Our 2022 reunion will be held in the crypt of Saint Mary’s Church, Upper Street. Islington, London, N1 2TX. After coffee at 11am, we will be starting with the AGM at 11.30, followed by lunch at 1pm and tea later in the afternoon. During the afternoon we hope to have talks as usual by members who have recently visited Ghana. If you would like to give an update on a Ghana school project you have links with, please contact me to book a 10-minute slot. A projector and screen will be provided. The charge for attendance will be £35 per head. If you would like to add to that sum a donation to GSA, that would be particularly welcomed. Please contact me by email by Monday 6th June at the latest if you would like to attend. We plan to establish a Zoom link, for which there will be no charge, but we will need your email address in advance.
Your committee has met recently and was able to discuss our finances. They are healthy but would not be able to satisfy the great demand coming from Ghanaian schools. Regretfully, we cannot therefore open any windows for applications. Instead we rely on personal recommendation, particularly through our representatives in Ghana. The following schools have sent us heartening feedback (photos to follow shortly): Aperade SHS; Aruofa DA BasicSchool; Diasibe AME Zion Primary School; Walewale Technical College; Kyekywere Basic School.
We were able to allocate grants to the following: Hia Community Library; Kyekywere Basic School; Manhyia Basic School; Ahwerase Presbyterian Primary School. Those were follow-up grant to enable completion of a project. The four new grants were for: Gbanjon AME Zion Primary School; Kanvilli Presbyterian JHS; Gung AME Zion Primary School; Zugu Dabogni Technical Institute. We look forward to receiving feedback from those institutions in due course.
There are so few registrations for the AGM that the committee has decided to cancel the venue and hold the meeting as a hybrid, using ZOOM. The plan is for the committee to meet in person and all other participants join via ZOOM at 2pm British Summer Time on Thursday 16th June 2022. If you haven’t already done so, please email either Penny Sewell or [email protected] to ensure that you will receive the link.
This means a considerable loss of income for GSA as the AGM and Reunion Lunch are traditionally a fund-raising event. Please consider making a donation to GSA. You can do easily by using the link provided elsewhere on this website. Thank you very much in advance.
At last, the Ken Strong washroom at Tamale School has been completed and is now in service. The pictures and texts speak for themselves.
Report from Baako to Ghana School Aid of the commissioning of the Ken Strong Girls Washroom at TAMASCO
It is a great pleasure for me to inform you that the Ken Strong Washroom built at Tamasco was successfully commissioned today. Both the teaching staff and the students especially the girls, thronged around the ultra-modern toilet facility built for them in memory of Ken Strong to witness the ceremony. Also present were the media personnel who covered the proceedings in both English and the local language (Dagbani) to broadcast on radio and television. The radio station present was Radio Tamale and two TV stations, they are the Sagani TV and the GTV.
After I delivered my speech and handed over the keys on behalf of the Strong family, to the Headmaster Rev Eddy Azeka, on his part expressed gratitude to the Strong family and the Ghana school Aid. He explained how lack of the washroom was a worry to the girls in the past and they had to be moving faraway to free themselves but now that they have this built for them will surely improve their well-being. He advised them on the proper way to use the facility- what to do and what not to do.
The Girls Prefect on behalf of her colleagues thanked the Ken Strong family and GSA and assured us that they will put the facility to good use and make sure they maintain it well.
On my part when asked what I have to tell the beneficiaries, I replied that I urge them keep the facility well for their own use and for the use of generation to come after they have completed and left.
A lot of photographs were taken and all the girls were happily rushing in with smiles when it came to moving in to inspect the facility.
In all it was very successful not only for Tamasco but also for the Ken Strong family and Ghana School Aid. It is my hope that Karola and Claire will derive pleasure from the successful completion of this great project for the target group.
We closed when it was a few minutes to midday.
THE OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY AND COMMISSIONINGOF THE KEN STRONG WASHROOM
My name is Alhassan Salifu Baako. I am the representative of Ghana School Aid in the north of Ghana.
I would like to tell you a bit about the history of this building.
Ken Strong, from the UK, was a teacher at this school in the 50’s and 60’s. During his five years here, he developed a deep love for the school and for Tamale.
His passion was to impart knowledge and skill to the young people he taught.
Ken died some years ago, but in 2019, his widow, Karola, and his daughter, Claire, gave a significant donation to Ghana School Aid to be used for the benefit of this school.
The headteacher at that time identified an urgent need for a girls’ washroom in this location.
Plans were drawn up, and builders were brought in.
There have been a number of hurdles on the way, but now we are looking at this excellent facility designed to improve the health, wellbeing and good spirits of the girls living at the school. The donors are very impressed by the photos they have seen and are delighted that the washroom is now completed.
Ghana School Aid wishes to thank all the people who have worked so hard to bring this project to fruition.In particular, the Headteacher, Rev. Eddy Azeka and his senior staff team, who have monitored the project and expedited the work as it progressed.
On behalf of Karola and Claire Strong and of Ghana School Aid, it gives me great pleasure to declare the Ken Strong Girls’ Washroom officially commissioned and open.
1925 – 23/12/2021.Eric was a founder member of Ghana School Aid. He had been an Education Officer in Ghana from 1952 to 1961, I quote from a tribute to him by his dear friends Kofi and Floria Ohene.
“Mr Eric Earle was the Secretary at the London Institute of Education when I was a graduate student there 1985 to 1987, under a British Government Scholarship. Eric invited me to his office in 1986 and shared with me his previous work in Ghana as an Education Officer in Cape Coast, Ho and Accra, during the latter part of the colonial period. He disclosed his continued interest in Ghana and the concern of his and other colonial service colleagues about the post-colonial developments in Ghana, particularly on Education and the intention to raise funds to support Ghana schools in poor communities. Eric’s love and interest in Ghana, his initiatives and good works led to the establishment of Ghana School Aid (GSA) in 1986.
Mr Eric Earle, my good friend and mentor, as we bid farewell we know that you have played your part by offering a lifetime of service to education and contributing to the growth and development of schools in Ghana. We will miss your friendship, good humour, humility, and desire to support the under privileged schools and society.”
The funeral service was well-attended. Eric’s four children were there, as well as his many grand-children. Wonderful tributes were read out, hymns were sung, blessings given. A good number of GSA committee members were at the funeral, but not Ted Mayne, our former chairman, as he had had a nasty fall and was hospitalised for a couple of days. We were all very impressed by the way the funeral was organised and by what we learned of the life of this outstanding Irishman, so full of energy and goodwill, an inexhaustible fount of knowledge about education and people in Ghana. We will truly miss him, and owe it to him to maintain his legacy to the best of our ability.
Here are pictures of the church service and the Committee members who attended the funeral:
Lalage was also in her nineties, a most energetic, clear-minded and observant woman. She was appointed Professor of Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Glasgow. was awarded an OBE and no fewer than six honorary doctorates. She came to most of our Annual General Meetings and maintained wonderful support for GSA. She contributed much wisdom to our proceedings and, like Eric, will be sorely missed. Here is a summary of her professional life, written by a former colleague of hers:
Adult educator: advocate for the right for access to education, women’s literacy and decolonisation Emeritus Professor Lalage Bown, OBE died in Shrewsbury hospital on 17 December 2021, aged 94, following a fall at home. An eminent women’s literacy advocate, she dedicated her life’s work to improving education for the disadvantaged, especially women, seeking to bring university opportunities to the widest possible sections of society.
Lalage was emersed in a tradition which regarded adult education as a catalyst for significant social change. Her ideas were informed by a post-war world in which many believed that the kind of injustices suffered under colonial rule had to end. But, beyond this, in her radical way, she also saw the need to develop new inclusive, post-colonial approaches to education, including the reform of university curricula. She devoted her life to this mission, inspiring and challenging all she met- professionals and learners- across many countries in Africa and Europe. (…)
After her studies, Lalage applied in 1949 for a resident tutor post based at the Department of Extra-Mural Studies of University College of the Gold Coast (subsequently Ghana). As an African colleague said, she chose to serve overseas, leaving behind the comfort and serenity of her environment for the more challenging terrain of Africa. During her interview, she was asked “Now Miss Bown, supposing you were to get the job and you were in the jungle in a car and your car broke down, how do we know you wouldn’t have a fit of hysterics?’’ She simply replied, “Well sir, if you don’t give me the job, you’ll never find out, will you?” She was given the job. (…) At just 22, Lalage travelled via Senegal to Ghana where she became involved in teaching African literature and arts and helped to create the first African folk high school.
Over a period of 30 years in Africa she became the first field resident tutor in the Extra-Mural Department at Makerere University College in Uganda, and held various positions at the University of Ibadan and Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, the University of Zambia and the University of Lagos. In Zambia.
Professor Lalage Bown was an outstanding communicator: she wrote, edited or contributed to around 26 books and monographs plus around 86 articles. In her leisure time she enjoyed travel, reading and entertaining friends. She was living proof of the adage “If you never stop learning, you never grow old.” One colleague said if he were to highlight one special characteristic of Lalage’s among so many, it would be her open, friendly, and collaborative attitude to working with other people. He adds that she was not self-seeking or competitive but enjoyed bringing out the best in others- she was interested in and valued every contribution, yet if she disagreed with you, she would let you know in a straight way. (…) In the words of one of her African colleagues, Lalage was a trail blazer in the global Adult Education movement. Her commitment to, and insight about, democratic adult education was unbounded. She succeeded in giving Adult and Continuing Education a recognised profile as a major field of education policy in Europe, Africa and beyond.
24 people attended our zoom meeting, some far afield. We discussed feedback from schools, our finances, heard some reports from people recently back from Ghana and from Kofi Ohene, one of our representatives in Ghana. After a long service to GSA as Chairman, Ted Mayne is stepping down, becoming vice chair to the new chair, William Spooner. We expressed gratitude to Ted and a warm welcome to William. Ted’s final chair’s report is reproduced below, as is an extract from our hon. sec. Jo Hallett’s report.
Chairman’s Annual Report 2020-2021:
Every year about this time when I settle down to do my annual report, I ask myself “Where has the past year gone?” Time certainly flies, especially as we get older. That said, in spite of the speedy passing of time, for us the year has been both productive and enjoyable. Thanks to Zoom we have had our quarterly meetings and the pandemic has not dampened our enthusiasm or hindered our activities. However, we all hope that we shall be able to meet up in person before too long.
When I commented on the speed the years leave us behind, I am reminded of the year 2007, when I took over the chairman’s duties from Eric Earle, who is now in his mid-nineties, and the only surviving member of the original committee. Eric still takes a keen interest in our activities and I visit him regularly. He retains a fountain of knowledge going back to the Gold Coast days. Sadly, his dear wife Auriol died earlier this year and a tribute is included in our latest bulletin.
For some time I have been considering my future with Ghana School Aid. I have been a committee member for 25 years and Chairman for 14. I was fortunate to be able to work closely with Eric Earle. When he relinquished his Chairman’s duties in 2007, I immediately took over and have held the position ever since. For me, the time and effort has been all pleasure. I have discussed my future with the committee, who have agreed I can step down with effect from this meeting. We are very fortunate in that we have William Spooner on our committee who is willing to take over. William and his family have close connections with Ghana and he is just the person to introduce new ideas. Fortunately, he has youth on his side.
Our recent newsletter includes reports on our latest projects and we have provided funds to build a number of much needed toilet blocks in a selection of rural schools. I am happy to say that, thanks to increased funding, we have given away more funds than in the past. Some of the projects have been quite ambitious and fortunately we have our Ghanaian members who are carefully monitoring our efforts. Here I pay tribute to Kofi Ohene, Alhassan Baako and Patrick Nyanteh. Our website is frequently updated, which means that our activities are there for all to see.
As I said, our work is well documented on our website and this becoming our main source of income. This is encouraging, but it does give our treasurer plenty to do. Jo Hallett has been a marvellous secretary and Penny Sewell keeps our website up-to-date. Jennifer MacDougall, once more, has produced an excellent bulletin. These are just a few whose efforts ensure that the operation is well oiled. The Charity Commission are pleased with the way we operate and nearly all our income goes into our projects. Very little goes towards expenses and all of us give much of our free time. This I know will continue. The charity is in good hands. For me, my involvement has been all pleasure and I shall support our new chairman as he takes over the reins.
I close by sending thanks to all those involved and I know that Ghana School Aid will flourish in the years ahead. Bless you all.
Ted Mayne Outgoing Chairman
Extract from our secretary’s report:
In the year 2021 -2021, we were able to give grants to 23 schools or projects, nearly all for toilets and sanitation, as this has been our focus for the past two years. During the “application window” of October 2019, we had 62 applications; in October 2020 we had over 70 more. It is clear that the need is very great; I have been sent photos of some dreadful facilities, and many schools have none at all. The effects are particularly severe for girl pupils and female teachers dealing with menstruation, but also have implications for the spread of disease.
We held the meeting via Zoom. The most important item of business concerned grants awarded and to be awarded. We reviewed with pleasure the feedback we had received from schools and agreed a list of applications that had remained outstanding from our previous meeting. in recent years we have benefited from some generous legacies, but lately our income has fallen, yet applications for grants keep rising! We therefore decided, with much regret, that, for the time being, application should be by invitation only.
The schools which benefited from grants this time are: Asuofa DA Basic; Aperade Senior High; Akrodie lslamic; Manhyia No 1 Basic; Baaleyiri RC Basic; Diasibe AME Zion Primary; Ankoma DA Basic; Nyame Nti DA Basic; Anyinasuso EA Primary; Sampa Methodist Primary; Otabilkrom DA Primary; Abonse Presbyterian Basic.
This year’s AGM will again be using Zoom. To join it you should send our Hon Sec Jo Hallett an email and nearer the time she will send you the link. Her address is [email protected] I will send out a letter to everyone towards the end of March. Forgive me for reminding you that we always send an appeal for funds at this time and any sum you can get spare will be gratefully received – details of how to make a donation will be in the letter, or you can use the button on our website. Thank you in advance.
At our recent committee meeting, we lamented the fact that our funds are limited, because we had almost 70 very good applications for funding sanitation projects in Ghanaian schools. After careful consideration, we selected the following schools and organisations, our grants totalling almost £20 000.
Many of the other applications merited grants as well as the above, so much so that we have decided to cancel the March 2021 window and instead take up the list of sanitation projects and try to fund as many of them as possible. Decisions will be made at our May committee meeting.