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What's the Deal With These Symbols?



We're endlessly fascinated by Adinkra symbols. These are interesting visuals that represent concepts or original thoughts. The symbols are believed to originate in Cote d'Ivorie. According to an Ashanti legend, Adinkra was the name of a king of the Gyaman kingdom, Nana Kofi Adinkra. In Ghana, you see these symbols everywhere - on batik fabric, woodcarvings, pottery, even on the plastic chairs that we are seated in when we visit the homes of our Ghanaian friends. The Rising Village logo is an Adinkra symbol: Ananse Ntontan, which represents creativity and wisdom. We're often finding ourselves in need of a little more of both, so we chose this symbol as a constant reminder that we need to continue seeking and cultivating both of these in our lives.

Last month, the students in our Education program in Ankaase spent some time studying these symbols during their after-school mentoring session. They learned more about each one, and then chose their favorite to create a piece of artwork. Two things we love about this: they learned more about their own culture and the rich history of the Akan people. In the Ashanti region of Ghana, the Akan people have a proud heritage and it's important for children to understand and share this pride. We also love that each symbol they chose is a word they can carry with them: faith, trust, support, hope, transformation. These are life-affirming words that we hope each one of these students experience through the mentoring that goes on between the Ghana team and the children. Every day, our team in Ankaase pours themselves into these kids, many of whom have little foundation or support system at home. It is tiring work, so we hold them up as much as possible through prayer and resourcing, but they are the ones doing the difficult, but fulfilling work with these children.

We'll be introducing each child's sponsor to the Adinkra symbol their student chose, and the encouraging our sponsors to incorporate that symbol into their home as a way to continue the connection with their student.

If you're interested in learning more about the symbols, check out this website for the visuals and meanings. We'd love to know which is your favorite, so send us a comment and let us know which symbol has special meaning for you!

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