2019 AGM and Annual Reunion

We spent a very enjoyable day on 13th June in the Crypt of St Mary’s Church, Islington.  The morning was spent reviewing our activities for the past year.  Secretary Jo Hallett provided us with a two-page document itemizing 29 Ghana school which had received grants between February and September 2018.  The list was impressive, and the feedback always grateful and emphasizing the difference the grant had made to the operation of the school.  Our main source of income has been some generous legacies left to us by people whose professional lives had taken them to Ghana, a country which remains dear to our hearts for all sorts of reasons.  Full accounts were scrutinized and will be posted on our website. The committee was reelected nem con.   I reproduce below the text of the Chairman’s report.

“Welcome to everyone and thank you for turning up today for this AGM and Reunion Lunch.  This is the fourth time we have met here and the venue is proving to be popular.  A huge thank you to Penny Sewell for the effort she has made to organise this occasion so well.

Ghana School Aid has had a good year and reports coming out of Ghana indicate that the nation is coping well and making progress in the education programmes.  Of course all is not perfect but, from the evidence available, the situation is improving.  With regard to Ghana School Aid, we continue to support projects in the North with emphasis on girls.  We have been helped by the increase in donations from our supporters.  In addition,our up-to-date website has enabled would-be contributors to gather information on what we actually do and I have been hugely encouraged by the way that our bank balance has grown and we have considerably increased our giving.  The response from our recipients has been phenomenal and most encouraging.  We received a generous legacy for nearly £10,000 from Sheila Mercer and a similar amount from the estate of Elizabeth Bennett.  Generous donations from the estate of John Hampshire and £5,000 from Karola Strong.  One surprise came in the form of a cheque from St James’s Place Charitable Foundation for £2,500 to go to Asuadei Basic School in Brong-Ahafo.  Full details of our finances appear in our Newsletter.  We actually received nearly £41,000 in one year to March 2019 which is amazing considering our annual totals in the past were around the lower four figure mark.  In the 12 months up to March 2019 we were able to give away almost £43,000.  This is fantastic and we have received numerous letters of thanks from grateful schools.

Looking back over the year, it is easy to see why and how we have made so much progress and this is thanks to the efficient way Penny Sewell and Jo Hallett have kept our website up-to-date.  All this, plus our Newsletter produced so professionally by Jennifer MacDougall.  Our website gives a clear indication of what we have achieved and what are our aims.  Our Newsletter and website have provided the public with a shop window which comprehensively details our achievements.

I cannot conclude without further expressing the importance of a good education and many of the Ghanaians who have been helped by Ghana School Aid are very grateful and we have provided them with a lift out of poverty.  In Ghana poverty and the breakdown of family life have secondary effects.  Too many children wander about the streets because they have no schools to go to, or nor money for them to go to school, or no parents at home to see that they go to school, because both parents (if there be two) have to work to keep the family alive. This so often leads to a breakdown in moral standards. This is a mounting problem. It is hoped that Ghana’s recently found wealth from oil will go some way to easing the burden of the poor and lift them out of poverty. It was Clement Attlee who said that if we can educate our people we will eliminate poverty nd sickness. Our small contribution to education in Ghana does not go far, but it is of vital assistance for those whom we are targeting.  We must go on.”

After a very pleasant lunch, with lots of old friends catching up on news, we reconvened to hear three very interesting presentations.  Sarah Albebourle recounted how she had been to Lawra as a volunteer and had come to realise how best to help people in the region.  With help of her family she has founded a charity called ACTION THROUGH ENTERPRISE with three aims:  to provide school dinners;  to improve the lot of the disabled;  to mentor and support people as they start small businesses.  We were all extremely impressed with Sarah’s activities.  Then Jane Scott gave us an update on the WULUGU project which seems to go from strength to strength, and finally Sadia Hussain described her three-month stay in Ghana, volunteering in both the North and in the Volta Region.  We were delighted to hear all three reports.  Here are some pictures of the meeting.  Apologies to Jane, whose photo somehow vanished from my phone.

A view of the 2019 AGM.  Ted Mayne standing left.

Sarah Albeboure at the AGM

Sadia Hussain at the AGM, Jo Hallett in the background.

Grants awarded April 2019

At the GSA committee meeting in April, the following schools were awarded grants totalling £9230.00.

Kalpohin Kamaria School, Northern Region;  Akosa D/A Basic School, Brong Ahafo;  Aperade Methodist Primary School, Eastern Region;  Asikaso D/A Basic School, Eastern Region;  Kenyasi No 1 R.C. Basic School;  Dumso Bethel Primary School;  Kumoso M/A Primary School, Asunefo S;  New Hope Educational Development, Berekuso;  Asunu No. 2 Catholic Primary School and JHS;  Asanteman L/A Primary School;  Batabi Presbyterian School;  Aboabo L/A Basic School;  Sandema (FISTRAD project on reading for JHS students)

THIRTY-THIRD REUNION LUNCH AND AGM

Our 2019 reunion will be held in the crypt of Saint Mary’s Church, Upper Street, Islington, N1 2TX on THURSDAY 13TH JUNE, at 11am.   St Mary’s is mid-way between ANGEL tube station, and HIGHBURY & ISLINGTON tube station and overground railway station.

After coffee at 11am, we will be starting with the AGM at 11.30am, followed by lunch at 1pm and tea later in the afternoon.  The charge for attendance will be £32 per head.  If you would like to add to that sum a donation to GSA, that would be particularly welcomed.

To register by Friday 7th June please contact me and I will send you the requisite form to fill in.

Penny Sewell, 020 8444 5758, pennymsewell@gmail.com

 

Reception at St. James’ Palace, October 2018

Our Chairman, Ted Mayne, represented GSA at a reception at St. James’ Palace.  He writes the following report:

I received a pilot email from St James’s Palace asking if I would accept an invitation to a reception being hosted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to prior to their official visit to Ghana in November 2018.  This came somewhat as a surprise and it transpired that my name had been put forward by Paul Boateng who was actively involved in the visit.  Apparently Paul Boateng was asked to nominate a selection of people who were actively involved in charity work in Ghana.  I was one of a few names submitted by Paul in recognition of the work done by Ghana School Aid.  I gladly accepted but felt this was undeserved because there were so many members of GSA who were more deserving.  I attended the reception and it was a pleasure to meet so many like minded persons who had a passion for Ghana.  I was pleased that there are so many small charities which are so actively involved.  The Prince of Wales had clearly done his home work and Ghana School Aid was a charity he had researched and we spoke briefly about his earlier involvement in Achimota.  He was disappointed that he would not be visiting the school this time.  He had been there some years before.  I enjoyed the occasion and met up with a number of old contacts.  I left feeling that we had been recognised as a worthwhile charity which has been given Royal Approval and as an organisation we should be encouraged to continue the good work.  I must record my appreciation to the committee for helping to put GSA on the map.

princeof wales

January 2019 Grants Awarded

At our GSA committee meeting on 17th January, we awarded grants totaling £11,245 to the following eleven schools:  Kanvilli-Tawfikiya JHS;  Yilonaayili Anglican Primary School;  Tibung JHS, Northern Region;  King’s Academy, Eastern Region;  Kpachelo E/A Primary School, Nanton, Northern Region;  Karbo Primary School, UWR (towards the EducATE project there;  Asin Asamankese T.I Ahmadiyya Basic School, Central Region;  Dokykrom D/A Basic School, Brong Ahafo;  Aboagyaa-Nkwante AME Zion Basic School, Brong-Ahafo;  Sumaman SHS, Brong Ahafo;  Techimantia T.I. Ahmadiyya Basic School, Brong-Ahafo.

We still have six applications which will wait until our next meeting in April.

We will expect further applications, focusing on water and sanitation, during the next “window” 1st October to 15th November.

Grants awarded September 2018

In September we awarded grants totaling £13.700 to the following fourteen schools.  Hartley Trust Foundation School;  Sandema Project (UER);  Kings Academy, Etwereso;  Atwedie (Kenyasi No. 3) D/A Primary and JH School;  Kenyasi No 2 Methodist Primary School;  Esinianim No 2 D/A Basic School;  Asunsu No 2 Catholic Primary and JH School;  Asanteman L/A Primary School;  Wassa-Nkonya D/A Basic School;  Akim-Batabi Presbyterian School;  Aboabo L/A Basic School;  Suponso-Onamabi Basic School;  Offinso State A Primary School;  Kwaboanta D/A JH School.

The next window for applications will be 1st October to 15th November 2019 for projects involving water and sanitation.

“WINDOWS” FOR GRANT APPLICATIONS

In order to enable us to properly assess the great numbers of good grant applications we are receiving, we are introducing specific periods during which we will accept applications.  We are very sorry, but we will not accept applications outside these “windows”.  The next “windows” are as follows

  • 1st October to 15th November 2019  – water and sanitation projects
  • 15th February to 31st March 2020  – no theme decided on at present

Those who regularly consult our website will notice that the 1st October to 15th November 2018 window has been removed.  We are very sorry about this, but it is our only way of addressing the large number of applications we have received.  We have some 15 applications in hand that we have not yet been able to consider, and these will be addressed in January 2019.

We have decided to adopt a themed approach.  For certain windows we ask for applications that only fall into a particular category.  We are restricting the October to November 2019 window to projects involving water and sanitation.  Ideas for future themes include “teaching resources” and “sports facilities”.

Please also bear in mind our priorities:  education in the Northern regions of Ghana, and the education of girls.