AIMing to engage our elders 16 October 2018
The old woman looks after the child to grow its teeth and the young one in turn looks after the old woman when she loses her teeth. ~ Akan proverb
The sad but undeniable truth is that in a country that used to be known for respecting and valuing its elderly, many of Ghana’s aged are leading lonely and difficult lives. Those that served their parents and children so well often have no support in their own old age, their parents’ generation having predeceased them and their children scattered far and wide and increasingly concerned primarily with their own nuclear families.
As the traditional safety net provided by the extended family system gives way to the upheavals inherent in an increasingly mobile society, our elderly are increasingly vulnerable and often left bereft of meaningful companionships as well as essential feelings of being useful and valued.
The late American actress, Bette Davis, once remarked that “[o]ld age is no place for sissies.” Indeed, even as they struggle with increasing bodily aches, failing health, and diminished vigor, they must also contend with discrimination, neglect and sometimes even the danger of abuse from caregivers.
Enter AGE, the Association of Ghana’s Elders, which AIMs to provide programs and to support institutionalized systems that cater to the needs of the growing aged population. AGE seeks “to give senior citizens a voice and multiple platforms on which they can engage, and create an environment in which they can enjoy healthy, happy lives.”
The constituents of AGE are the aged themselves as well as those concerned about their own aged loved ones. Those who are interested in community, cultural, and human development in our society are also encouraged to join. All of us are aging after all; it behooves us to ensure that ours is still a country that values and safeguards its elders.
At the individual level, the organization will help improve access to products and essential services for our elders. AGE members will enjoy “a support group that speaks to their specific needs and empowers them to support others as well. They will not only be consumers, but will find ways of providing goods and services to meet market needs.”
To paraphrase the late Hubert H. Humphrey, the moral test of our society is how we treat the vulnerable, including those who are in the twilight of life. The AIM is happy to join forces with AGE in its mission to improve the quality of life of our respected elders.
The AIM Charity Partner matching funds program supports those who help themselves by matching funds raised by the Partners. Charity Champions advance the cause of their chosen Charity Partner by registering one or more 4-member team to run in the Challenge for Charity Relay and by persuading friends and networks to donate to the chosen Charity. You can support these efforts by visiting their pages and sponsoring your chosen Charity or Champion.
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A Chance for Children 18 May 2018
Chance — the possibility or probability of an event or occurrence. When the possibility is hoped for, it is an opportunity; when it is dreaded, it is a risk, an exposure to danger.
For the countless forgotten children living, homeless, on the streets of Accra and elsewhere in Ghana, exposure to danger is their daily reality—danger of hunger and malnutrition; certainty that they will be uneducated and ill-prepared to overcome the many struggles of life; the probability that they will fall prey to two-legged predators who exploit vulnerable children.
Life is a struggle— Ɔbra yɛ ko, as the Akans say—is a familiar truism, a fact of life daunting even for adults living with relative privilege. But a day in the life of a child living on the streets of Accra is harrowing: in inclement weather, they cower; with no assurance of adequate, nutritious food, their physical and mental growth is stunted; with little or no education, their development and future prospects are diminished; with scant protection from life’s many assaults, many perish.
Without intervention from caring communities, chances are these children will continue living in danger. One such caring community resource is Chance for Children (CFC), a local charity dedicated to ensuring that, in the words of co-founder Amon Kotey, “Accra’s street children experience love and security” and receive sound educational and vocational training.
Every month, CFC supports hundreds of these at-risk kids in many ways. There is the drop-in center, where non-residential kids can eat, bathe, and enjoy at least temporary respite from street life. There are also secure, residential facilities, where over 60 children are boarded under caring adult supervision and are able to complete schooling in relative safety. There are opportunities to undergo vocational training or further studies to enable these children to take control of their lives and become productive members of their communities. Where appropriate, Chance for Children also supports numerous youths in their family settings and reaches out to administer to hundreds of children on the streets.
Once again, the Accra International Marathon (AIM) is AIMing to Care for our Children by supporting CFC as one of this year’s Charity Partners. Chance for Children offers at-risk street children the opportunity to be safe, loved, well fed, and better equipped to increase their chances of developing their potential and achieving happiness.
The AIM Charity Partner matching funds program supports those who help themselves by matching funds raised by the Partners. Charity Champions champion the cause in various ways. This year, you can AIM to Care as a Charity Champion simply by registering a relay team or teams to participate in AIM2018, scheduled for 28 October. You will be supported to achieve your victory, and you will enjoy the accolades and celebration that is the due of every champion.
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