Market Shifts: Leslie Batchelor Helps PAMBE Ghana’s Popular Fair Trade Market Go Online

How can a small Oklahoma City nonprofit survive a pandemic? Dream big and talk to your friends – PAMBE Ghana is lucky to count attorney Leslie Batchelor as a friend and loyal customer of its seasonal fair trade Global Market. When the nonprofit’s way forward was clearly to move the Global Market to online sales, Leslie Batchelor offered space adjacent to her law office for an inventory warehouse and sales office.

Leslie Batchelor shows a basket crafted in Uganda

“Once it became clear that PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market would have to change course from its traditional storefront model, we put our heads together and agreed that the Market must continue. Profits from sales provide crucial funding for our elementary school in rural northern Ghana,” said Tom Ziebell, president of PAMBE Ghana’s board. The school, La’Angum Learning Center (LLC), enrolls 275 children in pre-K through grade 6.

PAMBE Ghana is excited at this new community partnership, which enables them to start a new adventure in online marketing. Leslie and her dad, Dan Batchelor, agreed that PAMBE Ghana could use vacant space in their building, The Center For Economic Development Law. Leslie, president of The Center, has been a regular customer at the Market, which has operated seasonally since 2008. She notes, “I have shopped at the Global Market most years when I’m looking for unique and special gibs. I like that I can be doing good by supporting artists working in their communities for a fair wage and supporting LLC at the same time. Elementary education and the arts are basic building blocks for communities wherever they are.”

Sara Braden and Seaira Hull picking up orders at the learning tree in Oklahoma City.

The new online Global Market offers fair trade items from around the world, made by artisans who are paid a living wage for their work. New items are being added weekly and will continue through December. Shoppers may visit to order. Currently orders are available for pickup only at learning tree toy store, 7638 N. Western, Oklahoma City.

PAMBE Ghana began in Oklahoma City in 2008 with the dream of OCU graduate, Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels. Her dream: build a model of quality basic education in an underserved area of northern Ghana. Oklahoma City friends embraced Alice’s vision and began the fair trade Global Market to support her dream. The La’Angum Learning Center has flourished through partnerships with local villages in Ghana, friends and supporters in Oklahoma City and Canada, and now Leslie Batchelor and her dad.

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Inaugural Preschool Class Heads to High School after outstanding National Exam Scores

Ghana’s educational system requires students nationwide to take a qualifying exam called the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) after completion of the ninth grade. The purpose is twofold – those who successfully complete the exam will receive a Basic Education Certificate, and those with high scores will be placed into a corresponding senior high school.

LLC grads Rashida Mohamudu (L) and Joshua Moyom (R) were among LLC’s high scorers on the 9th grade achievement test.

La’Angum Learning Center’s first students – who began their educational journeys as preschool students in 2007 – have completed 9th grade and achieved outstanding BECE scores. These 24 students (14 girls and 10 boys) have gained admission into the upper echelon of senior high schools in the northern region.  Each has qualified for government scholarships that pay their tuition, room and board. Their BECE achievement is one in which every PAMBE Ghana supporter shares.

Pictured are three of LLC’s graduates, Rashida, Nemau and Bokupoa, preparing to walk from Bumboazio to Langbinsi where they boarded a bus to their new school for the fall term.

“The end depends on the beginning.” Thank you!



Rotary International Funds Milestone Water and Sanitation Project at LLC

Through a partnership with the Rotary Clubs of Wainwright, Alberta; Revelstoke, British Columbia; and Tamale, Ghana; PAMBE Ghana has received a $49,000 USD grant from Rotary International to fund significant water and sanitation work at La’Angum Learning Center (LLC).

This milestone achievement for PAMBE Ghana fulfills Executive Director Alice Iddi-Gubbel’s long term dream to implement biogas generation at LLC, and it is among the largest single grants that PAMBE Ghana has received. This is a significant step toward our goals of increasing health and sanitation and reducing deforestation around LLC.

The project, once completed, will:

Increase the supply of clean drinking water.

  • Build a rainwater harvesting system on the roof of a recently completed building, including collection, storage and distribution.

Construct two environmentally-friendly 4-cubicle low-flush bio toilets with a bio digester, hand-washing points and grey water recycling system.

  • Build a new 4-cubicle toilet building for girls and female adults.
  • Remodel of the existing pit latrine for boys and male adults.
  • Install a biogas digester to digest human and other waste materials.
  • Install a system to capture and use the biogas in the kitchen for the school lunches.
  • Build a rainwater harvesting system for the toilet building roofs, including collection, storage, and distribution.
  • Construct a grey water recycling system for flushing the toilet, including a solar-run water pump.
  • Implement a solar energy system for pumping the water and lighting the buildings.

The significant benefits to the community will include: more water capture and storage, increased sanitation with functional toilets and hand washing, biogas generation, reduced deforestation, and reduced burden on women and girls to carry water and collect wood.


Did you know?

PAMBE Ghana’s teachers presently earn less than those who serve at Ghanaian Education Service (“GES”) schools and La’Angum Learning Center risks losing Montessori trained teachers to the GES. Thanks to the generosity of the Liddell Foundation and Mother Huggers, PAMBE Ghana will begin to implement its long-time plan of responsibly raising teacher salaries. Please join Mother Huggers by making a tax deductible donation to support increased teacher compensation. Please see more at to see that organization’s good work done locally and internationally

Teaching and Learning Materials With Local Ghanaian Roots

Teachers at PAMBE Ghana’s La’Angum Learning Center (LLC) are putting their Montessori skills to work producing classroom materials their students can use. This idea came from Program Director Eric Bugri Gumah, who brought back several ideas from a Montessori conference he attended last year. He discussed his findings with the teaching staff and voila! The idea to use local materials to build teaching and learning materials was born.

Teachers are building grammar and filler boxes, which are used to teach students the English language. Using local wood, they are able to replace the plastic boxes and reduce the dependence on imported boxes.


End of Year Letter

November 28, 2018

Dear Friends,

Meeting this year’s unique and difficult challenges has been supremely satisfying to our PAMBE Ghana family. Our goal has been to provide stability for our 278 students to continue their job of learning, growing, and mastering the elementary curriculum.

Moyom (left) is in pre-K and started his studies this fall. He has every reason to think that he will start junior high in 2025. Jaliu (center), currently in grade 4, will graduate in 2021, and Hanna (right) is a 5th grader who will graduate 2020. Even when outside circumstances impose challenges, these children and their educations are always our priority. Your dollars work hard to give them this priceless gift. Please continue this support as you make your giving decisions this month.

Ushering in a smooth leadership transition at LLC was perhaps the year’s biggest and most visible accomplishment. Fortunately, our team identified a person with the unique blend of skills and experience to assume the school’s leadership role and that of liaison with the OKC-based board. Eric Gumah began his tenure this summer and will work alongside me this entire school year before taking over in September 2019. Eric has been closely involved with LLC in previous years as a Montessori trainer. The staff members know and respect him. This transition is momentous. Eric has begun a program of ongoing guidance, feedback, and continuing education to upper grade teachers in particular. Students are experiencing an enhanced selection and use of Montessori materials as their teachers grow in their own professional knowledge and skill base under Eric’s direction.

Another major change this year involves the addition of a pilot junior high program for 7th graders. The children who attended junior high in Langbinsi reported negative experiences, which motivated their parents and LLC staff to intervene and consider alternatives. After much discussion with parents and teachers, it was decided to begin a 7th grade class at LLC for the graduating 6th graders. Since this is a test, prospective graduates don’t know if they’ll follow LLC’s first two graduating classes in Langbinsi or if the current pilot program for 7th graders at LLC will be an option. We are exploring many possibilities, including whether an LLC-based partnership with the Ghana Education Service is feasible. This uncertainty is truly difficult, but our goal is to offer our students the best prospects.

As always, growth means increased expenses. Your support has opened the school doors to full classes of pre-K students for eleven years running. Your donations have helped expand LLC’s facility as more children make the daily walk from their home villages. Your gifts have helped populate their classrooms with learning tools: Montessori materials, early readers in their mother tongue of Mampruli, basics like pencils and papers, a solar powered computer lab, and a library that prepare these students for the future.

Because of your donations, the children’s teachers are trained and bring to their classrooms a high quality learning experience. Successes this year include the doubling our endowment fund, a major expansion that doubles the size of our computer lab, and completion of a building that we now use as a temporary junior high.

We are actively working to expand our revenue base, and have funded these and other projects with grants. However, what actually keeps this school in session, day after day, year after year, are gifts from supporters like you. Your donation will be matched by a grant from the Paul and Ann Milburn Fund of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Your gift will be doubled.

PAMBE Ghana’s numbers speak: 278 students in pre-K through grade 6, three classes of 6th grade graduates totaling 75 students. Each of these numbers is a child whose life we have touched, in a family whose life we have changed, in a community alongside which we work, even though we’re an ocean apart.

Please give this year, and if possible, consider increasing your gift generously. In this place, your money works hard and does great work.

On behalf of the children of La’Angum Learning Center,

Thank you.

Alice Iddi-Gubbels

Did you know?

PAMBE Ghana’s teachers presently earn less than those who serve at Ghanaian Education Service (“GES”) schools and La’Angum Learning Center risks losing Montessori trained teachers to the GES. Thanks to the generosity of the Liddell Foundation and Mother Huggers, PAMBE Ghana will begin to implement its long-time plan of responsibly raising teacher salaries. Please join Mother Huggers by making a tax deductible donation to support increased teacher compensation. Please see more at to see that organization’s good work done locally and internationally

Milburn Grant Funds Upgrades to LLC Computer Lab




Bumboazio is a non-electrified community a few kilometers from Langbinsi in the East Mamprusi District of northern Ghana. This community has a school that was been founded and is managed by PAMBE Ghana, a non-profit organization (NGO).

Jak Solar Technologies, a Solar Business entity based in Tamale, was contracted to expand and rehabilitate the existing solar system in the La’angum Learning Centre. The overall assignment was to

a.) re-design, upgrade, procure and install a 3.2kWp solar system of the school computer laboratory, library and Upper Elementary Block and,

b.) rehabilitate the existing DC system for the Lower Elementary Block.


This was made up of twelve 50-watt panels (600Watt peak) system designed to generate about 3,910KWh in a day, depending on the sun.

This typically was to run 10 laptop computers with a one-day autonomy since it is a school. It also included ten 9-watt bulbs in the computer lab as well as security lighting around the lab.

The school also had three separate 100-Watt DC (Direct Current) for lighting in the class rooms and outside for security.



The new system is design to provide power for up to two projectors, 30 laptop computers, 30 AC (Alternating Current) lighting for the computer lab, library, security lights and for all the classrooms on the Upper Elementary Classroom Block.

Solar Power for the Computer Lab and Lighting

The system is made up of 20 pieces of 50watt peak (total 1kWp) panels and 8 pieces of 275watt peak (total 2.2kWp) of Solar panels. Total installed capacity is 3.2kWP (3200 kilo watt peak). The solar panels are mounted on the roof of the building, at the same tilt angle and orientation as the building facing south.

The 20 pieces of the 50watt peak (1kWp) is connected to a controller and six of the 275watt Peak (1.65kWp) is connected to the Growatt 3kva inverter charger Controller 1, and the remaining two (2) 275watt peak (0.55watt peak) is also connected to Controller 2 above.

This forms a 3.2kWp generator which can produce 19200Kwh of power a day considering maximum sunshine of 6 hours a day.

The Inverter

The battery bank is made up of four number 200ah deep cycle batteries connected in series to form a battery bank. This number of batteries was arrived at considering the fact that most of the load (about 90%) will be run during the day when the sun is still available.

The Battery Bank

The selected inverter is hybrid, Growatt 3kVA storage plus. This allows the client or customer to select which power source should be used first, in terms of Battery, Solar or Grid (where Grid is available).

The inverter is programmed for Solar panel/energy to supply power to the load is first priority, and if the energy from the solar is not sufficient to power all connected load, battery energy will supply power to the load at the same time with the solar panels.


The expected load to connect to the system is 14920wh in a day. Table above are details of the load.

Operations and Maintenance

In comparison with other types of electrical power plants, PV plants require less maintenance. 

The inverters are the most critical components and they tend to be the cause of most major outages in a PV plant. However, inverter technology has improved significantly over the past few years and typical failures, if they occur, often happen during commissioning or very early in the life of the plant and are thus within the warranty period.

Besides scheduled maintenance for inverters, the other activities include periodic washing of the modules and unscheduled maintenance activities, which require minimal staffing.

There are no emissions associated with solar PV systems during operations.


Eight pieces of 255-watt solar PV panels and eight additional 50-watt solar PV panels were procured and added to the existing twelve 50-watt panels. The new system produces about 1,840Wh a day, depending on the availability of the SUN.

  1. The AC System

Each classroom is provided with a socket outlet (15 points in all) to enable the use of a laptop in the classrooms.

  1. The DC System

The three separate 100-Watt solar panels were brought together to supply 20 DC (Direct Current) lighting points for the Lower Elementary Classroom Block.


The system was successfully installed and Is performing within expectations.

As time goes by, Jak Solar Tech is willing to assist with further studies and analysis of the system.

Please find below the resizing reports for the School PV system



We acquired 20 new laptop computers (HP), 20 computer mouses and one complete desktop computer to be used mainly as a teaching aid. I did some research on laptops versus desktops for a computer laboratory, given that the GES ICT curriculum and assessments are based on the desktop. Power consumption was the deciding factor.  A desktop needs 2-3 times the amount needed for a laptop! They also need to be plugged in at all times in order to work. Laptop computers are obviously, more suitable for our solar-powered computer lab.

We now have 26 laptop computers and one desktop in the computer lab. We will donate one of the Toshiba laptops to Unity JHS. With this number of computers, the whole class of 35-40 students can be together for a lesson! 

We also purchased two important pieces of equipment; a Canon photocopier/printer with 4 toners, and an Optiva HIFI Speaker System, with two microphones. 

The photocopier/printer, though much more costly than a printer, it is much more economical for printing and photocopying in the long run. It is easy to operate and requires very little maintenance, and toners are much cheaper than cartridges for photocopying.

Thus, it is more suited for heavy-duty copying in school. 

The only downside is that it only makes black and white copies. Luckily, we have a 3-in-all printer for color printing, scanning and copying, if need be.

Optiva HIFI Speaker System is a Public Address System (PAS) we have needed for a long time in the school. Over the years, we have had to hire an often ineffective one from the community for events in the school. Our new PAS arrived in time to be baptized on our Independence Day celebration on March 6th, 2019!

Additionally, we got 20 chairs for our well-deserving teachers instead of a new projector and screen to replace our very old projector.  


We are very grateful for the support we continue to receive from the Milburns Charitable Fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.  Thank you!

Prepared by

Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels

PAMBE Ghana receives a grant from the Paul Milburn Fund of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation

With the help of Paul and Ann Milburn and others over the years, PAMBE Ghana has recruited and trained a dedicated teaching staff now skilled in child-centered learning methods.  A solar-powered computer lab and a lending library made possible through donations from Canadian and Oklahoma City Rotary Clubs and MotherHuggers add to the rich educational environment of La’Angum Learning Centre students.

A new $30,000 grant from the Paul Milburn Fund of the OCCF will enable PAMBE Ghana to continue to build excellence in academic programs in all grade levels. The generous grant will fund: (1) additional teacher training by Program Director Eric Gumah, who received his education in Montessori methods at the primary and elementary levels in Germany and the United States; (2) library materials and librarian training; and (3) a computer program upgrade including laptops, printers, solar power array and IT staff training. With outstanding teachers, an inviting library and opportunities to learn computer technology, we anticipate that the graduates of La’Angum Learning Centre will have bright futures and ultimately make a difference in their Northern Ghanaian community!

Mother Huggers Puts the ‘Fun’ in Fundraising

Membership based non-profit Mother Huggers headed by Beth Jansen granted PAMBE Ghana $20,000 to support increased teacher compensation at La’Angum Learning Center. Mother Huggers obtained a $5,000 grant from the Liddell Foundation based in Norman, Oklahoma, then named PAMBE Ghana the international recipient of Mother Huggers’ fabulously fun annual bowling  fundraiser, which generated another $15,000 for the Ghana school. The bowling event also raised funds for local non-profits primarily through team registrations, a silent auction and individual contributions. PAMBE Ghana’s Board and volunteers joined the fun with several teams. 


A Teacher's Perspective

Dear Friends of PAMBE Ghana,

As 2017 draws to a close, I thought you might like to read the words of one of the teachers you are supporting at La'angum Learning Center. The teachers tell me that we are not just supporting "a school in Northern Ghana," but an exceptional place where every child is helped to grow to their fullest potential, no matter what their background. It is not only a school for children, but a learning experience for the staff and school community. Thank you for making this possible. 

Tom Temple
PAMBE Ghana Board President


MAJEED SALIFU is my name. I was born on 1st January 1986 in Gambaga. Salifu is my father and Amina is my mother. 

I had my elementary education in a public school by name Zobzia primary school in Gambaga, East Mamprusi District in northern Ghana.  I attended Gambaga Junior High School in 2000. In 2003, I had admission into Nalerigu Senior High School. I completed my secondary school in 2006. Between 2006 and 2007, hunting and traditional herbal medicine was what I engaged in. In 2008, I was employed as a teacher assistant through the National Youth Employment Program. As a teacher assistant, I was receiving an allowance at the end of the month. Though it was not regular, I decided to further my education. I had admission into the University of Cape Coast continuing education program for a three year Diploma in Basic Education.

As the saying goes, many are called but few are chosen. With prayers, hard work and mercy from God, I was able to graduate with a few colleagues in 2013. Before graduating, I attended an interview organized by my current employer (PAMBE GHANA). I was lucky to be selected (based on qualification). I was appointed as a classroom teacher, and I have been a classroom teacher in La'angum Learning Centre (L.L.C.) since 2012.

Compared to the experience I had in my public school days, my presence in L.L.C. has enlightened me more on what teaching really is. Honestly, in those days as a teacher assistant what I needed to do was to make sure that pupils filled their books with notes. With this, an inquisitive parent would think that the teacher had taught his child well. When I delivered lessons, even if only a few understood the lesson, I would go ahead to deliver the next lesson, not at all concerned with those who did not understand the first lesson.

Thanks to God who brought me here to L.L.C, because before I deliver a lesson, I will consider the age, interest, and cognitive development of the group of pupils I am going to present the lesson to. It is here in L.L.C. that I have learned that children can be in the same class but receive different lessons. Before I deliver a lesson, I have to plan considering the objectives of the lesson, putting the child in the center. After delivering a lesson, I observe those pupils who have not understood and plan another lesson for them. I have also learned that children need to be respected just like we adults.

Even though my colleagues in public schools receive more salary than I do, I personally think that salary must be earned irrespective of the amount one receives. Being part of or contributing to shaping a child's future is what is paramount. It is often said that a good name is worth more than silver and gold. It is in the light of these and others not listed that keep me working in L.L.C.

I am happily married to Isma Mahama, and Muslim Sahawabgu Majeed is our three months old son.

Majeed Salifu

Midtown visionary Marva Ellard partners with PAMBE Ghana at The Sieber Apartments

Marva Ellard is a woman with a mission: revitalizing Central Oklahoma City’s aging older buildings. She’s tackled some real challenges, including the Midtown showplace: The Sieber Apartments at 1305 N. Hudson. When she took it on in 2005, the 1920’s-era Sieber Apartment Hotel had been vacant for years and was in poor condition, but she knew it could be brought back to life, and it’s now a complex of 30 apartments and 8 loft-style units. This year, she extended her hospitality to the PAMBE Ghana Global Market, which opened November 9 in the ground floor of the Sieber, in a space some remember as the hotel’s restaurant.

The Global Market, a holiday-season fair-trade market, raises money for an Oklahoma City-based nonprofit organization that supports a pioneering bilingual primary school in rural Ghana. A completely volunteer-run enterprise, it is always housed in donated space, so to have benefactors like Ms. Ellard and her partners come forward is a true boon.

Ellard’s imagination allows her to see potential in unlikely places. She and partner Billy Woodring recently purchased the former Villa Theresa school in Midtown, closed since 2012. They plan to develop the striking former convent into a boutique hotel, with for-sale townhouses and condominiums planned on the site, as well. Steve Lackmeyer, reporting in The Oklahoman September 6 2017, quotes Ellard:  “There were rampant rumors about them wanting to demolish part or all of the Villa Theresa campus. That was not going to be the right thing to do. . . . Those buildings are important to the social fabric of our city and of my neighborhood, Heritage Hills. Keeping them matters.”

This philosophy meshes well with that of PAMBE Ghana, which believes the lives of children in rural Ghana matter, and that they have great potential.

Donate Today

Your Donation Today Will Help PAMBE Ghana Provide:
-- Teacher's salary
-- Children’s health insurance
-- Montessori materials
-- Teacher education

PAMBE Ghana is a 501(c)(3) registered charitable organization.