In recent decades, the economic development in Ghana could not keep up with the rapid growth in populati-on. The reasons for this are primarily due to immigration from neighboring countries (as a result of civil war, political unrest and poor economic conditions), their own population growth, and especially the lack of investors forming new jobs. Despite a pretty stable democracy for African standards and some economic successes, this development means that a large part of the population must get by without a permanent job. The result is that often the whole family is mobilized to maintain the income and the children of the poorest families can not go to school, even though Ghana has invested heavily in school education and infrastructure in recent years. One focus of these programs was to construct school buildings in rural areas, where schooling still took place under the open sky. In the metropolis of Accra , however, the education campaign had little impact on the situation of the underprivileged children.
In 1972/73, Kaspar Heer, co-founder of the foundation, was employed in Accra as a Production Manager at the Overseas Breweries Ltd. (Graduate Brewmaster) where he met his wife Valerie. The two have been mar-ried since 1973 and are closely connected with the people and culture of Ghana. In 1998, Valerie and Kaspar Heer started sponsoring young underprivileged children and youth in Ghana with private funds to help them out of poverty. These sponsorships enabled a good education and holistic care and support for these children and youth until their independence.
As a result, they founded the ZOE - Children in Need Foundation in 2004 in Switzerland extending their per-sonal committment to allow other interested people and organizations to support underprivileged adole-scents and children.
The purpose of the Foundation is to alleviate the poverty of street children, orphans and generally underprivileged children and youth. It includes ensuring a reasonable standard of living, access to medical care, the chance for a useful education, protection from exploitation and violence and the right to determine their own future.
The Foundation supports Swiss and international institutions that accept these children and youth regardless of their religious origins, and accompanies them with directed advice and assistance. The Foundation can also organize projects and be responsible to manage them.
The ethical foundations of thought and action are based on Christian principles.
ZOE - Children in Need is an authenticated public charitable foundation according to Swiss law and is under the control of the Federal Supervisory Board for Foundations. The Foundation is exempt from cantonal and federal taxes. Donations may be deducted in accordance with cantonal tax regulations.
3. Our Projects
3.1. Our project in Ghana : ZOE International School
In 2006, the ZOE - Children in Need Foundation could take over a school that was threatened with closure in Accra, Ghana’s capital,. The school was to be a beacon of light in the poor urban area, because it was to provide opportunities for a better future due to a solid education. Direct contact with parents or family mem-bers convinced them to send their children to the school. For the poorest, schooling and meals are free. In cases of real hardship, children and their families are both supported. In addition to receiving a good educa-tion, the children are trained in character, conduct, discipline and the awareness of personal and environ-mental hygiene. All of these factors are differentiators to the public schools which are over-crowded, and despite the initiation of governmental education measures, are still relatively poorly equipped in the conti-nuously growing metropolis of Accra.
From the beginning, our objective was to direct the " Zoe International School " project to be independent from the Foundation, ie. to make it self-financing but still comply with the Foundation's goal whereby 30 - 40 % of the children are carried by means of scholarships and sponsorships.
In order to maintain school operations, the disrepaired buildings needed to be immediately reconstructed for safety reasons.
Some buildings needed to be completely demolished and rebuilt. The construction of new school buildings was necessary to allow a regulated school system and to expand the capacity to max. 500 school children for the following classes.
• Chreche 2 – 3 Jahre
• Nursery 1 + 2 2 Jahre
• Kindergarten 1 + 2 2 Jahre
• Primarklassen 1. – 6. Klasse
• Junior High School 7. – 9. Klasse
The ZOE International School employs 40 staff.
With the takeover of the school by the ZOE - Children in Need Foundation in 2006, two two-storey and a single-storey school building have been built with a total of 18 class rooms, 1 hall, 1 library, 1 IT room, 1 staff room and 2 offices for the school board. Additionally, new seperate toilets for boys and girls were built.
One existing one-storey building was renovated and rebuilt and now constitutes the kitchen with dining hall.
The population took notice of the continual improvements. This led to the number of pupils, which had de-clined in the interim period to 70 students, to increase steadily. For the school start in September 2013, 420 students were registered. These consist of 300 paying students and 120 students who do not pay school fees, which corresponds to a ratio of 29% supported students. In addition to the improved infrastructure, the results of the West African State Exam of the graduating class, which are published, have had much influence on the rising popularity of the school. Since the reorientation, the success rates of these tests for the students of our school were at 100 % !
For the development of the buildings, infrastructure and surroundings, the Foundation has invested approxi-mately CHF 600'000.– to date. The annual labor costs for the 39 employees at the school are at present around CHF 104'000.–.
To date, 100 underprivileged youth have graduated from Junior High thereby leaving the ZOE school. Their further education paths will take them to Senior High School and with this diploma to another school (pos-sibly university) or else to a polytechnical school where they can learn a profession with a degree as construction/carpenter, electrician, ladies or men's tailor, hairdresser for ladies or a diploma in a school of nursing.
For these youth, the ZOE school is still their accompanying partner and link to the Foundation ZOE - Child-ren in Need. In addition, regular contact with the family or family members of the youth is important to constantly monitor the economic situation. Responsible for this task is the school board together with Mrs. Valerie Heer who is on the Board of Trustees and is the on-site Project Manager.
With an annual, moderate tuition adjustment, it is a realistic goal that in 2016 the operating costs of the ZOE school will be self-funding yet still comply with the objectives of the foundation.
As can be seen in the photo documentation, the existing building shell for four classrooms, the IT room and staff room must still be completed.
The estimated investment costs for the classrooms, IT and staff room : CHF 36'000.–
The estimated investment costs for the expansion of the cafeteria (Basis 2013): CHF 20'000.–
Impressions and development since 2006
2006 2007 2010
2011 2011 2011
November 2014 November 2014 November 2014
Kindergarten November 2014 Valerie Heer, responsible for the ZOE School Main entrance ZOE School November 2014
Mr. Nortey, Admimistrator of the ZOE School
Would you like to support a child over a longer period of time? Then you have the opportunity to take on a sponsorship. For CHF 450.– per year you can finance a needy child’s clothing, food and education.
Why should you partner with the "ZOE Children in Need " Foundation?
The founders of the Foundation, Valerie and Kaspar Heer know the people, the economic situation and the culture of the country. Valerie Heer is a dual citizen of Ghana / Switzerland and was born in Ghana. Kaspar Heer has been closely connected to Ghana professionally and socially since 1972.
The school is managed by Valerie Heer herself, so the use of all funds are secured efficiently and effectively.
100% of your donation reaches the needy children and adolescents. The Foundation incurs very small admi-nistrative expenses. Your donation can also be used for a specific project and its help will be immediately noticeable for those involved.
Our partners are always welcome to visit us in Accra to see and experience the impact their contribution has made.
All board members including Valerie Heer, who manages the project on-site, work unsalaried - in fact they are also donating partners to the Foundation.
We need you as a partner to help in the future of children in need. There is still a lot to do - why don’t you accompany us a part of the way? We would be pleased to contact you in the next few weeks.
If you have any questions or would like a presention of our work, we would be happy to help you.
We thank you in advance for your support
Chairman of the Board
You can reach us under the following address:
ZOE – Kinder in Not
Husmattstrasse 6CH-6277 Lieli
Mobile: +41 76 762 89 48
Raiffeisenbank Oberseetal, Freiherrenweg 2, CH-6274 Eschenbach
ZOE – Kinder in Not
IBAN/Konto-Nr.: CH68 8118 7000 0078 7737 9
We thank you in advance for your support.