Untold International

Our vision is to collaborate with some of the most underprivileged, under resourced, and underrepresented communities in Ghana to provide literacy education and resources through libraries of primarily African literature, extracurricular literacy education in both English (the official language) and Asante Twi (or other local language), and writing workshops in both languages to facilitate and practice creative and innovative thinking.

We understand that we undertake a responsibility when engaging in international humanitarian work, and have applied the following four core questions to our organization in order to maintain transparency and accountability.

  1. Does Untold International privilege collaboration?
    Absolutely. From the beginning, Untold International has been focused on the idea that Ghanaian plights must be solved by Ghanaian people using Ghanaian solutions. The literacy center at Asisiriwa is designed to be a community space, that, once we have trained a librarian and provided a space for literacy education to take place, will belong 100% to the community. While both founders were born and raised in the United States, the organization and project are firmly rooted in Ghana.
  2. Do donations to Untold International actually go to local communities?
    Yes–almost 100%. We have been privileged and honored to be welcomed into Asisiriwa with open arms, and the community has provided much of the infrastructure we would have needed to cover with overhead, including housing for our founders for the 8-month (or more) duration of their volunteer work. With the exception of airfare, approximately 100% of donations go toward the project, currently the literacy center at Asisiriwa.
  3.  Does Untold International accurately and sensitively represent and advocate on behalf of the communities we represent?
    This question seems strange for us to answer, but we do our best to use our privilege as a nonprofit organization based out of the United States to provide a platform for less privileged voices. Our goal is to “give a blank page to the unheard,” meaning that rather than try to speak for the communities we aim to assist and collaborate with, we want to give them the resources and skills to speak for themselves. This is so central to our mission that we emphasize the importance of providing literacy education and resources in the local language to the communities we seek to serve, as we believe that innovation is easiest and most effective when it doesn’t have to be translated.
  4. Does Untold International work towards justice-oriented structural change?
    The answer to this is unequivocally yes. By partnering with local communities and seeking to collaborate with local leaders like Professor Kofi Agyekum of the University of Ghana, we are coming alongside an already growing movement toward the decolonization of language and education in Africa, and are working toward a more informed, more literate, and more connected African continent–while still recognizing and respecting the differences each tribe, nation, kingdom, and culture has to offer.

If you have more questions about who we are and how we operate, please feel free to contact us.

Founders

Blessed 26Untold International is the product of a collaboration by Brady Blackburn and Kaitlyn Medina, two travelers with hearts for social justice and a shared love of literature.

Pursuing the written word after graduating with degrees in English literature was a high priority for both, but finding a way to do that while at the same time working for sociopolitical change proved quite a challenge. After earning TEFL certificates and working as substitute teachers, they answered a call to open a literary center in rural Ghana, where Brady had studied abroad. Thus, Untold International was founded.

However, Untold International is not about Brady and Kaitlyn. It is about providing resources and education to those who need it most, thereby unlocking the creative and innovative potential of people and communities who may not have had the means to unlock it themselves.

While our story is important to us, it is merely the preface in a larger world of narratives and stories that have yet to be written and have yet to be heard.

To learn more about us, check out our blog.


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