They saw the challenges. We saw the challenges, too. They thought those challenges needed solutions. We thought same too. But we thought the government needed to fix the problems. We thought we needed a lot of money to solve them. But they thought they could brighten their corner with very little or nothing at all.
They looked beyond the intimidating odds and the seemingly unsurmountable hurdles. And they made the difference despite the odds. Like the biblical lantern that cannot remain hidden, they were noticed. Their touching and impactful stories have been told on various television stations. Those who watched how they have changed society have prayed for them, thanked them and appreciated them in many ways. But tonight at the Accra International Conference Centre, they will be celebrated.
Today is the night for the MTN Heroes of Change Grand Finale, and 10 of the outstanding people in our country who save lives and inspire hope will be rewarded. The overall winner will take home GHC100,000. Until the government took away four zeros from our currency, I would have said ONE BILLION CEDIS. Below is a list of the ten finalists who will be walking home with various amounts of cash. One will take home the grand prize of GHC100,000:
Mr. Nayina Karim is a Social Entrepreneur who established a rehabilitation centre and school for malnourished children in Karaga community in the Northern region.
Yvonne Boaduaa is from the Eastern region of Ghana. She has set up a training and housing facility dedicated to giving physically challenged persons the skills they need to enable them work for themselves.
Mrs Salome Francois established the New Horizon School 40 years ago to support children with disabilities. Through her hundreds of children with learning disabilities have acquired creative skills.
Isaac Adjaottor is a Community Health Worker from Ada Foah in the Greater Accra Region. He has distributed over 6,000 bed nets in his village and surrounding villages to help reduce malaria in the community. He has set up “Farm for School” (a farm he cultivated himself) and uses proceeds from the sale of the products,” to pay the school fees of deprived children.
Madam Paulina Opei established the “Save Our Lives” Orphanage to support orphans with formal education and provide them the opportunity to have brighter future.
Rev. Jehu Appiah has set up a centre dedicated to the care of disabled children in Apam, in the Central region of Ghana.
Dr. Emmanuel Bidzaikin established Faith Community Hospital, the only hospital in Nakpanduri (in the Northern Region of Ghana. The hospital has so far catered for 96,520 patients.
Emmanuel Quartey established the Jaynii Streetwise Foundation that helps street children acquire skills in music, dance, drumming and the development of artifact. He currently has 52 children benefiting from his charity.
Nicholas Kumah established a child advocacy group which ensures that the children a in his catchment area re registered on NHIS. His group also takes care of street children and undertakes activities aimed at protecting the child in his community.
Paul Semeh has an NGO called Street Children Empowerment Fund which seeks to rescue children from the street and put them into school. He assists by paying for their education and he also provides them with school uniforms and text books. Very often he has to give them stipends to help them take of their basic needs.
MTN Ghana received an overwhelming response following the launch of Season II of the Heroes of Change CSR program. The company received over 1,000 nominations for the second season, a stark increase over Heroes of Change Season I’s 600 nominations.
Launched in April 2015, Heroes of Change Season II programmed a three-month window for submission of entries. The entries were submitted online, via whatsapp and in hard copy at MTN locations or by post, with online entries recording the highest number of submission, with 850 entries. After the submission deadline of June 16 2015, entries were screened and pruned down to an initial short list of 100 entries.
The shortlist was pruned further to 30, following which a team visited each of the project sites to verify submissions.
The final selection jury are Rev. Albert Ocran (Motivational Speaker), Dr. Doris Dartey (Communications Consultant), Mr. Mohammed Awal (Publisher) and Mr. Sidney Casely Hayford (Economist). They selected the top 10 projects which were televised in a 13-week period, starting in December 2015.
To be selected as an MTN Heroes of Change, an individual should exhibit selflessness and must have made a personal and sustainable effort in addressing a significant issue. He /She should be able to justify their nomination based on one or more of the following fields of endeavour:
Education – engaged in educational projects aimed at improving literacy and enabling members of the community to become agents of social change
Health- dedicated to awareness creation and advocacy for eradication of any identifiable health issue.
Economic Empowerment– engaged in in projects aimed at building the capacity of members of a community in order for them to become self-sufficient and to enhance their livelihoods.
Prizes for Heroes of Change Winners
The owner of the project with the greatest impact will be the 2015 MTN Hero of Change and will receive project support of GHC100, 000. There will be category winners for Education, Health and Economic Empowerment, each of whom will receive GHC 20,000, and seven additional prizes of GHC 5,000 each.
The MTN Heroes of Change initiative was launched in 2013 to reward and recognise hard working Ghanaians who are bringing change to their communities and Ghana as a whole. MTN hopes to encourage the spirit of giving back to the community through this intervention.
Credit: manassehazure.com with additional files from MTN Ghana Foundation.