First day in Ghana, Judy & Barbara find a boy in a Skidmore T-shirt!
Co-founders Barbara Tsairis and Judy Willsey and a group of their Skidmore ’71 classmates used the occasion of their 35th reunion in 2006 to reengage their class with its activist tradition. Recalling that their college experience was as much influenced by world events as classroom learning and that their “class” included not only those who paid tuition, but also those so tragically killed at Kent State and Jackson State Universities and the 58,000 soldiers fallen in Vietnam, they promoted the idea that the class could build something positive on the shoulders of these “classmates” whose promise was lost too soon. They urged their classmates to “redeem their promise” and act as global citizens using the privilege of their education to work for social justice, human rights, and the alleviation of poverty. They called for the creation of a “world class” in which all are enrolled by their common humanity.
Guest speaker Susan Kraeger, then executive director of WomensTrust, a small microlending organization operating in Ghana, challenged the class to establish a program of its own there. World Class was launched in the fall of 2006. The town of Amasaman was “adopted” in February, 2007 and the first loans were made in March.
An organization open to all: Although originated by Skidmore alumnae, World Class is open to all who share its mission of providing access to credit, clean water, and sanitation to the women and children of “greater Amasaman.”
Members, not just donors: World Class refers to its donors as “members.” This appellation reflects the dedication and sense of “ownership” and participation which members feel about the organization. Its US operations are “no frills” and the organization is run entirely on a volunteer basis. In addition to financial assistance, many members have contributed ideas, time, and expertise of various kinds. After a period of operation as an affiliate of the WomensTrust in Ghana, World Class has become an independent entity. It is incorporated in New Hampshire and is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization. World Class is also incorporated in Ghana and has made application for NGO (non-governmental organization) status there. In 2012, World Class divested itself of its loan portfolio and focused its efforts entirely on the drilling of wells and the construction of latrines.
Accomplishments: As a microlender World Class helped assist over 300 women with some 550 loans. We have drilled 4 wells serving 3 communities and one school. In 2009, we completed a composting latrine for Doblo Gonno. In 2014, flush latrines were completed in the communities of Amasaman and Sapeiman. Our next project is a latrine for the village of Chintu which will feature a new sustainable technology-the microflush toilet system.
Redeeming their promise…: World Class’s logo incorporates the West African adinkra symbol which means “life transformation.” Join this World Class effort to provide credit, clean water, and sanitation for the women and children of greater Amasaman and make real the symbol’s promise!
© 2015 World Class - Ghana, Inc.
Creating World Class