Florida Students Help Their New Friends at La’Angum Learning Center

One tenet of the Montessori methodology of education - that working together fosters independence – was vividly demonstrated when more than 200 bicycles were delivered to the La’Angum Learning Center (LLC) in remote northern Ghana.

The project grew out of a pen pal relationship between the students at LLC and those of the community Montessori by the Sea in Saint Pete Beach, Florida. The Florida-based students learned that the 250 LLC children in Kindergarten through 6th grade have to walk long distances from their homes in scattered villages to attend school every day, and that having access to bicycles could make a big impact on the daily lives of these new friends. The students of Montessori by the Sea were inspired to help, and together with one of their teachers, Ellen Selvidge, began planning to purchase bicycles for their pen pals.

In Spring 2022 Ellen and her husband Logan Gelsie, on behalf of the Montessori by the Sea community, started raising funds via the GoFundMe platform to purchase bicycles, resulting in over $6,600 generated by the Florida school community and friends.

Armed with the funds, Ellen and Logan travelled to LLC this summer to support LLC teachers and to facilitate purchase of the bicycles, their distribution to the community, and training children and teachers in their use and maintenance.

The arrival of Ellen, Logan and the bicycles was met with great fanfare by LLC students and parents because access to a bicycle is transformative in the lives of the LLC students. Children with access to bicycles greatly reduce their commute time and spend more time on their education. Many of these children aspire to go on to high school and potentially, a university program. The commute time particularly impacts the girls attending LLC, who are expected to help with domestic chores, which often involve collecting and hauling water from local wells. Having transportation creates time for learning and opportunity.

One local student, who has great difficulty walking independently, persuaded the team distributing bicycles that he should receive one – and quickly learned to ride, gaining a new measure of control over his day-to-day activities and greatly increasing his ability to travel to and from LLC. Working together truly does foster independence.

On behalf of LLC, please join us in thanking all those who participated in the fundraiser, and Ellen and Logan. If you are inspired to join the bicycle project, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-pambe-bike-project 


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