The Methodist Church Ghana in 2006 as part of her moral duty and social action set up The Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village at Gyaahadze. This was necessitated after the realization that children from Winneba and its environs were given out to fishermen from Afram Plains Donkorkrom and its adjourning towns due to financial constraints of the parents of these children. These parents gave their children out upon having been given a firm promise that they would be sent to school and that maximum care would be given them. Much to the contrary, the fishermen upon having them in their custody sent the children out for fishing and would as a result be exposed to all sorts of risks and unhealthy conditions detrimental to their wellbeing. The sad news was that when these children were trapped in the lake and died, the fishermen used them as bait to attract fish.
The above revelations stunned the Most Rev Dr. Robert Kwesi Aboagye-Mensah and his team who were on a visit to the Afram Plains Mission Circuit of the Methodist Church Ghana. Upon assuming office as the Presiding Bishop, Most Rev Aboagye-Mensah embarked on Diocesan visits to the Dioceses within the Methodist Connexion in Ghana. The first of such visits was to Koforidua Diocese in the first week of February 2004. The then Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev (Dr.) Emmanuel G L Twum-Baah put together a small group that would take the Presiding Bishop round the Diocese. The group included the following Rev (Dr.) Isaac Nana Abekah (Supt. Minister, Aburi); (Rt.) Rev Christopher N. Andam (Synod Secretary); Very Rev William A. Mpere-Gyekye (Supt. Minister, Koforidua) and Very Rev Seth Afful Sackey (Supt. Minister Akuase). It was this group, led by Bishop Twum-Baah that took Most Rev, Robert Aboagye-Mensah to Donkorkrom and decided to make it to the lakeside to see the work of the fisher folks. The group’s interactions with an NGO based along the road to the lakeside brought about this horrific and inhumane treatment these unfortunate children go through in the hands of their so-called benefactors.
The response then was for the church to build an orphanage or a village where such children when intercepted are sent to for care and nurturing, and to be provided with shelter, food, clothing, education and everything that would help them live a fulfilled life and become productive to their families, societies and the nation at large. This the Most Rev Robert Aboagye-Mensah resolved to see its birth and development. Initially the Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village was to be setup at Maamekrobo in the Afram Plains Mission Circuit. The Rt. Rev Twum-Baah made land available there for the project which was inspected by Rafiki Foundation Inc. who were to partner the church to setup the village. The Rafiki Foundation Inc. upon further consultations with the Church later agreed that Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village be built at Gyaahadze near Winneba when Rt. Rev Jerimiah Morrison, the then Bishop of Winneba Diocese worked hard to secure the “Rafiki Land” through a kind donation of a 20 acre land by Nana Heitey, the Chief of Gyaahadze.
What we have been doing;
Since 2007, the Village provides quality care to these disadvantaged children and orphans. The Village which started with six (6) children now has thirty three (33) of them aged 3years to 13years in residence. Rafiki thus provides living and educational facilities for them as well as other children within the community the Village finds itself and has a total of one hundred and twenty four (124) pupils in her school from kindergarten to JHS Two. The overall vision for the establishment of the school in the village which is envisioned, consequently, to also benefit the surrounding communities is to create a conducive environment where teaching and learning is not inhibited in anyway so that young men and women are helped to develop their potentials to the fullest of their abilities to enable them become leaders of integrity with life skills which would promote their physical and spiritual well-being. Also that the children in the Village would learn the essence of integration and inclusive culture and do away with narrow mentalities.
The Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village, Gyaahadze near Winneba thus seeks Partners, Friends, Well-wishes, Philanthropists, kind hearted men and women and corporate entities to come support us to expand and develop other structures. This will make Rafiki fully functional for the attainment of the vision for its establishment.
What we hope to be;
The Village aspires to house a 100 children at any given time, develop a model school for the educational needs of the children of Rafiki as well as those in its adjourning communities.
In line with these aspirations, we are eager to embark on the second phase of the Village’s infrastructural base. At the Moment the Village has Five Cottages, an Assembly hall, Dining hall, School blocks for Basic and JHS and two residences for the Director and Social Relations Officer of the Village. The second phase would comprise additional five cottages, two Dormitories for the growing boys and girls, Administration block and a Secondary school. We are of the view that what we hope to be falls right well within Social-Cooperate-Responsibilities of many Corporate bodies, Partners, Friends and Well-wishers. Therefore you are being urged to come on board to help, as we seek to put smiles on the faces of these children and orphans in our care as well as the children within the communities the Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village is situated.
Our gratitude; Our Thanks;
The Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village owes its existence to the following personalities for the roles that they played. We are grateful to the small group put together by the Rt. Rev. Twum-Baah who insisted that Most Rev Aboagye-Mensah as part of his visit to Koforidua Diocese visit Afram Plains Mission Circuit. Rafiki is indebted to Rt. Rev. Dr. Emmanuel G. L. Twum-Baah who readily accepted the group’s proposal for Presiding Bishop to visit Afram plains. He also decided that the team visits the lake side as well as the NGO who were working to save the children being used for fishing. Bishop Jerimiah Morrison follows as we express our gratitude to these kind hearted personalities whose work brought into being the Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village. He worked hard to get Rafiki established at Winneba. How can we thank you enough, Nana Heity of Gyaahadze, for the 20 acres of land you gave without cost for the building of Rafiki?
For the Most Rev Dr. Robert K. Aboagye-Mensah, Rafiki comes to you with tones of gratitude and thanks for its conception, birth and nurture. Indeed you are unquestionably the father of Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village. The Rt. Rev Joseph Kow Ghunney deserve special mention. It was when he assumed office as the Bishop of the Methodist Diocese of Winneba that Rafiki started receiving children into its custody. With his whole heart, mind and strength, Bishop Ghunney guided the formative years of the village. Rt. Rev Dr. John K. Buabeng-Odoom, your love for Rafiki started when you were the Synod Secretary of Winneba Diocese and as a Bishop of the Diocese, you have proved to be a worthy father of the Village.
The name Very Rev Ekow Sey is synonymous with the Rafiki Village. As a foundation Director, you sacrificed your all for the well footing of the Village. You made Rafiki what it is today. Madam Gladys A. Odoi and Mrs Araba Ata Sam (Aunt Araba) with you around as General Directors of Board of Social Responsibility and Rural Development, Osofo Sey had the backbone to work without counting the cost, so we say ayekoo to you as well. Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur, the provider of the JHS block for the Village school and the Rafiki Friends from USA who gave for the reconstruction of the burnt kitchen and a Dining Hall you too deserve our thanks. The Village Advisory Committee, your work for Rafiki cannot be gross over as we give out thank you to those who deserve it. We are aware of the support that has come from various Dioceses, and Organisations at Connexional, Diocesan, Circuit, and Societal levels and all other groups and individuals to make life at Rafiki noticeably worthwhile. To all of you we say thank you.
We will miss out somewhere if we continue to call out names of people who are worthy to be mentioned to show our gratitude, therefore, we say for all who in diverse ways have contributed to the wellbeing of Methodist Rafiki Satellite Village, either in cash or kind and by visits to the Village have brought smiles to the faces of these unfortunate children, we say have “Our gratitude; Our thanks: and may the good Lord bless you all but, Remember, Rafiki needs much support even now than before.
By Rev’d. Dr. Isaac Nana Abekah
(Chairman; AMYM Governing Council)