Kezia Sanie: A young ambitious lady whose NGO, “For The Future Ghana” is nurturing underprivileged children for the future.
Right from childhood, Kezia Asiedua Sanie had always wanted to start a charity to help others. She had always been involved in programmes and events that were related to charity. "I’ve always been passionate about these things and it drives me on... for me, this has been more of a calling," she said.
Kezia's passion for charity work propelled her to start an NGO - For The Future Ghana - aimed at supporting the less privileged, while in her first year at Wesley Girls' High School.
Interestingly, the idea to start 'For The Future Ghana', however, was inspired by jokes that Kezia and her friends made about a hair cream mixture they made to boost the growth of their hair while in school.
"In Gey Hey, we liked to grow our hair to a certain level so that we can braid during the vacation," Kezia said with a laugh. "Because of this, some of my classmates and I brought our hair creams to class to mix them in order to get some kind of wild booster for hair growth."
"After mixing this cream, we started saying the cream was 'for the future' and made jokes about it till the whole class now joined in this joke and 'movement' sort of. It was then that I said the name was catchy and nice, and that I have always wanted to start a charity. So since we are all excited about this name, why not channel it into charity?" she explained.
Kezia, together with her friends took a step towards starting the charity by consulting their English Language teacher, who also had a charity of her own called 'I Was Here'. Alongside her classmates and friends from other Senior High Schools, Kezia collaborated with Ms Elsie's team to embark on a donation exercise in Ashaiman.
"That was our first event," said Kezia. "Two weeks later, we organized our own charity event all by ourselves and threw a mini funfair for the children at the Jay Nii Orphanage in JamesTown. We also made a donation to them. Many of us were only 16 years old at the time in 2016."
Kezia now works with a well-structured team under a registered organization, “For The Future Ghana”, that includes Aaron Ohene Yeboah as vice-president, Abena Osae Oduro as general secretary, Christyne Pampoe as organising secretary, Paul Adjaklo and Michelle Sosu as monitoring and evaluation executives, Magnus Ofuatey Kodjoe and Priscilla Kumi as financial controllers, Angela Bentum for Public Relations, Maame Aba Mensah as head of the FTF Village Curriculum, and Mirabel Mensah who's the Takoradi branch leader. They are all students in various universities in Ghana.
Kezia and her team have embarked on several other outreach programmes in Jamestown, Chorkor, Mamprobi, Maamobi, Mallam Atta Market and Keta.
In 2017, they embarked on their first major project in Mamprobi, where they renovated the Mamprobi South 4 Basic School building, and also donated teaching and learning materials. They have also made donations to the Jay Nii Orphanage and to the National Orthopedic Training Centre.
FTF Ghana is currently running three initiatives - the Student Training and Education Project (STEP), the ShareAid Initiative and the FTF Village project.
The STEP is a special initiative where we identify underprivileged children and not only sponsor them through school, but nurture their strengths and talents, find opportunities for them and connecting them to resource persons who help them develop themselves holistically.
“There are currently 10 beneficiaries under this initiative with unique stories that we are supporting in every way we can. We discovered all of them in unpleasant situations and have been able to help them all to improve!”
“Three-year-old Elizabeth had been abandoned by her parents and lived with her grandmother who was a squatter and could not take care of her. Elizabeth was not in school at all, we put her in a good school and have been fending for her since. Eight of them are students at the La Wireless Cluster of Schools who could not pay their school levies, had old uniforms, no shoes, no school bags, nor other school necessaries. Through this initiative, they have these and more. Some of them got the chance to attend a Summer Camp by the Wit Schools in East Legon where they learnt different disciplines and mixed with more privileged children to learn with them. We have also made provision for extra classes for those in Junior High School, and we visit all our beneficiaries from time to time to track their progress in order to find many other ways to make their lives better.”
Our final beneficiary is Prince who lives with his single struggling mother and step siblings, is a gifted boy and can make wooden toy cars and can move when a battery is put in them. After identifying Prince in August last year, FTF Ghana partnered with Asustem Robotics (a STEM Educator in Ghana) through Ashesi University staff members to train him in the following modules: mechanical and Automobile 3D Designs, Robotics, Arduino and Electronics. Prince has been attending the classes on a full scholarship since September 2021 and his progress is being monitored by FTF Ghana and staff at Ashesi University.
FTF Ghana has partnered with Chess In Slums Africa, an organization making waves internationally by teaching underprivileged children how to play chess and changing their lives through telling impact stories. Through this initiative, the FTF beneficiaries will learn how to play chess to boost their intellect.
She added: "with the ShareAid initiative, we partner with other organizations and corporate bodies to organize charity events and share items to underprivileged children. Our first partnership was with SchoolInABag. They gave us 100 school bags which we distributed at the Bomigo EP Basic School in Keta in July last year. This event was also sponsored by Bel Aqua and Bel Beverages."
In December last year, FTF Ghana partnered with Mary Mary Foundation to organise a Christmas party for underprivileged children at the Efua Sutherland Park. This event was supported by Twellium Ghana, Doughman Foods, and many other well-meaning people who support their cause.
Also in January this year, Peduase Valley Resort invited FTF and their beneficiaries to have lunch, have fun and meet with their members of staff. The children had a wonderful experience that they had never had before.
Kezia and her team took a huge step to launch their flagship project called “The FTF Village” in October 2021. The FTF Village Project will cater for the accommodation, education and other support needs of underprivileged children in Ghana. It will be an enabling environment where underprivileged children will not only be able to dream, but achieve their dreams too. The launch of this project was attended by a good number of dignitaries in Ghana at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly auditorium. Notable among them were Hon. Joe Ghartey, MP for Essikado/Ketan Constituency, as the Guest of Honour and Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee, former minister of state as the Guest speaker.
Their current goal is to raise GHC500,000 for phase one of the project, which will go into purchasing a 5-acre piece of land, walling it and constructing the ground floor of the education and training blocks of the facility. They have already raised some part of it which has been used to make part payment of the land where the project will be sited in Adukrom-Aprebi.
"We have realized that making an impact shouldn’t be a one day show where we go and share items to children and leave them in the same state we found them," Kezia said. "We wish to give further help that goes beyond just a day. That was why we launched the STEP. However, in sponsoring the children and running this initiative, we have realized certain lapses, for example, the children’s environments.
"There are certain habits that we are trying to change but because the children go back to the same environment which is hindering their growth, it makes it difficult. Some of them also lack parental control so it is difficult for us to really know what happens when they are home after school. There are other problems like a common place for having sessions with the children. So we thought of a place where we could still be sponsoring these children but accommodating them, and giving them all the necessities of life like how it should be ideally, while connecting them with resource persons who will help them develop themselves."
"So that is what brought up the “For The Future Village” (FTF Village) idea. The FTF Village will be an eco-friendly gated community and a safe haven for underprivileged children. They will get to go home sometimes, their parents can visit, and then after a period of time, they can leave when they are old and mature enough to be on their own. By then, they would have learnt so much such that they can even start their own businesses and so on. The organization, through the “Networking For The Future” initiative will also help them to find jobs and give them capital to start their own businesses too. The FTF Village will only be a transit place," she explained.
“I believe that every single person on this earth was born with a gift given by God. However, no one gets to choose the parents they are born to. The absence of financial support, emotional support, familial support, guidance, and opportunity in the lives of many underprivileged children dashes their hopes and dreams. We at For The Future Ghana believe that our efforts can go a long way to bring hope to many underprivileged children and to help them reach their fullest potential irrespective of their social backgrounds. Our dream is to see every child who benefits from our initiatives make a difference in their various communities for the future of the children themselves, their families, communities, and the nation at large,” she added.
“We have also partnered with YouthsMAP from the USA, who are helping us develop ourselves through a wide range of mentorship programs.”
Aside from building the FTF Village, Kezia also hopes to build a school for underprivileged children and partner with more organisations both in Ghana and internationally.
Currently, a final year law student at the University of Ghana School of Law, Kezia believes that becoming a lawyer will make it easier for her to help the less privileged in society gain justice in the legal system of Ghana.
Kezia is also a Global Youth Ambassador at the TheirWorld Organisation, a global children’s charity committed to ending the global education crisis and unleashing the potential of the next generation.
FTF Ghana and Kezia Sanie won the Project/Initiative of the Year and Female Entrepreneur of the Year awards respectively at the Young Achievers Awards 2020.
Source: Kezia Sanie/For The Future Ghana
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