Brothers and Sisters in Community Serving (BASICS) International is a non-profit community-based intervention program that seeks to promote literacy, economic empowerment, health, and social inclusion. Since 2020, BASICS International has made significant changes to the Chorkor community. The program now serves up to 1,000 children per year across all levels of education in Ghana.
Patricia Wilkins is the CEO of BASICS International. She is an American who followed her passion to Africa to do humanitarian work. With her team of staff and volunteers, Patricia works to ensure the educational and holistic development of children living in poverty.
Patricia had a successful career in the fashion industry in America. When she felt strongly to help the needy, she quit her well-paid job and left the United States to pursue her calling. “I just felt God speaking to me, telling me just do this full time, this is what you are supposed to do”, said 57 years old Wilkins. She has dedicated 22 years of her life to helping people come out of poverty.
In Chorkor, Nana’s House is where BASICS International is located. It is a happy home where children are enrolled in the program and get access to the financial assistance they require to be in school. Wilkins started with only four children in the early 2000s. Today, BASICS International has grown into an entire organisation. Children in the BASICS program have access to mentorship, counselling, technology camps, and study support. They also develop creative skill sets which include reading, coding, singing, dancing, playing chess, and drumming. According to Wilkins, these skill sets are important to help children to remain focused on their education.
Chorkor is a densely populated local community where fishing is the dominant economic activity. The community is faced with water, sanitation, and hygiene issues. Most often, children are found roaming the streets, fishing, or selling in the local markets — depriving them of access to quality education and a prosperous future. Apart from crime rates being high, teenage pregnancy is also an issue in Chorkor.
BASICS is also home to Hedzole, a social enterprise designed to give economic freedom to mothers from around the community and girls who, for various reasons, dropped out of the program. Hedzole is headed by Bintu Baka, a beneficiary of the BASICS program. Hedzole makes handmade eco-friendly products such as tote bags, bedspreads, shopping bags, and curtains for sale. The profit-sharing arrangement allows women to make incomes comparable to teachers and bankers in Ghana.
BASICS International is using education as a strategic tool to help combat poverty in Chorkor. Auntie Patricia, as the children affectionately call her, is giving the children of Chorkor love and access to opportunities they could only dream of.
Information from https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/basics-international-ghana/ was used in this story