Thirty enthusiastic people attended our Thirtieth Anniversary Reunion. The Chairman’s address is reproduced below. We also heard reports from the Hon. Sec., the Hon. Treasurer (the 2015-16 accounts are available on this website), and the Hon. website administrator. The existing committee was re-elected, nem con. Carluccio’s provided a good lunch, and the afternoon was devoted to short presentations about projects we support in Ghana. A specially-iced anniversary cake was duly cut and enjoyed. We also held a raffle and a mini-auction for pieces of lovely kente cloth. Thank you to everyone who made the occasion such a positive one. We were especially pleased to welcome three delegates from the Ghana High Commission.
Lunch in progress
Mary Owusu and Patrick Heinecke
This time last year, when we met up for our annual gathering, there were doubts as to whether the meeting would proceed. This was because of a train strike which clashed with our meeting. Fortunately this industrial action was called off at the very last minute. This year we were faced with an even bigger problem because the charity Redr who had made their premises available for this occasion, suddenly cancelled our booking (without telling us! Ed.). This meant we had just three weeks to find an alternative venue. This explains why we are assembled here today.
Once again we have had an eventful year. We welcomed William Spooner on to our committee, and he has brought our average age down a little, and we are lucky to have someone with fresh ideas. I have said before that we always welcome new committee members: the door is always open.
Our latest newsletter gives detailed accounts of most of our projects. The website is forever being updated and all of our activities are displayed there. We receive numerous enquiries from log-ins on to our website and our activities are reaching more and more enquirers searching for assistance. Earlier this year I was fortunate to spend most of January in South Africa. There I witnessed a country striving to improve. I became aware of the nation’s desire for education whether it be in rural schools, township centres or the universities. Many reports on South Africa are negative, but I did see a positive side with the students there striving to achieve. The quote from Nelson Mandela that “EDUCATION IS THE DOOR TO FREEDOM” rings clearly. Ghana is very similar, especially as half the populations of the two countries is under 21. South Africans are doing what they can and Ghana the same.
Every time I settle down to prepare my annual report, I realise how active we have all been since our previous gathering. This year, my address will be slightly shorter because most of our projects have been given a high profile in our newsletter. This is thanks to Jennifer MacDougall who has put together another splendid publication which nicely illustrates what we have achieved. The newsletter comes as we celebrate 30 years of Ghana School Aid. Since back in 1986, when the charity was born, we have come a long way and we have been blessed by an influx of enthusiastic supporters, many of whom joined our committee.
As a charity, we shall continue to concentrate on our projects in the North – a much neglected area. We are very active in the Upper Regions which we shall never neglect. The North has been an issue which governments have neglected since the colonial days. In his book, “My Africa”, Frank Ward, a former head of Achimota College, wrote:
Schools were very few. But the government had at length decided that education must be brought to the North. It had opened three or four government primary schools, with a technical school at Tamale; and it had given grants to the handful of Catholic mission schools near the northern frontier. To push ahead with these developments, it created the post of Superintendent of Education, to which it had appointed a most capable man named Candler, a former Anglican missionary with long experience of the country.
Sadly this has not changed, but our efforts continue.
One milestone we have recently passed is the money we have raised, which exceeds £250,000 over the 30 years. This may not seem much these days, but I can report that it has made a difference and the committee will continue with the same degree of enthusiasm which was there in 1986. Thank you all for your support.
Ted Mayne, Chairman