With the Rotary Club of Manchester we have connected the community of Fievie Dugame to the mains water supply. The community said that before we came along, this was a headache that could never be solved and that there was no way they could have clean drinking water.
Moving forward with fellow Rotarian A'dell Harper, we will share ideas with the community about education and how further change may come through the youngest in the community
Kids Foundation Inc is run by Joseph Kove Yaw in Sogakope with the aims of empowering women and children. In particular many girls were kept away from school to help with household duties, and boys were sent out to look after cattle. Kids Foundation supported the communities around Sogakope, with a particular interest on stopping child trafficking and promoting education for every child. Now the organisation is involved more widely in the South Tongu community and human rights in the Volta region.
We met Joseph in 2003 when he was working as the pilot on the river ferry on the River Volta, and have been linking with him on all subsequent visits to Ghana. With his support, we researched a story in poems, Crikey Mikey's Volta Venture. We also celebrated Ghana's 50th anniversary by starting to understand the needs of the community of Fievie Dugame and in particular the issues of education and lack of clean drinking water.
In June 2019, with matched funding from The Rotary Foundationand implementation by the Rotary Club of Ho and Kids Foundation, the new clean drinking water supply was commissioned; the community is now connected to the mains supply in Sogakope.
We now want to continue to partner with the community of Fievie Dugame for them to be able to have their own community projects; together we are piloting a microfinance project for women farmers, and in addition plan to raise money for the community to farm a plot of land to raise funds for their own community project.
Working with fellow Rotarians A'dell Harper and Dale Anne McAulay, we believe that change would come through the youngest in the community, and the vision is to build a nursery school and train local women to run it.
Feelgood Communities has always offered support to a small number of individuals who are living in poverty.
The first child we helped was from Street Academy, a school for street children. Our main contact in Accra is Sheila Kotey; Robin met Sheila in 2002, and she helped guide him on his early visits to Ghana. Sheila agreed to look after a boy from Street Academy; we sent money for education including more recently to support his apprenticeship. Sheila is now looking after another boy who is currently in college and we help by paying towards his college fees.
We have also helped a man to get qualifications and set up his business, helped a trainee school teacher and a trainee nurse.
The World Laughter Master, Belachew Girma, is an inspirational Ethiopian laughter therapist. He set up the world's first government backed National Laughter Day, and Africa's first school of indigenous laughter. He holds the world record for continuous laughter at 3 hours and 35 minutes. Robin is the first International Ambassador for Laughter For All Ethiopia.
From 2008 until 2015 we have been supporting the annual Ethiopia National Laughter Day, laughing at events with The World Laughter Master, and spreading awareness of the work being done with laughter in Ethiopia to help tackle depression and health issues.
In 2009, Ethiopia National Laughter Day was held in Awassa, some hours drive south from Addis Ababa. One hundred Addis Ababa school children and people representing different parts of Ethiopian communities were also present as we marched through the streets of Awassa with laughter.
On the march we met a street boy who enjoyed the parade with us. When it was over, we wanted to give him a gift, and asked through an interpreter what he would like. He said, 'An education'. Ever since, we have sent money to support him through education.
His mother returned after a couple of years, and tried taking him out of school to go begging for her. Instead, we provided money for a room for her and her son, and basic food.
Our contact in Awassa was Fekerte Atemew, a trusted friend of the World Laughter Master, and she hosted us when we went on that first event in Awassa back in 2009.
Through our visits, we have met with and helped three university students with fees and laptops.