Ten years ago, on a hot, humid day in Ho, while sitting in a small stifling room with a dozen other people browsing the internet, I opened my inbox and saw an email with the subject: YOUR WEBSITE IS NOW LIVE. I took a minute to try to compose myself, but instead just started laughing. Reality hit, Volta Aid Foundation was now officially live. How on earth did I get myself in this position? I looked down at the bottom right of the computer to find the date. 17th of February 2010. My 22nd birthday.
Volta Aid Foundation was borne out of a desire to make a real difference in peoples lives. We didn’t just want to be a band-aid organistion – a feel-good fix – because as we had witnessed, band-aid organisations were aplenty. We wanted to make an impact in people’s lives by journeying with them and providing a lasting and genuine presence that allows them to transform their lives.
We are eternally grateful for all those volunteers who journeyed with us in those early years. We simply could not have achieved what we have without you. Our pioneering diabetes program was launched by one of our earliest volunteers. These innocuous beginnings set the foundations for an extensive outreach program that was recognized and supported by the local health authorities and reached over 5000 people, largely in rural communities. But it was our commitment to working with a nearby children’s home that really gave us a sense of purpose. Despite the challenges faced and the sectoral issues plaguing these homes, we pledged to do what we could to support the children and young people to reach their potential. This vow continues to this day where one of these then-children is completing her practical year of her teaching Diploma.
The hardest decision we made was to scale down our volunteer program and vigorously pursue self-sustainability. Our multi-purpose building, located in the heart of Ho, took six agonising years to complete. There were times when we doubted ourselves. Had we bit off more than we could chew? Probably, but wasn’t that the way that we began?!?! Brick by brick it came together and soon we had a functioning building and launched our social enterprise laundry business. Still in its infancy, the business is providing employment opportunities in a town where formal jobs are scarce and will aim to offset costs of a skills-training sewing program that is being formulated.
It is our scholarship holders and graduates that continue to astonish us. They are an inspiring group of young people who have overcome enormous challenges. Now, after completing various levels of education, they have blossomed, regained their self-confidence, and are doing amazing things. They are the future of their communities, their country, and are the reason we do what we do.
Our achievements are modest but real. Volunteers, both in Ghana and people giving time from abroad; donors supporting our work with financial support; advocates who spread the word about our work; you are all part of the Volta Aid Foundation DNA. It is impossible for us to adequately put into words how humbled we are by the support we have received from across the world. So, as we say in the Volta Region, akpe ka ka ka, and we look forward to another ten years of impact.