Rapper Lil Jon focuses efforts on education in Ghana with second school

Rapper Lil Jon behind the scenes of Making with Michaels at Stage THIS in Sun Valley, California.  (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for The Michaels Companies)

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Rapper Lil Jon behind the scenes of Making with Michaels at Stage THIS in Sun Valley, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for The Michaels Companies)

Atlanta rapper and philanthropist Lil Jon is building  a second school in Ghana.

The Mafi Atitekpo DA Primary School will have space for 313 students.

“From the beginning the goal was to always open two schools,” Lil Jon said in response to emailed questions. “We wanted to get he first school completed, up and running, before we got going on the second school.”

The award-winning artist partnered with the nonprofit Pencils of Promise on both projects.

Lil Jon is known for hits like Get Low”, with the East Side Boyz, and “Yeah” with Usher and Ludacris.

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Lil Jon (second from left), his wife, Nicole and son, Slade (far right)  in Ghana.

Lil Jon (second from left), his wife, Nicole and son, Slade (far right)  in Ghana.

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Lil Jon (second from left), his wife, Nicole and son, Slade (far right)  in Ghana.

To help raise money for the first school  in Abomayaw, which opened last year , he asked friends and fans to donate to the project in lieu of birthdays gifts. He has donated $70,000 for both schools.

The first school in rural Ghana was built in honor of his late mother, Carrie M. Smith, and has an enrollment of  244 students.

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“When my family and I went to Ghana the first time I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “ It was literally life changing. A lot of these communities have schools with shabby roofs and no walls...I saw classes being taught under a mango tree in brutal heat. I was so happy to help build this school because it doesn’t only effect the kids who’ll learn there, but the entire surrounding community.”

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Ribbon cutting ceremony at a school in Ghana, which Lil Jon helped build.

Education is a big priority in the west African nation, but there are several challenges the government and nonprofits face in  improving schools, particularly in rural areas.

“ Building these schools, and giving these kids an environment where learning can flourish is the best feeling,” Lil Jon said.

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He plans to challenge other rappers to do more to help others.

“ Rappers blow so much money on frivolous things sometimes and I think we can take some of that [otherwise thrown away money], and use it for some good in communities,” he said.

“My heart took me to Africa, but it doesn’t matter where you help, just as long as you do somewhere. “