This is Nico...

The mission of KPK is changing lives, here and in Ghana. Nico Ray is a junior at Prosper High School and he traveled to Ghana last month with KPK. This is his story...

"About a year ago my biggest worry was not how to make the world a better place but how to make my place in the world. I knew there were kids living in remote parts of the globe that had to endure through extreme poverty, hunger, and abuse, but it wasn’t something I thought about everyday- I mean, who wants to dwell on that? I figured that one day when I had the money I could do something to help them, but then I heard of a group of 5th graders that decided to do something right NOW, and they completely rocked my world. 

This group had not only the want to help these kids, they had a craving. Within months this class of 5th graders, hearing about children who are being trafficked in Ghana, Africa, had created a non-profit, planned a primary school, met with dozens of business professionals (themselves!), and secured the land to build a school to educate vulnerable and previously trafficked kids. They called themselves Kids Prosper Kids. I was in absolute awe, and still am of all they’ve accomplished. 

I decided to run a feature on them for my High School's news network, and it was there that we met and came to the mutual agreement I could go to Ghana with them to make a documentary. I went hoping to show people in America how terrible these kids lives were and how much we could help make them better. Within two days of being in Ghana my mindset completely changed. Each day I would get my camera ready and wait for something to happen, while the children we were going to see would play all day or go to school. It was in this waiting that I realized everything I had thought about these kids lives was incredibly different than the reality. They were safe. They were happy. They felt loved. There’s no way I could twist the story into a sad one without breaking the truth, and my ethics. So I changed the direction of the documentary.

Each day I filmed the kids playing and enjoying life; I interviewed kids who had been forced to work on Lake Volta. They had been beaten. They had been starved. They had watched their friends drown at the hand of their masters. They had almost drowned themselves. They talked of how horrible their life was, used to be, and how much better it is now that they’ve been given a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and education for their mind. Almost every single person, adult and child, I interviewed stressed one major point. Education is success. Without an education they cannot get a job. Without it, they cannot provide food for themselves, or sustain a family. Without it, the cycle of poverty will continue for decades, centuries even. Education IS success. This is what I decided to stress. 

In America, children complain about the education system. How it ‘doesn’t prepare them for real life’ and how it’s ‘rigged to make you fail’. In Ghana, they praise our education system. Why wouldn’t they? Education is legally provided to every citizen up until 12th grade. There, you have to be from a family that makes a steady and large income to be able to go to school and get the level of schooling we get. Kids Prosper Kids will be changing the entire region where they are building the school by offering vulnerable children quality education families can afford. 

The hardest part about any trip is returning. Returning from a cruise, or a beach, or a mountain leaves you yearning for more. With that, you know that if you come back to the mountain it’s still going to be there. That beach is probably just going to get bigger, and that cruise? They offer the same one every year. Coming back from Ghana after visiting a place where kids were being rescued from a life of despair and poverty and given a future is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The looks in their eyes, them not knowing if I would ever return, and I not knowing if they would be there if I did broke my heart. I went thinking I would be going once and would film my documentary and be done with Ghana, but now I realize after experiencing something that powerful, and that hopeful, that it’s impossible to go once, and I know that I can never be done with Ghana as long as I’m doing something." #ownit #kidsprosperkids #dosomething #nextgendoer