Friday, June 8, 2007

New Life Orphanage, SOR, and FFCI-- Partnering to Help the Orphans of Ghana, West Africa

When I decided to volunteer in Africa over two years ago, I didn't realize that the continent as a whole takes hold of you once you're there. I was a teacher at New Life for the preschoolers, and was there for only a little over four months, but I developed such a deep love for Ghana and for the children I had come to know, I simply couldn't stop helping when I came home. At first, I worked on my own; I had traveled alone, and knew of no one else in my area who could help me. At the orphanage director's request, I began to set up a volunteer program, which I called SOR, a word in the Fante dialect that will be explained in a moment. As luck would have it, I met the wonderful family who runs Families for Children International-- an NPO in my city building an orphanage of their own not far from New Life. I found other volunteers through them who had traveled to New Life for 6 weeks just after I left, and a wonderful partnership has begun.

While SOR is still merely a dream under the umbrella of FFCI, many things have been done to benefit both New Life and FFCI's orphanages. Below, I have listed the missions of the organizations since all three are integral to this blog.

SOR International- Standing for Orphans Rights
No matter where I am, when I look at the sky, I feel at home. It is the one thing that is familiar wherever I am. This, to me is expressed by our motto. In the Central Region dialect of Fante, Nyame te amen beebiara (nee-AH-may tay AH-men BAY-bee-ar-a) roughly translates as “God hears amen wherever we are.” It is my belief that we are all connected together, and that whether we be in Ghana or the United States, there is someone watching over us all. That is why the name of our organization is sor, the Fante word for heavens. We are all united; the same heavens are over us all. We all have the opportunity to strengthen this unity by serving those in need. For this reason, our logo is the Ghanaian Adinkra symbol Sesa Woruban, the star within the sun. It not only symbolizes the heavens, but its meaning is “to transform or change life.” As we change the lives of others, we change ourselves as well.
SOR (Standing for Orphans Rights) is a volunteer-based student group fighting for the rights of orphans in Ghana. We believe every child has rights:
-The right to a home
-The right to a safe, healthy environment
-The right to an education
-And most importantly, a right to be loved
We support the children in Ghana, West Africa through our efforts. If you are interested in helping, whether volunteering here or in Ghana, or just in offering support, please do. These are not just faces in a picture or stories on a page to us; they are children we know and love, and we see those children in the faces of all others. Please help us stand for their rights.
FFCI is a Utah based non-profit organization dedicated to the belief that every child in the world has a right to an education, a safe environment, and love. Our mission is to provide loving care in a family setting for orphaned, abandoned, and destitute children in developing countries. We do this by:
• Nurturing the children in a family setting
• Providing education in a modern, well-equipped school
• Teaching life skills and preparing them to be productive members of their society
• Developing within them an appreciation for their heritage
Construction on an orphanage is currently underway in Elmina, near Cape Coast, Ghana. This orphanage will house children in a family setting, and provide schooling to the orphans and their peers in the surrounding community.
New Life International Orphanage
NLI provides shelter, food, education, medical care, and clothes for orphans, needy and abandoned children in the village of Ansapatu, just outside Cape Coast, in Ghana’s Central Region. The organization was established in 1997 and had been responsible for providing care and education for poor children ever since. The severity of the situation of orphans and needy and abandoned children in the rural communities is a result of poor parental control and a low standard of living due to poverty. Our objectives are:
• To increase and intensify the campaign of basic education by sponsoring more orphans and abandoned children and those who are talented and can not afford a basic education.
• To promote the rights and interest of children and to create a favorable environment in which children can realize their full potential. The preservation of children’s interest is in accordance with the UN convention on the rights of children.
• To build an ultra-modern orphanage which will be able to accommodate more children and will also have a school for the children and a vocational training center for adults
NLI currently cares for eighty-seven children. [Note: These numbers frequently change.] Forty-two of these children live in the orphanage while the other forty-five live outside the home with extended family members. They are usually living in extreme poverty and so are not able to take care of the children very well. Some of the children have to live away from the orphanage due to the size of the present orphanage building.

Though we are different organizations, our mission is the same: to bring peace, happiness and fulfillment to the lives of Ghanaian orphans.

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