While many migrant African parents want their children to have a deep connection to their homeland, accomplishing that aim has proven difficult. Various facets of African society’s understanding of traditional life, particularly family life, have undergone significant modifications.
In an interview with TheAfricanDream.net a Ghanaian couple in the diaspora that relocated to Ghana discuss how they are altering this narrative one step at a time.
Abena and Michael Richardson of Destination Africa Group met and married in the United Kingdom, but have returned to Ghana with their children. They’ve been married for over 13 years as of 2021.
Michael and Abena Richardson founded Destination Africa in April 2016. Michael; a qualified IT engineer and Abena; a qualified Hairstylist by profession currently homeschooling their 3 children whilst running Destination Africa full-time.
About Destination Africa
Destination Africa is a children’s African workshop that provides caregiver programs, geared at children’s physical, social, and emotional development.
It is available to parents or caregivers of children aged 3 to 16. During the academic year, they provide themed weekly courses as well as themed vacation courses. “Each term, our project work focuses on a tribe in Africa,” said Michael to TheAfricanDream.net about their project.
They do this through a lively and innovative environment. To give an immersive experience to the children, they bring the tribe in focus to life through music, food, history, dress, and other resources.
There are numerous opportunities for parents to participate, including the ability to assist their children with a specific project at the end of each term. Project work is done in groups for the older groups to prepare them for collaboration.
Theafricandream.net also found out that they believe in family bonding, because the family is the foundation of any community. If families are dysfunctional, destructive, or fractured, children and eventually the community will inevitably be the same.
Inspiration & Peculiarity
“We see our youth as the learners of today and the leaders of tomorrow! Building a strong foundation for them to become the next creators, inventors and impact the world they live in is always the motive for our hard work” they said.
The couple believe what sets them apart is that they grow each child holistically, focusing on their strengths while also addressing their inadequacies. This way they can complement each other and handle themselves well when they are away from each other.
Culture, language, critical thinking, character development, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, law, African resources, public speaking, first aid, and other life skills are the main topics they cover. The goal is to teach the next generation how to solve problems and find solutions.
Promoting the Idea
They have been doing this for 5 years since April 2016 when they birthed the idea of an African-oriented training for children. Ghana for example holds physical education lessons. But “this year, the workshops we provide have been made available internationally,” Michael said.
Parents who are interested in attending the workshops can do so online, their website has educational and parenting tools that you can find out more about by visiting linktr.ee/destafricagrp for more info. Also take a peek into a day in their lives courtesy this video below by the African Diaspora News Channel.
Their YouTube channel, Destination Africa Group TV, is exploring collaborative outcomes networks like the African Diaspora News Channel to provide programming on parenting and motivating the next generation. “We have advice and ideas for people in the same area we’re in, and that is — they are to never give up and to keep going on to do what they believe in,” the couple added.
In further promoting their life-changing idea, they have worked with many diverse and bright personalities. From the neighborhood craftsman to television personalities, there’s something to learn from and share with everyone they believe, all it takes is to simply make the time and effort to discover people and places around you…
To name a few of the persons they’ve interviewed for their project, the mentioned, “famed Ghanaian YouTube star Wode Maya, Dentaa who is an MBE, Dwayne Fields, model turned journalist Ivy Prosper, comedian KSM, and Obadélé Kambon. It takes a village to raise a child, as the adage goes and all these individuals have contributed to teaching us some of the things we include in raising our children and hope that our viewers also learn from.“
Indicating their burning fire for change, the Richardsons would love to collaborate with anyone who is passionate about inspiring the future generation.
What has been your hardest moment?
Their touching reply was, “the hardest moment on this journey is discovering that we were going against the tide.“
From experience, they expressed that unlike parents from other ethnic groups that they have met, many African parents they interviewed were more likely to want their children to be well-versed in a foreign culture, education, and history than their own.
Resulting from this would be African children experiencing an identity crisis, and having little ambition to promote the continent. It is difficult promoting what you know nothing about. And because of this, they pondered not giving up on the continent. However, when “we consider the realities of a few powerful leaders, we realize that all it takes is a few forward-thinking parents to make a difference,” sometimes self-motivation helps push people forward when it seems you are going against the norm if you are willing to use it.
Impact of COVID-19
The world felt the impact of the lockdown, big businesses and small ones. It was challenging at first they expressed, but fortunately, it resulted in a larger audience from around the world tuning in to their project, literally giving Destination Africa a viewing audience at an early stage, and improvising ways to connect with an online audience.
“COVID-19 opened positive opportunities such as online workshops that we hadn’t previously considered,” they said.
The physical workshops have also reopened for business with things slowly opening up. The pandemic however taught them to think outside the box and to be optimistic in the face of adversity. This they expressed was in itself a source of inspiration for future generations. Check them out when you can…
Written by Oral Ofori