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Peace Corps Volunteer Builds School for Deaf, Blind Children in Togo

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2012 Peace Corps volunteers Alisha Williams of Lakewood, Colo., and Mary Bryson of Cashtown, Pa., are working with their Togolese community to build a school for 45 deaf and blind students and teachers. A portion of the funds for the school are being raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), a program that supports Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide.

For the project, Williams and Bryson will work with a local non-governmental organization that has been educating children in the area for over a decade. Until now, the school has been a one-room, makeshift school house. PCPP will fund the basic construction costs for the project, while the community has donated land, sand, gravel and water, and school benches.

Magnifying glass icon Peace Corps volunteer Mary Bryson (left) and Alisha Williams (second from right) with local NGO leaders.They have a handful of benches, a cracked chalkboard, two severely outdated textbooks, three dedicated teachers-some handicapped as well-and twenty eager students. This year they have accrued too much debt to keep the doors open, and the funds simply do not exist to erect a school of their own, said Williams, who has been serving as a resource management volunteer in Togo since September 2010. The community gives what it can, but without a stable facility, the school would most likely shut down until it could find further support.

The new school will provide students with a well-equipped structure to teach basic communication skills, reading and writing skills, and traditional technical, trade and artisanal skills. Since many of the students live in neighboring villages, the school will also provide for boarding and allow students to stay overnight.

Magnifying glass icon A student practices numbers in sign language.In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability. One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation goes toward a development project.

Those interested in supporting Bryson and Willams project in Togo can visit: www.peacecorps.gov/donate. Her project number is: 693-396.

Magnifying glass icon Peace Corps volunteers Alisha Williams and Mary Bryson are working with their Togolese community to build a school for 45 deaf and blind students and teachers.About Peace Corps/Togo: More than 2,680 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Togo since the program was established in 1962. Currently, 118 volunteers serve in Togo. Volunteers work in the areas of education, environment, health, business, and information technology. Volunteers are trained and work in the following languages: Adja, Bassar, Ewe/Watchi, French, Gourma, Haoussa, If (Ana), Kabiy, Kotokoli, Mina, and Tchokossi (Anoufo).

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agencys mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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