By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – Due to the coronavirus pandemic, PAMBE Ghana, a partnership with local communities in northern Ghana and its United States-based board of directors, is taking their annual Global Market online with the support of their loyal customer and friend Leslie Batchelor.
Batchelor, a local attorney, offered space adjacent to her law office for an inventory warehouse and sales office.
The Global Market was founded in 2008 to raise awareness of PAMBE Ghana’s La’Angum Learning Center (LLC), and Fair Trade.
The La’Angum Learning Center provides pre-school through sixth grade for children in rural northern Ghana. The Center’s founder, Alice Iddi-Gubbels, first came to Oklahoma City in 2000 with her husband, Peter, who worked at World Neighbors.
“Once it became clear that PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market would have to change course from its traditional storefront model, we put our heads together and agreed that the Market must continue,” said Tom Ziebell, PAMBE Ghana’s board president.
“Profits from sales provide crucial funding for our elementary school,” Ziebell added.
The name PAMBE Ghana stands for “Partnership for Mother Tongue-based Bilingual Education.”
Alice earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Oklahoma City University, as well as certification in Montessori Teaching. While teaching at Westminster School in Oklahoma City she dreamed of starting a Montessori school for children in her village in northern Ghana.
The La’Angum Learning Center enrolls 275 children in pre-K through grade 6 each year.
“PAMBE Ghana is excited at this new community partnership, which enables us to start a new adventure in online marketing,” said Jane Wheeler, PAMBE Ghana board member.
Leslie and her dad, Dan Batchelor, agreed that PAMBE Ghana could use vacant space in their building at the Center For Economic Development Law. Leslie, president of The Center, has been a regular customer at the Market, which has operated seasonally since its opening.
“I have shopped at the Global Market most years when I’m looking for unique and special gifts,” Leslie said, “I like that I can be doing good by supporting artists working in their communities for a fair wage and supporting LLC (La’Angum Learning Center) at the same time. Elementary education and the arts are basic building blocks for communities wherever they are.”
The new online Global Market offers fair trade items purchased from around the world, made by artisans who are paid a living wage for their work. New items are being added weekly and will continue through December.
Since its founding, Oklahoma City friends embraced Alice’s PAMBE Ghana vision and began the fair trade Global Market to support her goals.
“I want to make a contribution to my native community,” said Alice. “It contributed to who I am now, and I want to give back in a way that will have a significant impact.”
The La’Angum Learning Center has flourished through partnerships with local villages in Ghana, friends and supporters in Oklahoma City and Canada, and now with the help of Leslie Batchelor and her dad.
To browse Global Market items and place an order, or for more information, visit pambeghana.org. Currently orders are available for pick- up only at The Learning Tree, 7638 N. Western, in Oklahoma City.