Archive for April, 2015

Presidential Volunteer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 22, 2015 by kola

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Even before she came across the word volunteer as a concept she had always enjoyed helping people out and making a difference in people’s lives. A product of a CAMFED program she was given an appointment to serve as a coordinator for Camfed Alumni (CAMA)in the sagnarigu district of Tamale in the Northern region.

That was the beginning of actual volunteer work for the lovely Rukiyaro Delman as part of a bigger organization which has volunteering as one of its core values, one in which they regard in high esteem as part of giving back to their  communities for what they have been able to achieve.

In this era a lot of people emphasize the fact that volunteering is something you do without any expectation of gains but Ruki (as she’s affectionately called)likes to go beyond that to define volunteering as a skill learning opportunity.

What this means is that whatever material gain one makes for doing something can be taken away from you but the knowledge and skills that one learns remains with you forever.

Very profound if you ask me. 

“I love volunteering to contribute my quota to the development of whatever group I find myself and this has been the guiding philosophy that led to my becoming an entrepreneur because I wanted to do my part in d quest to reduce unemployment in Ghana”.

I found this quote pretty interesting because who will get into enterprise just to contribute her quota to national development via volunteering.

Ruki has participated in a  lot of community outreach programs such as  organizing the CAMA team to do a sensitization and screening.program  on hepatitis B at the Tamale chief’s palace. She also led several teams to carry out social programs such as leading young people from 16 districts in Tamale on a variety on social projects including training as peer educators under the CAMFED general program.

As a core business trainer she trained young women to be self employed and empowered in their core duties to society and life in general.

It was against this background that out of over 50000 applicants from all over Africa she applied and was chosen as one of the 500 young people for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, instituted by President Obama himself when he came into office as POTUS.

Little did our Ruki know that her background in volunteering and contributing positively to community development will stand her in good stead to be awarded the fellowship. 

In Washington for the fellowship she had the opportunity to network with over a 1000 people from all over the world.  They were taken through business and leadership modules in the  University of Wisconsin Stout. She learned more in the time there about business than she had ever learned in her life anywhere and she stresses that for her it was totally free.

Being a core business trainer for CAMA members to become peer educators in financial literacy, little did she know that she was being noticed and was recommended for the fellowship. Some of the girls she’s trained have gone further to become peer trainers in Tamale and other parts of the northern region where CAMFED operates.

Ruki is back home and she’s not resting but still neck deep in every volunteer activity available such as being part of the GhanaThink Foundation programs like BarCamp and JuniorCamp to mentor high school students.

Recently she lead a couple of young people to raise resources to paint the Nyohini Children’s Home in a program dubbed The Paint Our Home Project.

Rukayaro’s story is probably one of those Long winding tales that begin with selflessness but comes with great rewards in the end. Here is a story that begins with giving her heart out for community development and ending up shaking hands with POTUS Barack Obama himself.

She was selfless in the beginning but ended up gaining free business training in United States.

I’ve been stressing this whole month that volunteerism is a selfless act with no gain but there could be gains when you least expect. So it doesn’t take much but just a little time and energy to give back to the community via a selfless act.

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!!!

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The Bald Volunteer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2015 by kola

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When I first met him it was after years of interaction online. This social media enthusiast had caught my attention for quite some time and his selfless enthusiasm to doing good for others is what drew me to him.

Little did I know that we’d be drawn to each other by our mutual challenges in trying to find fun ways in making this world a better place for others who are not necessarily underprivileged but others too who do not really understand the vagaries of life.

Freddy Seyram Ahiabor has become like one of the family, a brother from another mother with whom I flow on a different plane. He’s so effusive with showing love and his big heart which he wears in his smiles gives him away the instant you meet him. Put that together with his goofy sense of humor and a brazen wit and you got a nuclear cocktail of a man you can’t walk away from in a heartbeat.

Realizing earlier on in life that not everyone is privileged, he has joined several causes that seek to promote different social agendas both locally and internationally.

As a member of Accra Golden Lions Club, his organization skills and persistence has drawn many people to help out in various causes throughout the nation. He’s been instrumental in children’s affairs and over the years has instituted a drive to send donations and spend time with children at the Princess Marie Louise Hospital in Accra. He’s spearheaded blood donation drives to major hospitals in this country and also been instrumental in other social developments such as being a member of the planning committee of the Apagya school refurbishment project that was undertaken by a Facebook group.

Sometimes I tend to wonder if he ever has time for himself but Freddy (as he’s commonly known)assures me that he gets some me time to “sort”out a few things here and there.

As part of the GhanaThink Foundation team, they are responsible for the nationwide drive on getting the youth to rise up for themselves as the nation rides on their backs and thus organizing events such as BarCamps, JuniorCamps (mentoring for high schools)and the institution of a National Volunteer Day where events are organized simultaneously all over the country with volunteers.

Furthermore spearheading discussions on topical issues on social media (Facebook, twitter, Google plus, etc) as a moderator tends to provide a classroom like discussion forum where people from various walks of life and professions share views on several issues periodically.

That is a handful.

Volunteerism is setting one’s self apart to do labor, usually unpaid, so others can benefit. People like Freddy have set themselves apart traveling all over the country to help make other’s lives better. Doesn’t mean they have a perfect life but no matter what their lives are, they look up to making other lives much better than it is.

Just coming out of Operation Smile 2015 (surgeries to repair cleft deformities) that was in Cape Coast this year, Freddy is back to the fray of events and awaits the next event. His whole life is one voluntary event after the other and sometimes some of us get jealous because can’t find the time and resources to do as much as we want to do in giving back to society. All this is geared towards making our nation a better place to be.

We can’t all be as mobile or agile, being everywhere as some of these volunteers but we can support a worthy cause.

Identify a cause in your locality or join a cause around you and support in whatever way you can. This will go a Long way into putting a smile on someone’s face and trust me, will leave you fulfilled as having done something worthwhile.

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!!

Take that bold step and support a worthy cause.

And Hey! If you see Freddy anywhere, give him a hug and stand back and watch that bald pate glow.

Volunteerism in Ghana

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2015 by kola

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Mariam Ama Bediako has always loved children.  At a very young age she used to gather her siblings and friends around her and pretend to be their mother. No wonder one of her hobbies is babysitting.

Growing up she has made it a personal goal to always be available for children not only in her community but the nation as a whole.

Fast forward to adulthood and it’s not surprising that this enterprising young woman puts aside a part of every money she gets to buy pencils and exercise books to distribute even to random children in the street. This she does because she says she believes in encouraging children to love to have an education because education is the bedrock of development not only personal but also communal and national.

She has volunteered for several programs and organizations in their community development agenda and she says being part of these programs and seeing the children’s happy faces make her inner light glow with happiness that at least she’s doing something worthwhile with her life.

She has therefore set up the Bliss Butterfly Network which she is yet to register as a non governmental organization so that she can gather more support for her activities to support children nationwide and take her activities further than she can.

“Volunteering is a way of giving back to the community and I believe it is an experience everybody should have…”she says.

Her latest major volunteer activity was in December 2014 when she partnered with African Writers Youth Organization, Action Child Mobilization Ghana (both based up north)and iHav Foundation first to raise a 1000books for the Tamale Regional Library and then for the Pieces for Peace Project in January.http://www.iHavfoundation.org

These projects were coordinated in Tamale by yours truly  and also as part of the #iBelieveInReading Project which seeks to inculcate a reading habit into Ghanaian children.

It was her first visit to the northern parts of Ghana and during that time she interacted with Savannah children and also distributed learning materials including exercise books and pencils to some of these children. Even with that she promised to do more and always has a quick idea as to what to do next for these children.

As a volunteer, seeking the cause of our national growth and development should be our ultimate aim. Volunteerism comes with little or no personal gains but the rewards are myriad as other volunteers will attest to and share their stories later on this blog.

We can all be volunteers in one way or the other and if we can’t make the time to even be there, Let’s support a worthy cause financially or otherwise.

Choose a cause and commit to it.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!!