20 May, 2009

The Ghana-Canada Association of British Columbia: One of the Most Active Community Organizations in the Lower Mainland

By Charles Quist-Adade, PhD

Barely two years from now, in 2011 to be precise, the Ghana-Canada Association of British Columbia (GCABC), will mark its silver jubilee. Formed in 1986 the GCABC set itself a mission is to serve as a support group for the social and economic development of Ghanaians and Ghanaian-Canadians and others who identify with Ghana who reside in British Columbia. And it has a lot to celebrate. Characterized as one of the most active community organizations in the Lower Mainland, the association has risen from a modest beginning to a vibrant and dynamic association with an impressive list of achievements.

The association with a membership of approximately 400 has the following objectives: to promote and protect the interests of Ghanaian-Canadians in British Columbia, to educate ourselves, the youth and the Canadian public about the history, heritage and current affairs of both Ghana-Canada, to provide a forum for activities and events that will promote cultural awareness as well as culture exchange between peoples of African descent., to undertakeand /or sponsor programmes and activities that allow British Columbians to learn about Ghana and her rich culture and traditions, and to liaise and collaborate with organizations with similar interests.

For the past 23 years, the past executives of the GCABC together with its supportive members have faithfully worked hard to accomplish many of these objectives. The current executive committee, which was elected in December 2007, is no exception. Speaking at a gala event marking the 52nd second independence anniversary of the Republic of Ghana in March this year, president of the GCABC outlined several activities and accomplishments of the current executives. Below are excerpts from his speech.

“We have created a scholarship fund for our youth. Currently we have raised more than $3,000. Our short term goal is to reach $5,000 by the July next year and give out the first scholarships during our Ghana Fest celebrations in August 2009. We organized one of the most successful cultural events in recent years—Ghana Fest08— in August this year. It well attended it became the talk of the town the whole of the summer!

We revised our constitution. Please, join me in thanking the constitution drafting committee members for their superb job and sacrifice. Please, stand up to be acknowledged if you are here: Mrs. Theresa Ohene Asante, Messrs Kwenu Turkson, Godfrey Lovelace-Dodoo, Mr. Kwadwo Frempong, and Mrs. Gifty Frimpong. We are grateful to you, respected compatriots!

We also organized a very successful family picnic in the summer. The picnic was not only well attended, it was real fun as members engaged in a series of games and even participated in ludu, spar, ampe and dancing competitions! We are particularly beholden to Dr. Clement Apaak for providing music to entertain us. Chief, we are grateful to you!

We jointly organized with Kwantlen Polytechnic University this year’s African Heritage/Black History Month Confab in February. We sponsored the African Youth Symposium organized by Mr. Bernard Piprah and his colleagues. We continued with tradition, by organizing the 51st Independence Anniversary of our Motherland.

Thanks to a colleague of mine at Kwantlen, we got our website “sexed” up and made more user-friendly. Dr. Xing Liu gave our website as a project to his computer science students to work on during the spring semester. And by Jove! They did a great job! Dr. Liu, we are grateful to you. At the appropriate time we will honour your students, particularly Mrs. Farhana Asif, who has volunteered to be our “webmistress.”

We rallied the community to participate in several events organized by individual members and gave presents to paid-up members on the occasions of their anniversaries. We also assisted in organizing, sadly enough, the funeral services of the late Mr. Mike Antwi here in Surrey and in Ghana. The Association purchased a wreath and wrote an eulogy which were presented at the funeral services in Ghana.

Thanks to our organizing secretary and treasurer we were able to increase the number of paid-up members substantially. And thanks to your patronage of our events, we were able to improve the financial health of the GCABC. We have collaborated with the KBNF on several projects including a very successful benefit table tennis tournament held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Our association donated cash and in-kind services to this fundraiser event. Many of the executives and association members helped with the organization of the tournament.

Future Plans
Briefly, here are our future plans:
In 2009 we plan to register a charity wing of the association to raise funds specifically for our youth scholarship project. We intend to adopt a village school in Ghana. We also plan to apply for federal and provincial grants to set up a Ghanaian languages program for our youth. We hope to work with other African/ Black organizations in lower mainland especially the newly formed United African Communities of BC to build African Cultural Centre, a centre we call our own!

Last, but certainly not the least, we will launch what we call “Our Contribution to our Children’s Future Appeal” to solicit financial contributions from our members to our Youth Scholarship Fund. Letters will be addressed to you in the New Year. Be part of history! Stand up and be counted! We hope we count on your enthusiastic support.”

The rest of the executive committee members are:

Mr. Joseph Frimpong, Vice President

Ms. Patience Okantey, Secretary

and Acting Organizing Secretary

Mrs. Mary Stacey, Assistant Secretary

Mrs. Judith Lartey, Treasurer

Ms. Akosua Asumadu, Youth Coordinator

Mr. Kweku Gaisie, Public Relations Officer

Mrs. Gifty Frimpong, Women's Coordinator

Mrs. Augusta Odoom, Assistant Treasurer

        copyright (c) 2008, Ghana Canada Association. All right reserved.