Nichols Hills market sells artisan trade gifts benefiting education in Ghana 

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Oklahoma-based PAMBE Ghana Partnership for Mother-Tongue Based Bilingual Education has worked to build educational infrastructure for a rural village in Northern Ghana since 2006.

PAMBE Ghana’s holiday Global Market gives shoppers a chance to buy ethically produced fair trade items while supporting La’Angum Learning Center in Ghana. All the items sold are fair trade, meaning they were purchased directly from the artisans or through the Fair Trade Federation, which has stringent standards for companies that distribute fair trade goods and requires them to pay artisans a fair price and assist with development and marketing.

PAMBE Ghana Global Market represents the organization’s ability to create and encourage collaboration without borders.

PAMBE Ghana participates in many pop-up events and festivals, but the market is the education organization’s largest fundraiser.

Executive director Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels said the Oklahoma City branch of the organization represents this dedication.

“Here, there is a strong community,” she said. “This whole thing is volunteers.”

Iddi-Gubbels is from Ghana and began her education there.

“Education is the key; it opens so many doors and windows,” she said.

She said it was always her dream to go back and provide education opportunities for children, specifically in rural areas.

Iddi-Gubbels came to Oklahoma City to earn her master’s degree in education and receive Montessori training at Oklahoma City University. Friends and parents of her students at Westminster School helped bring her dream of providing education in Ghana to fruition.

Iddi-Gubbels said they could help her create the framework for the nonprofit “because it is hard to build an organization in the name of ‘Alice.’”

In 2007, Iddi-Gubbels returned to Ghana to plan the school. which the  community came together and built it brick by brick. The first class contained just 40 students.

Today, 266 students attend the school, and each neighborhood comes to a consensus about which children will attend.

“[The community] really considers it their school,” Iddi-Gubbels said.

Over the past eight years, the village has added one room to the school per year. Iddi-Gubbels said the community chose the school name, La’Angum Learning Center. She said it means, “Together, we are stronger.”

Community members grow vegetables for student lunches, and PAMBE Ghana supplements any other food needed. For many of the children attending La’Angum, lunch there might be their only meal.

Iddi-Gubbels manages the school in Ghana, which also employs 15 teachers, and returns to the U.S. for the yearly market fundraiser.

La’Angum Learning Center and the Global Market represent the spirit of community collaboration.

“This really is a partnership and is really an effort by so many people,” Iddi-Gubbels said. “La’Angum really sums it up.”

Global Market, a small donated storefront at 6516 N. Olie Ave. in Nichols Hills, is adorned with prayer flags.

The market is open noon-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays and Fridays-Saturdays and noon-7 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 24.

Visit pambeghana.org.

Print headline: Global gifts, PAMBE Ghana Global Market offers fair trade gifts and benefits education in Ghana.

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