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A childhood studies student who spent 10 days teaching youngsters in Ghanaian orphanages and schools has described her "amazing" experiences in the West African country.

Students from Sheffield Hallam University went to Ghana to support the development of its early years' provision, working in orphanages whilst lecturers took a leading part in conferences to shape the future of early years provision in the country.

Ashleigh Cannon, a second-year childhood studies student from Saffron Walden, Essex, said she would never forget her experiences.

She said: "The trip to Ghana was the most amazing experience of my life. It opened my eyes to other cultures that are not as fortunate as us and also allowed us to help these people.

"The school I was placed in was a very poor school with no resources for the children. We took lots of books and toys and to begin with we had to demonstrate to the children how the toys should be played with as they did not know what to do with them.

"The children in the school were so happy and loved us being there and we miss them so much."

Other students who took part in the trip include Zara Isaac, from Manchester, and Lucy Owens, from Solihull.

The trip, the second time Sheffield Hallam has collaborated with the British Council in Ghana, began with a two-day conference on Early Childhood Development and Education entitled, Building a Learning Community.

Early years academic Pam Torry and Jonathan Wainwright, a lecturer in leadership and management, delivered the conference in Accra.

They worked with officials from the Ministry of Women and Children (MOWAC) and the director of the National Nursery Teacher Training Centre to develop the conference.

They were joined this time by two Ghanaians. Dr Vanessa Tetteh, a freelance consultant and researcher, attended the previous conference.

Since then she has been awarded a British Academy grant and spent two months at Sheffield Hallam researching literacy.

Gladys Amaning, director of the Metro Centre for Children in Kumasi, spoke on parental participation.

Pam said: "We were thrilled that Vanessa and Gladys joined the team of speakers. It was always our aim to involve Ghanaians as part of our commitment to developing genuine partnership."

For press information contact: Laurie Harvey on 0114 225 2621 or email For press opportunities in Africa, please contact Diana Yanney at the British Council in Accra on +233 30 2610094.