VARAS, Ghana

Written by Samantha Burton, Photography by Emma Changose

In Ghana women are the ones who travel many kilometres by foot to fetch water, the lifeline of their homes, for their families. These women are strong, courageous and determined. Volunteers for Amelioration of Rural Areas knows this, and they want to help ease their burden a little bit. The non-for-profit was created to help improve the lives of families living in rural areas of Ghana that do not have easy access to water, healthcare, education, and knowledge about their basic human rights.

In Ghana women are the ones who travel many kilometres by foot to fetch water, the lifeline of their homes, for their families.

VARAS was founded in 2007 by Sylvester Atitsogbe and Yehadji Adignon Kokou who both grew up in small rural areas surrounding Ghana. The two both know how hard life can be, and how much needs to be sacrificed just to get by. VARAS wants to close the gap between urban and rural areas in Ghana by providing clean water projects, building schools, and healthcare centres. The organization has extended its wings far beyond its own projects by helping effect change in hospitals, and schools in rural Ghana. VARAS has within the last five years connected with the University of Florida to foster a global community that cares for these people in rural Ghana. Emma Changose’s photos show exactly this type of community. She is an outsider looking in to a bustling community of light, laughter and love. Her photos speak thousands of words on the unbreakable bond of family and the unparalleled sense of community in this district.

About the Photographer: Emma Changose was the PWB photographer chosen to travel to Ghana to document the lives of local women there. She holds a degree in photography from Northern Arizona University and worked as a wedding and portrait photographer in Seattle, in the United States. Emma says she always wanted to mesh her passion for travelling with her photography, so naturally she said yes when the opportunity came knocking.

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