The Africa Sankofa Fund aims to empower rural communities located in Ghana, West Africa.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Newsletter October 2009


Dinah and ninety children moved into the Amudurasi Community Daycare Centre in October, 2008. It has been an exciting year for all. An assistant has been hired to help with the care giving. One of the parents prepares a nutritious midday meal. At the time of the move, parents formed a committee charged with ensuring the smooth operation of the program, and there is a waiting list of additional parents asking to enrol their children when the Centre is able to accommodate them.


In April, the Daycare Centre had a guest for the morning. Ietje Rijnsburger is an early childhood educator from Holland. She was visiting her son in Ghana and was a guest of trustees, Nana and Comfort. It was not long before Ietje had the children singing along with her, mimicking her motions as she spelled out the various parts of her face. Thank you, Ietje for your interest and support. We hope to see you back in Amudurasi one day soon.


With a demand for more daycare spaces, the Sankofa Fund will turn its attention to raising funds to enable construction of the remaining two rooms at the Centre.

One of these rooms will be divided to provide for a pre-natal/post-natal maternity clinic. Community health nurses come to the village regularly to educate young mothers and to vaccinate infants. At the present time, they have to manage without a room, gathering under a tree near the village market.

The other part of the room will be dedicated to a library for the school children and stocked with locally written and produced reading material, and thus offering them a chance to practise their reading skills.


An exciting new opportunity has arisen in Maidstone, Sask., home of Trustee, Jean MacPherson, and Nana’s hometown. The Student Representative Council at the Maidstone High School have chosen the Africa Sankofa Fund as the recipient of some of their fund-raising efforts during the school year. This new arrangement will provide a new personal awareness by students of issues which face
people in Africa, and will ensure that their fundraising goes to a worthwhile project. Stay tuned for updates during the year.


While promoting his book, Trustee Chairman, Nana Amoako Agyeman, has also been on the lookout for potential supporters for two more projects which he wants to see manifest in Ghana.

The District Library in New Edubiase is in dire need of refurbishment. Nana, along with support from District Assemblyman, Honourable Mr. William Adansi-Gyimah, has pledged to see the Library restocked with books and ultimately turned into a Distance Learning Centre. He wants to involve the University of Winneba through their Distance Learning Program and thus provide an opportunity for more teacher training in the Adansi South District. That part of Ghana has the highest ratio of poorly trained teachers in the country, and establishing the Learning Centre will improve that situation.

Nana is also working on a much larger proposal, one which will provide an exciting educational opportunity for youngsters in Ghana and abroad and at the same time generate an economic boost with significant employment opportunities for his area. He and his friend, Adamfo Amoako, the Cultural Officer for New Edubiase, have put together a draft proposal for a School for Performing Arts and Culture. They envision a school which will draw on Ashanti culture to provide instruction in traditional and contemporary dance and music; drama and film production; as well as the numerous crafts found associated with the Ashanti people. At a time when the world is becoming so homogenized through globalization, it is important to strengthen the traditions which give peoples their uniqueness and this school will build on existing Ashanti pride for young people from the area and at the same time expose visiting students from other parts of Ghana and abroad with a dramatic and meaningful cross-cultural opportunity.


Trustee Chairman, Nana Amoako Agyeman, published his first collection of poetry in April of this year. Named Rainbow Round the African Sun, the proceeds from sales of the book have been pledged to the Africa Sankofa Fund. Nana and his wife and fellow trustee, Comfort, travelled to Canada in August for the wedding of Trustee Kathleen Baillie’s daughter, Laurel, and then proceeded to promote the sale of the book through readings and radio/television interviews.

The book can be ordered online from Nana’s blog, Why not order a copy? – it will make a great gift, and the proceeds go to a worthy cause.


During Nana and Comfort’s visit to Canada this year, many folks made contributions to the Africa Sankofa Fund. These donations, along with proceeds from the sale of Nana’s books totalled $770. Pictured with them, is Fund Treasurer, Kathleen Baillie.

How You Can Help

There are different ways in which individuals can help. Perhaps the easiest and most effective at this time is with a financial contribution. At this time, contributions are required to enable construction to continue on the remaining two classrooms of the Daycare Centre. Remember - a tax receipt will be issued and your donation will act as a credit against your Canadian Income Tax. Mail your donations to the treasurer as follows:

Kathleen Baillie 334 J.J. Thiesen Way Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 5P4 Phone (country code 001) (306)934-0054 E-mail Address:


The legendary Sankofa bird is a powerful symbol for the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa, with its head turned facing backwards, often with an egg in its mouth. The Sankofa bird looks back to where it came from, as it decides the path that it will take in the future. In the same way, past history and traditions must be remembered and respected as plans are made for the future. The Africa Sankofa Fund chose this symbol because it represents the philosophy which will be adopted to turn the charity’s objectives into reality.

For more information, contact Kathleen in
Saskatoon (as above), or Rod and Comfort
in Ghana:

Rod and Comfort McLaren
P.O. Box TD1106
Mobile 233-244-891687

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rainbow Round the African Sun

New Book Published!
Globalization has effected profound changes in the societies of mankind and the environment in which they exist. Rainbow Round the African Sun interprets these changes as observed and experienced by a Canadian who has chosen to make his home in West Africa. His poems provide a viewpoint originating out of the respect for nature from his rural Canadian background and enriched by his cross-cultural experience in Ghana. Rainbow Round the African Sun is a book whose inner depth far exceeds the sum of its parts. It is a story that the world needs to hear.

Proceeds from sales of Rainbow Round the African Sun will be donated to the Sankofa Fund. Please see Links of Interest (upper left side bar) to learn more about the author or purchase a copy of this wonderful collection.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jan 24th, 2009 Update

Greetings, all,

I am pleased to report that there was a very successful meeting in Amudurasi of parents of the Daycare this morning. Over 50 parents in attendance, and very good participation. They voted on a committee to run the Daycare, and have assigned the committee several areas of concern which need to be addressed. I observed, and Comfort offered only minimal comments - the people seem more than capable of looking after affairs themselves. Very promising, and most gratifying.

There are more than 100 children attending daily. Understandably, it is much more than Dinah is able to handle by herself. A capable young man has been recruited to assist with the work. Food is being prepared daily for the children. Parents are contributing to the cost of the care and the food. Concern has been expressed about the need for toilet facilities, and the committee has been charged with finding a solution.

We are contemplating the idea of a big durbar to officially open the facility. With the change in government, I expect that we will wait until some important appointments have been made so as to invite several of these people to attend. It is important to draw attention to these new facilities so that government agencies are aware of them.

It is most gratifying to see the interaction between the children and their care providers. The children are thriving with the loving care that Dinah provides, but Comfort says that Dinah is growing weary from the load. She needs assistance, and while this new person will be a big help, it is apparent that more will be required in the long term. The care providers are offering a very nurturing environment and providing love and attention. They are already providing much more than a babysitting service. With training in Early Childhood Learning, they would be able to offer even more to the children in their charge. It is my dream that we will one day find someone (or several) who will be able to share their experience and training with these committed people. If any of you know someone who is looking for an opportunity such as this, pass them on to us. Comfort and I are prepared to share our house for any one so inclined. (as a bonus, we just got electricity to the house this week so we can offer that as part of the package!!)