August 2015

Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Help Your Community – Give Blood

“There are a lot of black and Asian people out there who desperately need help, and they can’t get it from anyone else but their own communities. It’s something we’ve all got to consider, because we’re the only ones who can help each other.” – Gina Yashere


mike 0010I’ve given blood this week, and have given donations in the past. It’s something I’ve done without publicity, without spreading the word. I do it when I can, kicking any subtle needle-phobia I have into touch and donating before going about the rest of my day-to-day. Donating secretly and quietly – for altruism doesn’t need publicity right? But the statistics have made me rethink that. The Great Ormond Street programme shown on the BBC recently made me rethink that. Various appeals made in regional news programmes have made me rethink that. It’s time we start actively encouraging each other to give blood.


Because we have a problem.


According to, about 14% of the UK population are from a black, Asian or other ethnic minority background. But there’s such a shortage of minority donors that only 3.5% of those who have donated blood in the past 2 years are people from these ethnic groups! This means that if you’re black or Asian, your chances of finding an unrelated matched donor are lower than if you were white. Much lower.

It’s clear once you look into the matter that the greatest demand comes from the communities with the lowest donation rates and the hardest tissue types to match – i.e. communities such as ours. Certain ethnic groups often require certain blood types. And with such difficulties in matching, we need to be doing more as a community to help each other out, just like Gina says in the quote at the beginning of the post.

o-GIVING-BLOOD-facebookAccording to ACLT, just one unit (475mls) of blood can help save 3 adults or 7 babies of any race. Rare blood groups like U negative are only found amongst people of African and Caribbean descent. We are all fully aware of the many appeals and charities out there related to disorders like Sickle Cell, a disorder prevalent in the Black community, whose sufferers know very well the significance of blood, because regular transfusions can prove life-saving.


So if you are reading this, and you are from a Black, Asian or other ethnic minority background, tell your friends about blood donation. Take a second to put the idea forward to colleagues at work, fellow church members, family, schoolmates, even followers on social media. Take a minute to think about it yourself. Take a little time to read the links at the end of the post…


…And realise that giving blood could be one of the best things you’ll do this year for your community, your people. It costs nothing more than a little time. Time which could grant someone out there much more time to enjoy what life has to give. Someone out there somewhere will be forever grateful that you decided to act to give them a better chance. Someone out there somewhere would be forever indebted to you for your charity.…/Donation/Pages/Donationethnic.aspx
By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

African Entrepreneurship Programme

Me Firi Ghana are pleased to announce our collaboration with The African Entrepreneurship Programme (AEP); a new initiative of the Global African Investment Summit.

The AEP will support African entrepreneurs and young African businesses seeking expansion capital to realize their investment objectives by giving them the opportunity to present and connect with financial stakeholders.

The AEP is supported by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Aliko Dangote (Africa’s most successful entrepreneur) and former Nigerian President H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo. 

Aliko-Dangote-pic-83x125 Obasanjo-155x155-125x125 The-Duke-of-York-427x640-83x125

Prince Andrew’s commitment to entrepreneurship and enterprise development through his ‘Pitch@Palace’ initiative and his patronage of the African Entrepreneurship Programme will provide valuable support to the African continent and will strengthen ties with Africa.

The AEP will provide ongoing support for young businesses and entrepreneurs selected by the Programme. The top three most talented entrepreneurs will present their business proposals to investors at the London Global African Investment Summit in December.

To submit your entry to the African Entrepreneurship Programme, click the following link and complete the short application form: CLICK HERE

Let Hope Arise…


With so much negativity and despair, it is not surprising why society today encourages people not to love themselves. We hear it all the time. People say ‘oh he/she loves herself’.  May I pause you there for a second, who said it was a crime to love thyself?

hc real

So what if that person loves themselves, shouldn’t you? There is freedom when we love and accept ourselves because it enables us to love and accept other people.

If you look at statistics, you will find that those with low self-esteem struggle to accept and love people. You will also find that bullies are those with low self-esteem. What does that say about the society we live in now? Many of us struggle with insecurity and with feelings of low self-worth. Acceptance is the key to freedom. We need to learn to embrace all that we are because there is no one else like us.

The truth is the way we see ourselves affects the way we treat people. If you think you’re not worth it, you will treat people like they are not worth it because that is what you know. That’s the spirit you are projecting on to other people – a spirit of worthlessness, and that spirit can spread like a virus. Before you know, you will see a generation filled with hopelessness. The only way to break this stronghold is by letting hope arise in our hearts and in our minds.


Confidence is such a beautiful trait to have. It opens doors; it enables us to make and maintain connections. When people see someone who really believes in themselves, they are immediately drawn to them.

A quote to reflect on: ‘‘A Lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep’’let hope arise

How you see yourself and what you think about yourself is what really matters!

Let hope arise in our generation and in the next generation to come.

It starts with you and I to be that light for others.

We want to be a generation that sees hope,

A generation that breathes hope,

A generation that inspires hope.

Let Hope Arise…


By Adwoa Asiedu (@AdwoaAsiedu777)

Ghana Fashion & Design Week 2015 is here!


Ghana Fashion & Design Week, the annual international event providing local Ghanaian designers as well those from the Diaspora and other international designers the opportunity to showcase their design on a global platform is back this year from 23-25 October, and promises to be on a grander scale than ever.

This year, GFDW welcomes Mercedes-Benz as a partner of the event, and also supported by Silver Star Auto Ltd. Ghana. Hailed as one of Africa’s globally recognised innovative fashion platform for commerce, GFDW has grown from strength to strength since its launch in 2012, not only exposing Ghanaian fashion to a global audience but also creating opportunity for international trade and tourism in Ghana.


As part of their exciting activities at this year event, GFDW is introducing Style & Steel, a special focus on the men behind the Mercedes-Benz luxury car wheels, some of which will have the opportunity to be rewarded with a healthy well being treatment at the luxury XMen Spa & Grooming Bar after a long day’s drive

Not complete without the Ladies of Style to compliment the Mercedes-Benz ladies, and those in the lives of the men behind wheels, designer label 1981 by Nana Brenu, will open its doors for them to shop quality pieces at a limited period with a 10% Fashion Gift Reward after the fashion week.

In addition, multiple award winning hair stylist to the stars Charlotte Mensah will lead the backstage team at the event this year.


GFDW 2015 will feature catwalk presentations, trade exhibitions, business seminars as well internships opportunities for those interested in the fashion industry. Tickets for the event can be purchased at GFDW’s website.

BBC Radio 1Xtra Live heading to Leeds this October


BBC Radio 1Xtra annual flagship event BBC Radio 1Xtra Live will be heading to Leeds for one of the biggest nights of the year on Saturday 17th October.

Hosted by Radio 1Xtra DJs, the event, which has an unrivalled reputation for bringing people together to share live urban music, will be held at First Direct Arena, Leeds and will feature performances from some of the best UK and international acts currently championed by 1Xtra.

1Xtra Live, now in its eighth year, follows on from the success of 2014’s event which saw the likes of Rick Ross, Mary J Blige, Krept & Konan, Fuse ODG, Boy Better Know, Jess Glynne, Lethal Bizzle, Sigma and Tinashe hitting Birmingham.

The news follows 1Xtra’s Grime Symphony Prom that took place on 12th August – a celebration of the thriving urban music scene that saw rappers including Wretch 32, Stormzy, Krept & Konan and Lethal Bizzle perform at the Royal Albert Hall alongside Jules Buckley and his Metropole Orkest.

Further information about 1Xtra Live 2015, including the full line-up and ticketing information will be announced on 1Xtra in the coming month.

Tribal scars or something else…?

What stories do facial scars tell?


Like many Ghanaians, my mum has quite a noticeably large scar on her cheek.  Growing up in Ghana this was quite a common sight both in men, women and even children, with the scars ranging in shape and size depending on the tribe one belonged to. I’ve always assumed that these scars were tribal scars or a form of ethnic identification, but I recently discovered that this was only partly true.


Like I mentioned before, these scars on the cheek can represent an ethnic identifier, which is the case for the Gonja, Dagomba and Frafra people of northern Ghana. However facial scars can also be found among the Akans, who usually reside in the southern parts of Ghana, and for them, their facial scars tell a whole different story.


traditional med

traditional medicine

In the olden days, before the advent of modern medicine, ‘ abibiduro’ or traditional medicine in its English translation, was
used to cure all sorts of illnesses. In fact, abibiduro is still widely used in Ghana today and in some cases are even prescribed by doctors. Back in the day, traditional herbalists made a black powder called ‘botכ’. Botכ was a mixture of different types of traditional medicine grounded into a powder then mixed with charcoal. Botכ worked in the same way as western medicine such as aspirin or codeine, which was used to fight various fevers which particularly affected children. Aspirin and codeine worked as a symptomatic treatment to reduce fevers, and this is exactly what botכ was used for back in the day. Because taking it orally rendered it ineffective as its healing components were destroyed through digestion, a small incision or cut was made in the cheeks of children who suffered from fevers such as malaria, and the botכ was placed in the cut.


tribal markAfter healing, a scar remained, thus representing a form of vaccination. These types of practises have obviously been phased out and are rarely used these days due to advances in modern medicine and the accessibility of healthcare even in the remotest parts of Ghana.

Hence these facial scars are most likely to be seen among our parents and grandparents’ generation rather than the generation of today. So next time you see a facial scar on a Ghanaian, don’t be so quick to dismiss it as just a tribal mark!

By Yaa Nyarko (@yaa_fremah)