It has been a busy and very challenging year with record income and expenditure. We have taken on several new projects, and demands for funding continue to increase. According to official statistics provided by the Ghanaian Education Authorities, there are 18,655 junior and secondary schools in Ghana. We have helped just over 100 of them. This is a clear sign as to what a huge task we have: our contributions have been a mere drop in the ocean, but to the 100+ fortunate schools, our efforts have meant such a lot. We must go on.
By now you should have received your copy of our Newsletter which gave prominence to our long-standing founder member and treasurer, Stanley Anthony, who sadly died last year. Stanley was passionate about the achievements of Ghana School Aid and he remained an active supporter right to the end. He leaves a huge gap which will never be filled. Full details of Stanley’s life are included in the special obituaries in the Newsletter as well as on our website. Sadly, two others of our long-standing members also died during 2017, namely David Heaton and John Urquhart Burn. Both David and John gave generously over the years and they will be missed at our annual reunions.
Indira Ghandi, in an address to the people of India in 1974, stated that women’s education is almost more important than the education of boys and men. She added, “I do not mean in India, but all the world, and women’s education seems to have been neglected in so many countries.’ We at Ghana School Aid are concentrating our efforts on women, particularly in rural areas. If Ghana is to become what we want it to become, with a modern, rational society and firmly based on what is good in their ancient traditions, and in the soil, Ghana needs a thinking public, thinking young women who are not content to accept what comes from any part of the world but are willing to listen to it, to analyse it and to decide if it is to be accepted or whether it is to be rejected – and this is the sort of education Ghana wants, which enables its young people in this changing world to be able to contribute to it. So we continue with the hope that all of Ghana will be aware that no job is out of reach of those with a good education.
Some people think that only by taking up very high jobs, you are doing something important or you are doing a national service. But we all know that the most complex machinery will be ineffective if one small screw is not working as it should, and that screw is just as important as any big part. It is the same in national life. There is no job that is too small, there is no person who is too small. Everybody has something to do. And if he or she does it well, then the country will run well.
In our superstition, we have thought that some work is dirty work. For instance, housework has been regarded as lowly. Only some people can do it, others should not do it. Now take the example of manure: we find that manure is one of the most valuable things that the world has today and many of the world’s economies are shaking because there is not enough fertilizer – and not just chemical fertilizer but ordinary manure and all those sorts of things which were considered dirty. Now we see how beautifully balanced the world was, with everything fitting in with something else. Everything, whether dirty or small, has a purpose and every person is important.
‘There is no job that is too small; there is no person who is too small.’
So I hope that all of us who have this great advantage of education will not only do whatever work we can, keeping Ghana’s interests in view, but will make our own contribution to creating peace and harmony, and bringing beauty and success to the lives of our people and Ghana. I think this is the special responsibility of the women in Ghana. We want to do a great deal for the country, but we have never regarded Ghana as isolated from the rest of the world. What we want to do is to make a better world. So we have to see and analyse Ghana’s problems in the perspective of the larger world problems.
Last year I announced that I was considering relinquishing my position as chairman and I took the opportunity to ask for a volunteer replacement. To date, no-one has come forward. So I am using this opportunity to make another appeal. For my part, I will willingly be available to see through the installation of any successor. I must add that every member of the executive committee has been magnificent throughout the year and this has made my duties much less demanding. So I end by thanking everyone, especially Penny Sewell for organising today, Jo Hallett for her coordination efforts, Nigel Dennis for being such a useful treasurer and Jennifer MacDougall for producing our Newsletter. thank you everyone.
Ted Mayne, Chairman.