My name is Rebecca Kuntz and I’m 19 years old and live in Chicago, Illinois. I currently am a sophomore at DePaul University majoring in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies with a focus on African aid/development. After graduating from Lyons Township High School in June 2011 I hopped on a plane to Ghana, West Africa to volunteer with a non profit called Light for Children. I spent 3 months living with a Ghanaian host family, running a sexual assault prevention program. I taught at a free summer school, worked in orphanages, conductted HIV counseling and testing, and sought sponsorship for HIV positive children. I also filmed my own documentary film about the experience.
My eyes were opened to the beautiful children of Ghana and some major issues they were facing. I was asked to teach a basic computer class in a village and arrived to find no computers, no desks, no textbooks, and 100 curious eyes excited to learn. I met hundreds of children who all expressed a want and a need for a place where they could have access to computers, books, extra curricular classes, but most of all a safe space where they could learn.
I came back to the US, started college and my ideas and inspirations for this “safe space” grew. Over the next year Light for Children and I exchanged ideas and plans for the space as I traveled through East Africa on a service-learning trip and in June of 2012 we officially launched the fundraising for the project.
We are creating an Education Center, a place for children to learn, prosper, and feel safe. Light for Children works in an area where there are no community or school libraries, no computer labs for classes, and no community spaces. The Education Center will offer computer classes, literacy and library classes, art programs, summer camps, mentorship, income generating programs, and much more.
I just returned from a month long trip to Ghana where we signed off on the land that was donated by the Ministry of Land, finalized the building design, finalized the budget, and molded the blocks for the foundation. We added up all the expenses to build, equip, open, and operate the Center for 1 year and it equaled $50,000. This is a lot of money…but in Ghana, $50,000 can change thousands of lives. The Education Center will flip this community upside down and provide endless opportunities and resources for a community desperately in need.
I’m a college student and I’ve done all of this on my own. Every trip to Africa has been self-funded. All of the work has been on my own time, while I have been in college full time. I’m 100% dedicated to making this dream come true for my children in Ghana. I will be moving to Ghana permanently once the Center is built in order to run it full-time with the amazing Ghanaian staff. This is my dream. This is their dream. This is our dream, together.
A lot of people would stop here and say “I can’t afford to help” or “Nothing that I can do will make a difference.” That’s where you would be wrong – we’re all connected in this world, and that’s where I came up with Together We Are, because TOGETHER, we ARE able to make a difference.
I turned 20 on January 28th, and I’m giving up my birthday, because I only have one birthday wish– I want to build the entire physical structure of the Education Center. The cost of the building is $20,000. If 1,000 people each donate just $20, the ENTIRE Center will be built. $20,000 is a lot of money, but I know it can be done.
I can help bring awareness and change the lives of thousands of children in Ghana. I have already planted a seed that is starting to grow.
“If you want to do something big, you have to be crazy enough to believe you can. Without that belief, the impossible remains impossible.”
You can read more about the Education Center at: www.together-we-are.com/the-education-center
To learn more about my 20th Birthday Fundraiser please visit: www.together-we-are.com/20for20
Photos from my experience in Ghana: