Okurase

(oh-krah-see)

in  the  Twi language, translates literally as "Village"

The small village of Okurase, Ghana, like many villages in Africa is struggling for survival in today's global economy.  Its base of small family agriculture, artisanal craftsmanship, wood and drum carving is threatened. There is no sustainable infrastructure for clean water, sanitation or even consistent electrical power.  The opportunity for education is limited and there is no medical clinic or services. Malaria, water-borne parasites, bacteria and highly treatable diseases are taking their toll.  The rich cultural traditions, arts and family-based ways are threatened and struggling for survival.


Project Okurase, a non-governmental organization and formal charity based in Ghana, is helping the residents build new green, sustainable infrastructure and a model village center that will provide a family-based, non-institutional environment for orphaned children,  a medical clinic, schools and on-the-job vocational training for village residents. The  octogenarian matriarch chief donated 10 acres of  land known as the soul of the village and graduate students and professors from Clemson University Architectural School designed, pro bono, a model African village center that local residents are building themselves using local materials and manual labor. 


The name is the "Nkabom Centre", meaning ‘coming together’.  The Clemson engineering department built and in conjunction with the Medical University of South Carolina sent four  hand operated machines that compress earthen bricks two at a time.  Using local sand, cement and water carried to the site by women on head pans, the villagers have made over 60,000 bricks. They have cleared the land, dug and poured the foundations by hand and the walls of the vocational training building are beginning to rise.  But there is much more to do and financial resources are stretched.


Solar power, wells, water filtration and treatment, sanitation using compost toilets need to be installed. The medical center, schools and homes for foster families are next to be constructed.  Okurase needs help funding and acquiring materials to build this center that will sustain the Okurase village cultural traditions and become a model for other villages in Ghana and all of Africa.


Project Okurase NGO in Ghana was established through the help of Gethsemani Circle of Friends a nonprofit charity based in Charleston, South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ghana based Nkabom Artist and Craftspeople Association.  There is much more to learn and understand about this wonderful project.  That is where Bybee Vineyards and you come in.  Gerald Bybee and Dr. Mary Sanders, Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford Medical School have undertaken the production of  documentary imagery for use by the NGO in fund raising, outreach, education and public relations.  Over the next years Gerald will be creating a body of still and HD video documentary imagery as a San Francisco Academy of Art University MFA thesis project.  The first image series of Okurase: Portrait of a Village will open as a gallery exhibit of 25 -20x30"  archival canvas pigment prints and become part of the permanent collection of the Medical University of South Carolina.


We hope you will join us and other members of our global village in donating your support to Project Okurase.







Gerald Bybee,

CEO, Bybee Studios & Marketing,

Bybee Vineyards & Habitat


 

Site, and all images ©2009 Gerald Bybee

 

In the U.S. 100% of your donations less the PayPal transaction fees  are granted directly to benefit Project Okurase through fiscal sponsorship  by Gethsemani Circle of Friends, a 501 (3) (c) Charitable Organization.  Checks may be made to Project Okurase and sent in care of :


Bybee Vineyards & Habitat

9499 Mill Station Road

Sebastopol CA. 95472

Nkabom Vocational Center October, 2011

Photo: Nana Ama  Yeboah 2011

Photo: Nana Ama  Yeboah 2011