted.”

To enable younger students to remain indoors, makeshift outdoor classrooms were established under trees for the older students. On rainy days, their classes had to be canceled.

The students at Pakyi School No. 1 in Kumasi, Ghana, dream of becoming doctors, pilots and engineers.

“It was very difficult for us to learn sitting under the trees,” says student Janet Appiah, who hopes to someday become a nurse.

When repeated attempts by Pakyi community leaders and school authorities to obtain financial assistance from the cash-strapped Ghana Education Service proved unsuccessful, they turned to neighbor Sandvik for help to rebuild.

The company opened its West Africa service center and warehouse facility just a few minutes’ drive from the school in 2013. The storm that hit the school also severely damaged the Sandvik facility.

After Sandvik restored its facility, Nuhu Salifu, vice president Sales Area West Africa, visited the school and was moved by the damage.

We should have a positive impact on the life of the local community.

“Wherever Sandvik has a presence in the world, it is our view that we should have a positive impact on the life of the local community,” Salifu says.

Local Sandvik leadership obtained top management approval to finance construction of a six-classroom building. Following consultations with local officials and traditional rulers of the community and the necessary approvals from the authorities, building work began in 2017.

Recognizing Sandvik's commitment to the environment, parts of the new facility's roof incorporate wood that has been recycled from pallets and containers that have been used in the shipment of Sandvik equipment and spare parts.

Fifty years after the school was first built, Sandvik inaugurated the new six-unit classroom block in early 2018. “We really appreciate the new classroom facility that Sandvik has built for us,” Appiah says. “It will help us to focus on learning again.”