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 – Vivien, Davina and Nane, took a step towards starting the charity organisation by consulting their English Language teacher, Ms Elsie Gifty Lamptey, 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 did our own event all by ourselves. We were all only 16 years old at the time in 2016.”
Kezia now works with a well-structured team 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 and Jude Arthur for Public Relations, Derrick Abbeyquaye as the digital head, Maame Aba Mensah as head of the FTF Curriculum, and Mirabel Mensah who’s the Takoradi branch leader.
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 also currently running two initiatives – the Student Training and Education Project (STEP) and the ShareAid Initiative.
“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 connect them to resource persons who help them develop themselves holistically,” Kezia said.
“There are currently 10 beneficiaries under this initiative. Three-year-old 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 and so on.”
“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. Our final beneficiary is Prince who is a gifted boy and can make toy cars that can move with wood. After identifying Prince, we partnered with Asustem Robotics (a STEM Educator in Ghana) to teach him Robotics, and his progress will be monitored by us and some staff at Ashesi University.”
She added: “with the ShareAid initiative, we partner with other organisations and corporate bodies to distribute items and goodies 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 this year. This event was also sponsored by Bel Aqua and Bel Beverages.”
Kezia and her team are set to take another huge step towards launching a flagship project called The FTF Village, which would cater for the needs of underprivileged children in Ghana. Their 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.
“We have realised 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 realised 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 parents 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 basically, that is what the FTF Village is. A safe haven for underprivileged children. They 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 FTF Village will only be a transit place,” she explained.
Aside from building the FTF Village, the FTF Ghana team also hopes to build a school for underprivileged children and partner with more international organisations.
Currently, a third-year 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.
FTF Ghana and Kezia Sanie won the Project/Initiative of the Year and Female Entrepreneur of the Year awards respectively at the Young Achiever’s Awards 2020.
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