September 2015


Inspiring Quote of the Month

‘‘Value yourself. You are all that’’

Confidence is a mind-set. It isn’t thinking of yourself as better than others, but thinking that you are everything beautiful, everything wonderful and everything worthy of praise.

Knowing your worth takes time, but it takes courage to know that your worth doesn’t depend on others, ie. relationships or expectations of you. We all have a heart and a soul. We need to continue to re- educate our minds and tell ourselves that we are all that despite our flaws or circumstances.

This is what real faith is. It’s not what you see around; it’s what you see inside of you.

Let your heart be enlightened and let people see the unique individual that is full of purpose.

You were created for a reason and you are still standing for a reason.

Keep going, you are all that!

 

written by Adwoa Asiedu (@AdwoaAsiedu777)

Aya Morrison presents…AURA

Aya Morrison, the clothing line for women who are feminine, statement-makers and uniquely fashion forward have launched ‘AURA’, their Capsule Resort Collection 2016.

 

photo 2A collaboration between VLISCO, Aya Morrison Atelier & GTP, the capsule collection is a celebration of the nurtured love affair between the brands above, and the collection is best described as a sensual adoration!

Aya Morrison is motivated by creative imagination, aesthetic design and comfort, their aim to create pieces that go beyond the traditions of women’s fashion and explore more of the imagination that maximizes impact.

 

The inspiration behind the collection comes from  the belief that the Aya woman embodies an AURA, a sexy, confident persona that attract attention when you walk into a room. Inspired by vintage cuts, sexy silhouettes and clean patterns, AURA stands to be Aya Morrison’s premier resort offering.

The fusion of the temperate curries, browns and Ivory colors that birthed these unique holiday ensembles oozes sophisticated but are yet wearable looks, so regardless your taste, one is surely to find a favourite! So…

Be the Aya Woman … Feed your AURA … Indulge!

photo 3

African Night – A taste of Cameroon

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La petite Bakery & Caterer are holding a dinner event, ‘A Taste of Cameroon’ on Thursday 8 october in London to promote all things Cameroonian, including its food, culture and people.

The aim of the event is to present Cameroon in a positive light to a wider British community in one night and also celebrate Cameroonian entrepreneurship in London and abroad. On the night guests will enjoy a 3 course meal of Cameroon’s finest food as well as the special Cameroonian cosmo cocktails, whilst getting the chance to mingle with entrepreneurs, couturies, diplomats, footballers and those who have a passion for Cameroon and Africa. Guests expected for the event include the High Commissioner of Cameroon.

It will be a night to learn about the Cameroonian people and culture, the arts and also to network. But the night is to specially promote Streatham as an outstanding place for young entrepreneurs.

‘A Taste of Cameroon’ will also make an effort on the night to raise money for a children’s home in Douala, the Orphelinat St Jean de Deido.

Smart is the dress code for the night and the event begins 7pm prompt. Tickets can be purchased here. See you there!

Volunteering in Ghana

National Volunteer Day 2015

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National Volunteering Day, which also falls on Founders Day, is a day specially set aside to encourage as many volunteer activities in Ghana as possible. Organised by GhanaThink’s Ghana Volunteer Program (GVP), the idea is to encourage the Ghanaian people to use this holiday, which falls on September 21,  to create, support and join volunteer activities. September 21 or Founder’s Day has been chosen as it’s one that doesn’t have specific activities.

There are many ways to take part in National Volunteer Day. You can join an existing volunteer group in your area and partake in volunteer activities they have planned for that day, or you can get together with your friend and colleagues and create a new volunteering opportunity.

Once you’ve got your group name and know what you aim is, you can register with GVP, who can then help with things like finding more volunteers and connecting with others.


So if you’re looking for an opportunity to get involved in some volunteering work or even have an idea for how you can help your community then this is your chance. You can register to take part in National Volunteer Day here and you can find more info about GVP here. Happy volunteering!

GhanaThink motto

W.O.W of the week – Serve to Lead

Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make you subject and your verb agree to serve… you only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Leadership_ToLeadIsToServeIt has recently come to my attention that a lot of young people aspire to be leaders, which is very ambitious and impressive. However, it is evident that many of them are reluctant to serve. In theory, the term service sounds great, but it isn’t as appealing in reality. It is fundamental to take into consideration the practicality of things before implementing and putting them into action. The key principle to effective leadership is to take into account what it entails and the responsibilities that comes with it. To serve is to commit yourself to make sacrifices and have the willingness and desire to do things beyond your comfort zone. It is required of us to learn to sacrifice our abilities for the betterment of others, and not just for ourselves to quench our selfish desires. Leadership comes with a lot of responsibilities as I mentioned before, one of which is to invest in others by utilising our talents, not for self-glorification, but to enable others to discover their talents to empower, motivate and inspire others –  it’s a cycle. Most importantly we must be willing to sacrifice our time.

Service can be very difficult in the sense that, it can most often than not go unnoticed, but read these words and let them sink in; you are serving not for recognition or reward, but for self-improvement and self-development. You are serving to equip and prepare yourself to be the true leader you aspire to be. When you do something wholeheartedly, you do it without any expectation of a personal pay off, because you understand and accept that your service does not guarantee that the favour will be returned to you, or your efforts will be acknowledged and rewarded. The bottom line is that, true leaders must learn to serve and never stop learning, or feel as though their position gives them a license to look down on those that are following their footsteps. Service does not start when we have something to offer but, it flourishes when we have nothing to take. It’s a sacrifice and that’s the beauty of it. Roll up your sleeves and be ready to get your hands dirty while you put in the work. It is time to talk less and do more.

There are various traits and attributes that an aspiring leader must have and be willing to improve on it. I will touch briefly on 3 essential attributes an aspiring leader must have and they are as follows:

 

Humility

 

humility-1One of the hardest things to do is to admit our wrongdoings to ourselves and others, and accept our mistakes; true humility is shown when we are able to say “I’ve made a mistake”, and be optimistic and action-oriented about it by learning from it and developing new ways on how to do things better. Our constant need to prove ourselves to be strong and confident can get in the way of humility and turn our confidence into arrogance. The greatest strength is shown when we admit our weakness. When you humble yourself before people you gain respect without demanding  it. Humility as a leader involves four attributes; 1) self-evaluation 2) openness to correction 3) seeking feedback 4) willingness to improve. When all these are taken into account, it is an indication that you are willing to learn more.

 

Patience

 

Leaders are called to be patient, but you must serve patiently to become a patient leader. We have all encountered frustrating and patiencediscouraging situations where we’ve found that, the best solution is to maintain patience. They tend to be situations that are beyond our control of which the outcome is usually unknown. We may not be able to control the situation, however we can control our behaviour and choose to react with patience towards the situation. An aspiring leader must be able to identify areas in which they lack patience and work on improving it. When you are tempted to lose patience with others, think about how patient people have been with you.

 

Teachability

 

A very old school house chalk boardTeachability is a choice. It is entirely our choice to be open to new ideas, correction and new experiences. Every loss can be turned into a learning experience depending on how we perceive it. As an aspiring leader, in order to find the pathway to successful leadership, you must develop a conducive attitude to learning. You must have it at the back of your mind that there is always something new to learn from everyone regardless of their background, position or circumstance. A teachable individual possesses and maintains the mindset of a beginner. This individual is open to correction and constructive criticism, and uses it as a way to improve on themselves and develop new strategies to do things better in order to achieve the best possible results. You can only acquire more knowledge when you make yourself teachable. Remain teachable by openly evaluating yourself on a continual basis.

 

 

Word of advice: Leadership comes with a lot of responsibilities and if you are not willing to serve and acquire the knowledge and attributes you need to lead, you will lead people astray. Don’t let pride blind you to your faults, let humility remind you that no matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn from the mistakes you make. Serve with humility and when the time comes to lead, lead with humility. Be patient during your service as an aspiring leader. Patience is not shown in the ability to wait but, it is shown in the attitude and behaviour you display while waiting. As the saying goes “education has no end” so if you want to learn more, be teachable. True leaders never stop learning. Aspire to be the kind of leader that inspires, motivates and empowers others. Be true to yourself!

 

By Mimi Hassan (@Miminspired)

An evening of fine dining…

 

Want a dining experience like no other? The keep reading >>>

 

The people at Jason’s Little Kitchen, a West African supper club based in London, which plans to bring and share authentic homemade West African dishes using organic and locally sourced ingredients, are holding a Supper Club Dinner on Saturday 26th September.Flyer Cover Back 26.9.15

And they are inviting you to join them for a 3 course meal where you will experience the fine flavours of West African food. Serving traditional West African food with a modern touch,  Jason’s Little Kitchen have carefully obtained organic produce and grass fed meat completely free from growth promoters and hormones which have all been selected to bring out the finest flavours for their meals. On the menu on the night will be chichinga (kebab), omotuo and nkatenkwan (riceballs and peanut soup) and chin chin sundae for dessert.

So, if a social gathering of food lovers in an exclusive setting sounds good to you then don’t miss out on this event!

Jason’s Little Kitchen

– SUPPER CLUB DINNER –

Date: Saturday 26th September 2015

Address: Jenius Social, 6 Hornsey Street, Studio 8, London, N7 8GR

Time: 7pm – 9pm (Starters will be served at 7.30pm)

Price: £36.75 (tickets available at www.jasonslittlekitchen.co.uk)

 

 

Lethal Bizzle, Krept & Konan, Flo Rida and Natalie La Rose announced for BBC Radio 1Xtra Live in Leeds

BBC Radio 1Xtra has abnnounced Lethal Bizzle, Krept & Konan, Flo Rida, Miguel, Natalie La Rose,  Stormzy and Kid Ink as part of the line-up for 2015’s BBC Radio 1Xtra Live in Leeds – the station’s annual flagship event which sees some of the hottest acts on the urban music scene take to the stage for one night only.

This huge line-up, along with further acts still to be announced, will hit the stage at the First Direct Arena, Leeds on Saturday 17th October and represents some of the best UK and international acts currently championed by 1Xtra.

Lethal Bizzle is part of the line up

Lethal Bizzle is part of the line up

The event, which has an unrivalled reputation for bringing people together to share live urban music, will be hosted by Radio 1Xtra DJs.

Ace and A.Dot will be covering all of the build-up live from 4-6.30pm, with MistaJam and Target presenting a live show backstage from 6.30-11.30pm. The show will also be live on Red Button, streamed on 1Xtra’s website (bbc.co.uk/1xtra) and highlights will be available on YouTube and via BBC iPlayer.

To warm up for the event, Radio 1Xtra will also be putting on an ambitious outreach project of over 30 events in 30 days for 15-24 year-olds in Leeds and Bradford. The programme, that will run from 15 September to 17 October will be created specifically for the young people in the cities, and will include a range of Q&A’s, practical workshops, networking events and work experience opportunities, with insights from 1Xtra DJs and staff, artists and music industry professionals.

Flo Rida says: “To all my fans in the UK, I look forward to performing for you on October 17th.  My fans in the UK are great. I had the pleasure of performing before 100,000 recently and can’t wait to perform at 1Xtra Live for the BBC.”

Natalie La Rose says: “I’m super excited to perform at the 1Xtra event because it’s going to be my first big live performance in the

Stormzy will be performing

Stormzy will be performing

UK, so I really can’t wait. 1Xtra get ready!”

Austin Daboh, BBC Radio 1Xtra Music Manager says: “To be able to bring this level of national and international talent to a local audience is what 1Xtra Live is all about. The line-up is amazing and with a crowd like Leeds, it’s set to be one of the hottest nights of the year.”

Further details about 1Xtra Live, including ticketing information will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Helping Them Win The First Fight Of Their Lives

The most dangerous day in a child’s life is the day that they are born.

Each year, more than one million babies die on the day of their birth. 98% of these deaths occur in the developing world.

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With stats like that, you can understand that babies are fighting against the tide from the minute they emerge into the word. Kicking, screaming, they put everything they have into taking that first gasp of air and inflating those preciously vulnerable lungs. Their senses are wildly overwhelmed by the symphony of bright lights  and dazzling sounds of the outer world for the first time. Their skin crackles against the bite of cold which makes a change from the months they spent in their mother’s warmth. They are outside the protection of their mother.

 

The survival cord broken.

The battle has begun.

 

This is not an easy process, regardless of where a baby is born. This makes it even more crucial that babies are given the tools they need, and the environment they require, to survive. For an unfortunate reality is that in Ghana and many other countries in the world, some babies need more of a helping hand in those first few minutes, hours, days and weeks…just to come out of that fight alive.

Infant mortality is the number of deaths between birth and babies exactly 1 year of age, expressed per 1000 live births. The Ghana infant mortality rate in 2014 according to the CIA World Factbook was 38.5. That works out at approximately one death of a baby in Ghana under the age of one every 15 minutes.

 

Infant-Mortality-6-300x300Every. 15. Minutes.

 

To give babies a fighting chance at life, they need expertise in their corner. Expertise which may be lacking due to lack of appropriately-trained healthcare workers or expertise which may be too far away for them to reach in time. They need technology and equipment; conditions such as hypothermia, respiratory distress and hypoxia require adequate treatment with medical devices such as incubators – but for many babies in Ghana, even these options are unavailable.

It is unfortunate that in many areas in Ghana, relatively simple interventions for conditions which are highly-treatable may not be available. It becomes more critical when you appreciate that the majority of neonatal deaths are due to preventable causes, such as infectious diseases which could be immunised against.

 

Disparities don’t stop with Ghana/Sub-Saharan Africa and the majority of the Western World however. You would be surprised to find that there is a chapter being written on the shores of the UK as well. According to ‘Facts and Figures on Infant Mortality & Stillbirths’ by Public Health England, ‘non-white ethnicity’ is independently associated with increased UK infant mortality.

The London Health Observatory found that one of the five most important factors associated with infant death in London is being borne of Afro-Caribbean heritage. Mothers of Black origin are TWICE as likely to have their baby die before their first birthday as their white counterparts. So even when black babies have access to better sanitation and healthcare, noticeable disparity remains in infant mortality amongst our babies compared to Caucasian babies here in the UK! Many reasons have been given to try and rationalise this: increased teenage pregnancy rates in black communities, a mistrust of healthcare and an unwillingness to present to clinic, etc. But the fact remains, that there is a gap.

 

A gap which the GUBA Foundation aims to address and is desperate to close.

 

However in order to close the gap, the Foundation needs your help. This is a momentous project, with the potential to change the landscape of healthcare in Ghana and amongst the BME in the UK forever. It’s going to take more than wordplay. Ideas are needed, as well as innovation, support, energy, and resources.

For the GUBA Foundation passionately remembers babies of Ghanaian and UK BME heritage. They remember those babies who were carried but never met. They remember those held but not taken home; those who came home but could not stay. They take up this fight in their memory, to safeguard future generations. Their memory puts fire in their bellies, intensifying our sense of responsibility. Because the GUBA Foundation fervently believes every baby deserves an equal shot at life, regardless of where Infant-Mortality-2-300x214they’re born and to whom they are born.

Help spare women from the most unimaginable pain a mother can bear. Help aid babies in need. Help remove the danger. Help make that first birthday a day of celebration to many more, and help make that first day the best day. Help make sure that many more babies come out of that first fight of their lives victorious, having been born with a winning corner.

Help Close the Gap on Infant Mortality.

You can support the GUBA Foundation’s ‘Closing The Gap’ project by kindly donating via justgiving.com/gubafoundation, or send a cheque made payable to GUBA Foundation, 19 John St. London WC1N 2DL (including a letter with your cheque stating your name and address). You can also donate up to £10 by texting GUBA00 followed by the amount donated to 70070 (e.g. GUBA00 £10).


By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Introducing Dislabelled

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MeFiri Ghana caught up with Dislabelled to find out more about their plans to improve the special education system in Ghana. Dislabelled is a non-profit initiative, seeking to change the notion that people with intellectual and physical challenges are unable to be a productive part of society. The charity aims to take on this task by improving the special education system in Ghana. In 2012, Founders Nana Ama Akowuah, Efua Asibon and Sedinam Worlanyo joined forces to create an effective curriculum for special education. After visiting a few special education schools, the trio noticed that the main issues with the system stemmed from a lack of resources along with the lack of support that special educators had.  

 

Some of their shocking discoveries were that there was no necessary training required tumblr_inline_moo4ffqfv71rtmfyy to teach at special schools, there were no test centres for students to identify where they stood on the disability spectrum and there was a massive stigma faced by people with disabilities. This sparked the girls’ determination to make a change.

 

Since this discovery, they’ve held multiple events to combat these issues. To name a few: ‘ThisAbility,’ which was a two-week summer programme at an Autism awareness centre, enabling children to take part in exciting activities, including engaging in arts and crafts. ‘SustainAbility,’ a meeting with teachers from a variety of special schools in Ghana, to share their concerns and thoughts on how to improve the current system, and this year the charity is implementing these changes based on the feedback they were given.

 

tumblr_inline_moo4n2Gc9t1rtmfyyThey’ll be hosting a one-week intensive teacher-training programme held by experts in the special education division, to give teachers the opportunity to be equipped in their roles as special educators. We asked Co-founder Nana Ama what her proudest and most exciting moments were since building the charity:

“We had a mural painting at the school where we invited new stations and opened it to the public to showcase artefacts the children had made and the dances they had learnt. It was such a great experience,” she said.

Since it’s birth in 2012, Dislabelled has already made an immense impact in improving the special education system in Ghana and is already changing people’s perceptions on disability. They have achieved this in a short space of time through social media campaigns, events, volunteering and not only researching the issues but also providing solutions with their commitment and passion for the cause.

 

In the future we can expect Dislabelled to break new ground by tackling problems faced by those with special needs in the country including the employment and health sectors. We’re excited about this charity, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for their journey in revolutionizing the special education system in Ghana.

 

By Wilma Sagoe (@WilmaSagoe)

 

Home Truths for the Homeland

Accra-floods

Accra Floods

Watching the Accra floods unfold across my TV and across social media timelines, a sadness and anger triggered within me. And frustration. And a realisation. As much as we love Ghana and for all we have achieved in recent years, there are home truths we’ve not been paying enough attention to. The cedi’s value has become a shambolic mess. Oil we apparently struck a few years back – what happened to the money? Infant/maternal mortality is another simmering issue which charities such as the GUBA Foundation are helping bring to the spotlight. The quality of schooling is poor, as has been recently publicised.

And don’t get me started on dumsor, an issue which is proving to be a terminal illness to business around the country and is as tiresome as the daily debate around it and the attempts to resolve it.

 

In June 2015, The Wall Street Journal noted the following – ‘[Accra is] perhaps the continent’s best example of an urban middle class. In 2011 it was the 2nd-fastest growing economy on EARTH…but [even then] below the city, its infrastructure was crumbling. Power has been off TWO-THIRDS of the time since January, because until recently Accra received almost all of its electricity from a 49-year old hydrodam that hadn’t been getting enough rain. Stop lights are frequently out, jamming up roads that haven’t been broadened. Ports are perpetually backlogged. And the city sewers are especially old…many of them dating back to the British colonial rule.’

 

That excerpt illuminates the fact that the floods in Accra, which produced images akin to a Hollywood disaster film, was a disaster waiting to happen – a landmine lying in wait beneath our foundations, for the right amount of pressure to trigger things to explode and implode.

IMG_5139And this is the crux of the problem. There are issues in Ghana that have been there from the days of Kwame Nkrumah. That’s not good enough. Nkrumah planned to get the Akosombo dam built to match demand at the time; not to meet demand in the future! The dam wasn’t *the* dream; it was the *beginnings* of a dream, for Ghana to start being more self-sufficient, stable and increasingly productive. The issue is we’ve accepted that standard as our ceiling. That standard was set 60 years ago you know. 60 years…

You see, my issue is that it’s not every day ‘build a Trasacco Valley’ or West Hills Mall to act like Ghana is ‘ballin’’, thinking that’s indicative of success. It’s not. Ghana rather needs to prioritise and concentrate on things which may seem simple, but as these floods have shown, are vital. We need to focus on investing and developing the fundamentals.

Things like electricity, water, roads and transport, education, hospitals and healthcare services

…but no. We want to make ourselves look better than we are by building residential areas where only the rich & powerful can afford to live, and building malls where only the rich can afford to shop.

 

Ghana is focused on building its roof when we haven’t even finished laying the foundations –  and that’s a crying shame. That’s why we have cholera outbreaks in Accra, by-the-renewing-of-your-mind-how-to-have-a-strong-foundation-1200x1161why large swathes of the country go without power for days. And that’s why we had a situation like the flood crisis – it was a system failure more than a natural disaster, exposing the fact that despite the energy and resources we’ve put into paving our roof, our house is infested and the foundations aren’t sound.

Our priorities need to change. For we need to realise the truths and stop the cyclical behaviours which fail to demand accountability from those in power and allow us to become complacent and accept inefficiencies as the status quo. Only then, will we finally be set free and realise the perfectness of the Independence dream.

 

By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)