Our AGM and Reunion lunch was attended by some 36 supporters, and 6 others had paid but were unable to attend. Many others sent in generous donations for which GSA is extremely grateful. We enjoyed the event very much and heard some encouraging reports of work being done in our name in Ghana. Here is the text of the Chairman, Edward Mayne’s Report.
Where has the past year gone? The AGM of 2012, held here at the John Adams Hall, brought together a group of supporters from different backgrounds who have a passion towards giving the children of Ghana opportunities of enjoying a good education. On that occasion we were fortunate enough to have Lord Paul Boateng, who gave his time to address our meeting. Like all of us, Paul shares our enthusiasm for the work we are doing, especially in the Northern and Upper Regions. He is trying to identify a school in the Tamale district which would benefit from our support. Also present was my former colleague Nick Elam who is well-known to our members in that he chaired the Caine Prize for African Literature which in the past has been awarded to Ghanaian writers. Both Paul and Nick emphasised how well-educated a minority of Ghanaians have become and they are enthusiastic over the way we are creating openings for a few more.
As a committee we have been very active with our projects and the one which has recently got off the ground is at the Cambridge-Bethel school in Bethel-Awudome in the Volta Region, and founded by Patience Agbeti. The school is close to the Joe Bedu Primary school at Daffor-Awudome which is supported by Penny Sewell in memory of her late husband. Penny visits Daffor every two years and it was on one of her recent visits that she identified this struggling school. We have had lovely letters from Patience and the development of the project is being closely monitored by Penny. It was last year that we mourned the passing of one of our founder members, Pam Lewis, and following her death, her family set up a memorial fund with the request that it goes towards one of our projects. The committee earmarked the Cambridge-Bethel school and, with the approval of Pam’s family, the funds raised in her memory will be allocated to this school. We are advised that the fund now stands at over £4000.00, which will be used to build an extra classroom.
As a charity, we have always put much emphasis on linking schools in Ghana with those in the U.K. We have continued with our stupport for the link between the Whitstone School at Shepton Mallett and the Otuapemman school at Akropong in the Volta Region. Hopefully the coordinator, Miranda Liardet, is here today to update us on the work being done both in the Volta Region and Somerset. What has been so encouraging in this case has been the mutual benefit of this project with everyone becoming more aware of each other’s needs.
It was around 7 years ago that I took over from Eric Earle as chairman. At the time, GSA was on a firm foundation and was run with great enthusiasmj. Since then we have seen our efforts take root and bear fruits in the Upper Regions. Patrick Heinecke and the Sandema Project is just one example and, more recently, we have supportd Jo Hallett with her Let’s Read Project. The way we work in conjunction with the Wuluga Projects shows that two charities can get together to work for the good of a large community, developing their skills in the Upper Regions. These are areas crying out for help, yet sadly neglected by the authorities. The British Airways School, now expanding even more, has been kept going due to our assistance, and the David Bradshaw memorial block is where 60 pupils are getting a good schooling. Exciting days lie ahead.
I could go on for a long time reporting on our activities over the year, but will refrain from doing so because everything is recorded on our website and this afternoon you can be updated on our current projects. In addition, our next newsletter should be be available in the autumn.
At last year’s AGM our long-serving treasurer and founder member Stanley Anthony announced that he would like to relinquish his duties before long. He added that he is not planning to give up immediately, but we feel now is the time to recruit a willing volunteer. I am advised that the work is not too onerous, especially as modern technology has taken over most of the book-keeping work. So I am appealing to you to think about this duty and please let Stanley or me know if you feel able to assist.
The GSA committee has supported me very well since we last met and I would like to express my appreciation to all of them for all they have done over the year. We hold our meetings every 3 months and there are rarely any apologies for absence, such is the enthusiasm for our work. My reports in recent years have ended with quotes by Clement Atlee, Nelson Mandela and – more recently – Martin Luther King, and they were all related to the importance of education in the lives of the world’s citizens. This time I want to quote from an address given by Sir Stafford Cripps. While addressing pupils at Moncton Combe School in 1948, Sir Stafford said, “A gread deal of confusion in our minds comes from our lack of knowledge. We cannot judge what is right unless we know what the consequences of our actions are likely to be on others. That knowledge we can only gain by education and experience. Education is, or ought to be, designed to make us intelligent and understanding citizens of our country and the world, able to judge what is right or wrong. This can only be achieved through sensible schooling.”
Thank you all for your support for GSA.