I’m delighted to announce that the latest edition of our Newsletter has been dispatched to our supporters and also posted on the Newsletters page on this website. It makes heart-warming reading.
We can raise money for GSA when shopping.
Ghana School Aid is registered with the on-line shopping fundraiser Give as you Live. There are two ways to raise funds through Give as you Live. First, you need to register with Give as you Live (www.giveasyoulive.com) . This will cost you nothing.
The first method for fund-raising while you shop is for you to log on to the GiveasyouLive website, you can then access one of the contributing merchants, eg. Tesco, M&S, Ocado, Aviva insurance, EasyJet, Europcar, Hotter shoes, the RSPB shop and many, many more, and a small percentage of what you spend goes to GSA. Whenever you wish to purchase something online, it is worth checking if you can do so via the GiveasyouLive website.
The second method is to purchase in-store shopping cards from Give as you Live. The cards are sent to you and can be reloaded at will. For example, if you buy a £100 shopping card for Tesco, you will raise £2.00, for M&S £3.00 and for John Lewis/Waitrose, £1.50. When you go to the store, you simply pay using your Give as you Live card for that store.
As you can see, a community of GSA supporters all contributing in either of those ways, could provide a useful small income stream for us. “Many a mickle makes a muckle!”
Please do have a look at Give as you Live if you use the internet and whether or not you do, please consider recommending it to friends and family who might be interested.
The committee held its meeting via Zoom as coronavirus restrictions meant it was not possible to meet in person. We were very pleased with the way Zoom worked, especially as one of our representatives in Ghana was able to attend!
We decided to use Zoom to conduct our AGM at 2pm (British time) on 25th June this year, and I am contacting all our supporters with that information. We hope to have a really good “attendance”! Since the AGM is open to the general public, if you would like to join it, please contact me via our website and I will send you the link nearer the time.
Among the topics discussed at our meeting were fundraising, the imminent publication of our Newsletter, reports from school in receipt of grants. We noted that the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the transfer of some of the funds already granted, but we understand the transfers will soon take place.
Although we had cancelled the March application window, for technical reasons three outstanding grant applications were discussed at our meeting, and I am pleased to announce approval of grants to Enyankwaa D/A Primary School; Hiakose Abodease RC Basic School; and Chief Nimpadu Ntiamoah Memorial School, Endwa.
The next application window will be 1st to 31st October, with the theme SANITATION, and the first 2021 window will be 1st to 31st March, with the theme CLASSROOM FURNITURE.
One of our representatives in Ghana has sent us this very good report of the current situation in Ghana. He has kindly given us permission to post it on our website.
The Fight Against Covid 19 in Ghana
The first two cases of Covid 19 were reported in Ghana on March 12, 2020. The initial reported cases were from travelers from Turkey and Norway. Since then, the Government has been introducing measures to control and prevent spread of coronavirus.
All Educational Institutions, both Public and Private, were closed, indefinitely from 16th March 2020. Two weeks later some additional measures were introduced. These include, restrictive movement in the hotspots of the outbreak, quarantine of passengers from countries where more than 200 cases have been reported, testing of all travelers at point of entry, and eventually closure of country’s borders, and ban on air flights.
As at 11 April 2020 a total of 37,954 persons have been tested for Covid 19, with 556 being positive, 4 treated and discharged and 8 dead.
An Emergency Legislation on Imposition of Restrictions Bill has been passed to help aid the enforcement of President’s directives. The President has been addressing the country each week. He delivered the 6th address on Easter Friday, April 10, 2020. In addition, a Special Team provides daily update and press briefing.
Greater Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi Metropolitan areas were totally Lockdown from March 30, 2020. There is a ban on public gatherings in churches, mosques, social centres, beaches, festivals and funerals.
Shops are closed, except those selling food items. There are restrictions in movement of people from one district to another.
Isolation Centres have been established in all Regional and District hospitals. Frontline Staff, including Medical, Police, Military, others providing essential services are provided with PPE, other protective clothing/materials depending on degree of contact with people.
Noguchi Medical Research Centre at Legon is the National Laboratory for testing and confirmation of cases. A team has been established in all Regions to undertake contact tracing of persons who arrived in Ghana from abroad from 3rd March 2020; and those who have come into contact with persons who have been tested positive.
Fumigation exercises have been carried out in major markets throughout the country and it has been extended to Tertiary Educational Institutions.
PROVISION OF FUNDS AND INCENTIVES FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID19
The Government has introduced some incentives, aimed at ameliorating the hardship of the citizenry, following the introduction of Lockdown and restrictions in movement. These include: 1. Free bus transport, meals, 50 percent increase in monthly salary, for frontline personnel; 2. Absorption of Water Bills and 50 per cent reduction in Electricity Bills for March, April and May 2020 for all citizens.
In addition, the Government has allocated funds to District Assemblies to support combat against the coronavirus.
Institutions, Organizations, companies and individuals have also been making contributions in cash and in kind to support government’s efforts in fighting against the spread and prevention of coronavirus.
A National Committee has been established to receive and manage all such donations and contributions.
Some street children, market head porters and some vulnerable persons in lockdown areas, have been provided with free temporary accommodation and meals. Free meals on wheels, tanker water supplies are being provided by government and private organisations and distributed to people living in slum areas in the cities and some remote districts.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR CONTINUATION OF LEARNING AND EDUCATION
Following the closure of all schools, measures have been introduced with a view to ensuring continuity of learning and education.
The University Institutions are using online facilities for studies and contacts
Senior High Schools, Junior High Schools and Primary Schools are provided with scheduled learning programmes from designated Television Stations.
School Certificate Examinations, WASSCE for SHS and BECE for JHS final year students have been suspended.
CHALLENGES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID 19
As part of the measures against the spread of covid 19 the Government has directed strict adoption and enforcement of WHO Protocols in Ghana.
A major challenge has been enforcement of practicing, social distancing and hand washing.
Some cultural practices (e.g, shaking of hands, funerals), housing facilities, open markets, transport facilities and poverty, combine to make it difficult in enforcing social distancing, lockdown, and restrictions in movements.
In the area of education, lack of facilities in remote villages for Television, and Internet connectivity, will mitigate against availability and equal access to learning resources being provided for virtual and distance learning during the emergency period.
The country’s resources may not be able to cope with rapid increase in demand for Medical Care, if the covid 19 spread to proportions as being experienced in Europe and USA.
Poor living conditions and abject poverty in some parts of the country will make life difficult for vulnerable people during the enforcement of the restrictions against the spread of covid 19.
Under the circumstances the Government and the people of Ghana are making the best efforts against the spread and prevention of covid19.
Kofi Ohene, GSA Ghana Representative
April 13, 2020
We allocated grants totaling over £18,000, the maximum we could manage, given our limited resources. It was extremely difficult to decide which schools, out of the 60 which applied to us, should receive our support. In the end we decided that responding positively to the more modest requests allowed us to impact the most students, and spread resources more evenly. I am delighted to list here the schools which will benefit this time round:
Kanvilli Tawfikya; Tibung Teachers’ Quarters; Kalpohin Kalmaria; Nyanpkala UDS Basic School; Hamile T I Primary School; Kenyasi No. 2; Kwaboanta JHS; Owabi D/A Primary School; Akrodie R/C Primary School; Akrodie M/A Basic School; Gwira Eshlem Methodist Basic School; Adukrom Asuogya MA Basic School; Asene Nuriyah Islamic Basic School; Kwabenakrom MA Basic School; Asene Catholic Primary and KG School; Nsowkow Presby Primary A School; Edumanu MA Primary School; Jema DA JHS; Babiledoure L/A Primary School; Krabonso Methodist JHS.
STOP PRESS: Because our resources are so limited and the demand is so great, we are regretfully CANCELLING the next window (15th Feb to 31st March 2020). It will be replaced by a new window 1st to 31st October 2020, theme to be decided in May.
Our AGM is scheduled for Thursday 25th June, 11am in the crypt of St. Mary’s Church, Islington, London.
Given that the next window for applications is in October, we only had some feedback documents and some follow-up requests to consider. The following is a summary of the discussion and I plan to add pictures at the end of the list.
Kpachelo E/A Primary School (Northern Region) wrote to thank us for a grant towards the replacement of the KG block; Asin-Asamankese T.I. Ahmadiya Basic School (Central Region) had sent pictures of KG furniture purchased with their grant; Dokiyikrom D/A Basic School, Brong-Ahafo was made a supplementary grant for building materials; Techimantia R.I. Ahmadiya Basic School, Brong-Ahafo was awarded an additional grant towards doors and windows for their new building; Sumaman SHS is being helped to obtain laboratory equipment; Kanvilli-Tawfikiya JHS (Northern Region) had sent pictures of ongoing construction of a classroom block; Yiloaayili Anglican Primary School (Northern Region) had also sent pictures; Tibung JHS (Northern Region) sent pictures of Teachers’ Quarters under construction; King’s Academy (Eastern Region) is working on a new classroom block; Asikaso D/A Basic School (Eastern Region) reported on the purchase of furniture and was awarded an additional grant for more furniture; Kenyasi No 1 RC Basic School, Brong-Ahafo sent pictures of roofing and furniture; Dumso-Bethel Primary School, Brong-Ahafo also sent pictures of furniture; Komoso M/A Primary School, Brong-Ahafo had spent their grant on furniture.
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.