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January 12, 2010 (San Diego)--While living in Encinitas in 2008, Jacqueline Prairie decided to act upon a life-long dream of helping children in Africa.


At 21, long before mobile phones or internet connective, shetraveled to numerous African countries. She later found a career in information technology and education, resolving to bring access to information to the forgotten children in Africa. The thought of "teaching how to fish rather than giving a couple of fish" is the foundation of her dream to help the children.


“Education enables progress,” says Prairie, who left the corporate world, performed a lot of research at a public library, then travelled several times to Ghana. Through a friends of friends, she made connections and traveled to Akwatia, Ghana in early 2009 to secure land to build a center for after school programs. During the visit in Akwatia, she was invited to meet the regional chief, Nana Akwatiahene, at the palace. He talked about his efforts to enable girls to attend school—a very recent accomplishment. Ten years ago, girls did not attend school and in fact today only 1% attend high school. Prairie was stunned to realize that the regional chief shared her vision:


"My wish is to establish a Library for the people of Akwatia so that the full benefits of education in these modern times can be achieved for both personal academic advancement and effective national development." -Chief Akwatiahene in Ghana, Africa


GAIO (Ghana Africa International Operations) was formed as a grass roots non-profit to make this dream a reality. Bridging the world is the catch phrase Jacqueline uses for GAIO. The Akwatia Project goal is to build a modern Communication Center that not only will have 10 computer stations and separate learning sections for children & adults. The center will also serve the community by hosting job skills & health workshops.


Some of the topics planned are "Sustainable Design & Renewable Resources," "Better Ways to Grow Vegetables," "Establishing Micro-Financing," "Creative & Technical Writing," "Arts & Crafts for Market," and "Better Health & Hygiene." GAIO is not only building acenter for learning, the organization is also providing jobs now and training for future employment.


“The foundation has been laid for the 80' X 160' center, but we are in need of funds to continue to build and finish the work that was started,” Prairie told East County Magazine. “The local labor force is ready and able, but we need help to pay for the materials, labor, and ideally solar power to keep continuous electricity to the center.” GAIO's Sustainability Consultant will be also working to incorporate eco friendly & efficient building practices.


GAIO is currently seeking financial sponsors to make this dream a reality to benefit over 9,000 children. The goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of January to continue construction and another $70,000 for completion of the center. The costs are very low for this project but still impossible without help from your contributions and sponsorship. Please give what you can or become a sponsor for the center. Dtails on how to contribute or become a sponsor can be found at The hope is to complete the center prior to the region's festival in March, 2010.

"If you ever thought, gee I would love to help out the less fortunate but did not know what to do. Here is your chance as we are doing all the work and you can simply contribute financially and watch the project grow," said Prairie, now GAIO Project Director.

GAIO will host an event February 25th at 6:30 p.m. to help the community of Akwatia, Ghana—with a special guest appearance by Chief Akwatiahene from Ghana. The GAIO’s Artistic & Cultural fundraiser will be at Fixtures (,) 9340 Downy Dr., San Diego.


Fixtures has indoor demo kitchens featuring international cuisine & a full wrap-around bar; 300 guests will be entertained by the award-winning Ghanaian musician SELASEE, a CD release party, a fashion show of African material in North America styles produced by Blew Print Modeling, local jewelry designers showcasing their newest collections, a live auction with high end items (including Diamond Boutique), an art auction of original photographs of the children of Akwatia, Numerous local companies, artists and artisans have signed up as sponsors. For tickets, please visit:


There’s a second happy ending to this story.


In between reaching her dream of providing the means to learning & education to these forgotten children in Africa, Jacqueline Prairie met the man of her dreams on the first trip to Ghana. They are now engaged and will be making Encinitas the family home. She is currently attending GIA in Carlsbad full time to become a graduate gemologist, working late each night plus weekends to ensure this project is successful. Her intentions after completing school will be to incorporate fair trade into the gem and gold mining industries, much like the current fair trade movement with coffee. This Akwatia project is her first step for the miners children.

"To dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." - John Lennon



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