Daisy Mina Antwi is our COVID-19 hero at TheAfricanDream.net for June 2020. Daisy is Founder at the GoldCoast Literacy Program (GCLP) in Ghana, a nonprofit organization that focuses on enhancing and increasing child literacy and children literature in Ghana. The global pandemic did not steal the desire of GCLP to see every child enjoy and have fun reading in Ghana, so they ensured that that happened on June 14, 2020.
Daisy and I have been friends on LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals since late 2018, what drew us together was our mutual interest in communication. So when I got the opportunity to visit Ghana this past March it was only obvious that we made plans to meet face-to-face and explore ways in which we can connect in the interest of GCLP.
Our meeting went great, it was at a mall in Ghana’s capital Accra. Daisy informed me of the desire of her organization to launch its maiden program under the theme ‘Immune Your Mind‘ to benefit children, mostly underprivileged ones, in the bustling suburb of Nima, inside Accra. The event she said: “…will deal with the dwindling habit of reading among children today, I want to help change that and help encourage the culture of reading.“
How COVID-19 threatened a worthy cause
We shared all these exciting ideas and visions for the program, only for the trip to be cut short by COVID-19, forcing me to fly out for the United States on the night Ghana’s President announced the closure of the borders to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
All the above happened in early-March when TheAfricanDream.net visited Ghana on a business trip, I felt bad that this great idea for a beautiful program by GCLP wouldn’t go according to plan because of the pandemic. But life had other plans and for Daisy it was a moment to keep planning, to stay positive, and keep getting ready for a window of opportunity whenever one opened.
She went on preparing for her event as though nothing was preventing it from happening, flooding my inbox with emails to update me on developments and using the power of social media by way of WhatsApp and Facebook to hold virtual meetings with her amazing team to fine-tune plans for their Immune Your Mind event. Two months down the line in the early month of May, borders still shut and lockdown now loosening a bit for Ghanaians.
By the last week of last month, it was not just a matter of how, but where the event was going to happen. Daisy had convinced me beyond a reasonable doubt that she and her team were just ready. Alas, it came, June 14, 2020, and the following day I received a WhatsApp message in which Daisy said, “the event was a massive success! It won great accolades from dignitaries and the kids loved it as we could tell from the smiles on their faces,” yes she sent photos to back this claim.
The charity outreach project started in the morning at exactly 8:00AM Ghana time, kids had lots of fun reading and receiving books and talking about themselves while engaging in activities like spelling craze, aerobics, debate, dance competition, musical chairs, educational talks, and many more.
Triumphed at last, despite this pandemic
Gracing the occasion were dignitaries like the Chief Imam of the community in the person of Mallam Mohammed, the Assemblyman of the Ayawaso East electoral area Abdul Ganiyu Ibrahim aka Mallam Fari, Zongo community chief Sheik Yussifu Iddrisu Kamagate and so many children who were taken through fun exercising routines by Eric Adjei Marpe of Marpe Fitness Club, Ghana.
Captivating stories were later read to the children by the GCLP founder who later asked them questions to ascertain whether they were paying attention — those cute creatures sure were.
Hilda Hunte of Hunte’s Wigs and Cosmetics volunteered to enlighten the young girls on menstrual hygiene. Daisy relayed that “Hilda taught the young teenage girls how to keep themselves clean during monthlies. She encouraged them to cultivate the habit of changing sanitary pads regularly, adding that these and other measures will in the long run promote their reproductive health.“
TheAfricanDream.net shouts a loud kudos to the GCLP for drawing these men of prominence and women of determination into a common circle to ensure the success of the Immune Your Mind event under the theme #WashedHandsOnDeck to highlight the need for adhering to government protocols of social distancing.
There were so many people in attendance that the event was split into two sessions to avoid overcrowding. In all, there was orderliness based on what Daisy later told in a phone conversation.
A burst of fresh air for kids, then on to the next one, hopefully sooner
My heroes of COVID-19 include the entire team from GCLP including those who helped from the sidelines and the rest that couldn’t attend, everyone else that took time out of their busy schedules to show up in person in support of this event, and the children whose priceless smiles betrayed how much fun they had despite the difficulties, yearned for a return to school and above all, normalcy.
The mere opportunity this event gave them to step out and mingle with friends while learning about cultivating the art of reading and walking away with materials and experiences to encourage it. This is simply epic if you ask me, considering that it was a maiden event for this newly minted nonprofit organization.
GCLP told TheAfricanDream.net that all attendees were encouraged not to stigmatize survivors of the Corona Virus disease. Samuel Quaye, a volunteer at the event particularly told all to desist marginalizing COVID patients but rather accept them back into the community after they’ve been declared fully recovered. What a fantastic event, it only took less than 100 days to put together.
I think you should check our heroes and heroines of the GCLP out on Facebook by searching GoldCoast Literacy Program and extend a helping hand towards their worthy causes. The world could use a little hope, however little it might seem, because who knows, your help could make their next event happen in less than a 100 days.
Written by Oral Ofori