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New Yorker Redesigns Her Life To Help Kids In Ghana

It’s afternoon, and in a spacious courtyard in Accra, Ghana, children sit at tables and talk to adult mentors. Pat Wilkins, a youthful 52-year-old, firmly asks what they’ve been learning in school. She peers seriously at them through her glasses. And then “Aunty Pat” — as the kids call her — cracks a smile.

It’s this blend of discipline and nurturing that’s the foundation of BASICS, a nonprofit organization Wilkins started in 2001 that aims to change lives by guiding low-income children through school and preparing them for skilled jobs.

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