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The Opoku Gakpo Foundation has donated school uniforms and other school supplies worth about 30,000 Ghana cedis to the Nyitavuta D/A Basic School in the Volta region.
The presentation is in fulfilment of a pledge the foundation’s founder Joseph Opoku Gakpo made after winning the MTN Heroes of Change Award last year https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2018/May-19th/2-multimedia-journalists-honoured-at-mtn-heroes-of-change-finale.php. Opoku Gakpo was awarded along with four other media personalities after a story he told from the Nyitavuta community in the Akatsi North District of the Volta region about lack of potable water and electricity resulted NGOs intervening https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhxtP4tzASY&t=37s.
One of the organisations sank a borehole for them and gave them training in alternative livelihood. https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2018/October-1st/3-years-after-joy-news-jungle-poor-devment-gradually-getting-to-nyitavuta.php. Another provided the community with solar lanterns https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2016/April-26th/nyitavuta-gets-solar-lamps-following-joy-news-report.php.
A citation from MTN Ghana Foundation to Joseph read; “following your documentary, various under developed communities have received support. Thanks to you, the children no longer walk long distances before they get water. The government and NGOs have reached out to them to improve the quality of their lives. Neglected societies were brought to national attention leading to success stories like Nyitavuta getting solar lamp….”
The MTN Ghana Foundation gave Joseph 10,000 Ghana cedis to invest in a corporate social responsibility of his choice and he assured the money will be used to support the education of young people in the Nyitavuta community to better the lives of the people.
Based on the inspiration from wining the MTN Heroes of Change award, Joseph started the Opoku Gakpo Foundation to help deal with poverty in rural Ghana which donated the school supplies including 100 uniforms, books, school bags, footwear, and writing materials to the community. “This is nothing extra-ordinary. But at least it brought some smiles to the faces of these children,” Joseph Opoku Gakpo said during the donation.
“I’m grateful to the folks who supported me to match the MTN Ghana Foundation’s money triple fold. My good friend Reuben Quainoo and Jewels Opoku Nkrumah. And to Aba Forson for the over 400 exercise books donated,” Joseph said. “Not forgetting my colleague Justice Baidoo who handed me almost 100 Toms shoes he got from Bernice Dapaah of bamboo bikes fame to go give to the children. We are grateful,” Opoku Gakpo explained after handing over the items to authorities in the district at a ceremony at the Nyitavuta D/A school.
Reaction of government officials
District Chief Executive Officer for Akatsi North Dr. Prince Sokode Amuzu commended the move. “The Opoku Gakpo Foundation, I am amazed and impressed following my experience today with them. That they have set out to demonstrate selflessness without question,” he said.
“Many people will do donations when it is in their hometown or when they have some ambition; but these are people who are not related to the community in anyway. But through their work, they got an award. They returned to bring the benefit of the award to the same people. This is unthinkable. And I am humbled by the experience of meeting this foundation. And I will want to encourage them that with time, they will reap the benefit,” Dr. Amuzu concluded.
Member of Parliament for Akatsi North Constituency Peter Nortsu commended the foundation for the gifts to the students. “You have been very selfless. I will urge that your selflessness goes beyond Nyitavuta. So that many people will benefit from you,” the Ranking member on Parliament’s Education Committee noted.
Akatsi North district education director, Philomena Amedeke, was grateful for the gifts donated to the pupils. “The gift is so marvelous. I am actually overwhelmed, surprised. A lot of things, bags and so things. I am surprised,” she said. “I have seen people giving things but not to this extent and I am very grateful for that. In Ghana these days, a lot of people are selfish. And I wish people will emulate this and easily give out things to help the poor,” she said.
The education director is confident the donation will help better the quality of education in the community. “It’s going to give us great change. It will improve attendance because they will be eager – especially the bag – they will be eager to come to school. So that they can wear the bag to the school. So they will be regular. And also it will help them to study. They also saw a lot of role models and this will help them to learn had to become somebody in future,” Philomena Amedeke added.
Reaction from community
Cephas Veto who is assembly member for the area said the donation will fix a long time challenge the school children have always had. “Previously, our children didn’t have school uniforms and bags and sandals. The donation will make much difference in their lives. Because when some of them come to school without school uniform, it’s not good. But it has changed. Now they can even learn more because they have school uniforms and books and pencils and pens,” Cephas said.
Wilson Kudjoe who is headmaster of the Nyitavuta D/A Basic said, “the donation has already motivated the children to come to school and learn and I am hoping they will learn and in the future you will hear of them. You will hear the name of this school as among the best in the Volta region.”
Kligi Christopher, one of the pupils said; “the gifts will make students come to school more and learn and become big tomorrow.” “The gift you have given us will make us shine. The way students dress, it doesn’t look nice. But the gift you have given us, Monday, people will dress nicely. Bring more gifts so we can learn more and go forward to school and have a good future,” another pupil said. Eya Logo, a parent of pone of the pupils said; “I am happy with the gifts. We thank God. We thank God they bought us new things. I pray it will help my child to become a teacher in future.”
More on Opoku Gakpo Foundation
Project Manager at the Opoku Gakpo Foundation Nana Yaw Quainoo explained the donation is part of a larger project by the foundation called Leave No Child Behind Initiative that is aiming at providing learning materials to 50,000 children across the country over the next five years. “But we have other initiatives like the Revolutionary Minds Project which is youth development initiative, Gift the Earth Initiative which is encouraging young minds to gift the earth at least one tree in their childhood days and the Intellectual-17 programme which is a direct career mentorship initiative that will mentor students in tertiary institutions with career focused skills,” he explained.