I am thrilled to return to Ghana in 2 weeks for the expansion of The Elena Haasen Library, Hope for Ghana’s third project dedicated on March 11, 2015 to honor the memory of the daughter of a dear friend. Elena Haasen’s ideals and values continue to live on today at Tegbi Agbedrafor Basic School, home to 600 primary and junior secondary school students, where The Elena Haasen Library is thriving. The assistant headmaster, Noble, has assured me that the reading level of his students has dramatically increased as students look forward to using the library each day. In addition to an infusion of hundreds of new books to the library, Hope for Ghana will bring its signature computer lab to this learning center. A new Dell computer system from the capital city, Accra, has been purchased and will be installed in the library soon after my arrival. Learning software including Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book Encyclopedia will complement software that teaches math, reading, spelling and science, changing forever the face of these students’ education. It is an exciting time in Ghana, and an emotional time for me. The generosity of people from Pittsburgh to Hamburg has changed the lives of these grateful Ghanaian children. And on October 1, 2015 Hope for Ghana will formally open the computer lab, exactly one year after the untimely death of Elena at age 16.
Since leaving Ghana only 6 months ago I continue to be astounded by the generosity of the local and world community towards Hope for Ghana’s mission. Hope for Ghana continues to be a Pittsburgh story. In March, while I was still in Ghana, 7 year old Marco dedicated his birthday party to Hope for Ghana, raising money and collecting wonderful school supplies for the children in the Volta Region. This came on the heels of 6 year old Ashleigh dedicating her birthday party this past winter to Hope for Ghana, collecting many of the books that are now housed in The Elena Haasen Library. This summer the parents of 3 year old Johnny for the third year in a row asked family and friends, instead of buying Johnny gifts, to donate to Hope for Ghana. My 8 year old patient Ricky continues to bring me the finest of shoes to share with his peers on the other side of the world, children he will never know but children that clearly touch his heart. And Elena Haasen has made Hope for Ghana a true Hamburg story. The fan club of Hamburg’s professional football team, FC St. Pauli, has honored Elena by commiting themselves to Hope for Ghana’s mission. Through various platforms several thousands of dollars have been raised towards the upcoming expansion of The Elena Haasen Library. Even FC St. Pauli’s premier player, Jan-Philipp Kalla, has symbolically fueled this campaign. I am humbled and grateful, and truly moved by the generosity from hundreds of people all around the world.
To all those who have come along this journey with me I thank you for the blessing that you are in the lives of these impoverished children in Ghana. Our journey continues to impact more people than you can imagine. There is indeed hope through opportunity, and hope through education in the remotest of villages in Ghana. I can assure you that Ghanaians are touched that so many people believe in their future.
As the voice of these children in Ghana I thank you from the bottom of my heart for traveling on this journey with me and helping to bring these children educational tools never before afforded to them. You have allowed my vision to come to life. More big news is on the horizon for Hope for Ghana as I write to you today. In the next few days Hope for Ghana will have very exciting news to announce as its story continues to grow. Stay tuned …
With love and gratitude,