SRC Africa Aid is a project founded to advance the long-term objectives of Terrestres Servo Coronas to actively improve the lives of children, their families and the wider population within the African Members of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Our Project Chair Lady Mandy Richardson-Mills, and our Executive Director Paul Borrow-Longain, jointly believe that it’s our duty to actively support our Commonwealth cousins in Africa to improve their quality of life via increased educational and healthcare support.
To build a strong, self sufficient, economy and further socio-economic advancement and prosperity within the African member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, it’s imperative to start with a solid foundation. Two of the most important components of which are the assurance of quality healthcare and the provision of educational opportunities for Africa’s youth.
While it’s impossible for all the charities and NGO’s operating in Africa to complete this task, let alone one project, we wholeheartedly believe that Terrestres Servo Coronas via the SRC Africa Aid project, can provide a component of the solution.
SRC Africa Aid was named in honour of the parents of the projects founding Chair Lady Mandy Richardson-Mills. It honours the memory of her late father Reginald, who sadly passed away in 2014, and the the lifetime of public service of her mother Joan. Terrestres Servo Coronas was honoured and humbled by the dedication to the peoples of Africa by their daughter and believed that naming the project after the two most important people in her life was most appropriate. It also honours Mark Kwame Sakyi our Project Manager in Ghana who has dedicated his life to the people of Ghana in both his vocation as a Police Officer and his dedication to the education and health care of its children.
Following in the commitment shown to the African members of the Commonwealth of Nations by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and by her father King George VI before her, Terrestres Servo Coronas endeavours to do its own small part.
Mandy’s Africa Story
Well I woke at 5.30am on Friday 2nd December 2016. As I got out of bed and looked out of the window, the darkness and cold circled me, as if to remind me the next time I woke things would be very very different. Little did I know standing there, looking out on to the frosty road outside that my life was about to change forever and when I returned home again I most certainly wouldn’t be the same person.
This was the day I was heading to Ghana, West Africa to volunteer and donate the goods I’d bought. As I made my way to the airport my hands were sweating, and my heart was pounding. I was so excited and yet so nervous. I had seen photos of the places I would be going, but I had a feeling that nothing was going to prepare me for the two weeks ahead. Many thoughts ran through my head that morning, what if they didn’t like me, what if I couldn’t understand them, what if something went wrong and I’m so far from home. Before I knew it though my thoughts were interrupted by a gentleman telling me he was here to take me to the plane. I got settled in my seat and laid my head back as the engines roared and thundered into action. I closed my eyes as the plane took off and remember thinking ‘no going back now Mand’.
Six and a half hours later we landed in Accra, the Capital of Ghana. After clearing security and collecting my luggage I was wheeled out of arrivals and the warm night air hit me, a sharp contrast to the minus 2 degrees I’d left behind. Then the people that had come to greet me were there in front of me. As each welcomed me to Ghana my nerves disappeared, everyone was so friendly & welcoming. We headed for our overnight hotel before travelling to Obo the following day and starting the real work.
As the next day dawned and we made our way to Obo by taxi, reality really hit me firmly in the face. The roads were mainly very dusty and bumpy and as I looked out of the window all I could see were women and children carrying anything and everything in big tubs on their heads, not even having to hold them but balanced perfectly as they walked. I look in confusion as one of my team explained it’s how they carry their things and they were walking in the road to try and sell their wares to make money to eat. As I watched the little children walking between the cars risking their lives as the traffic passed them by, tears welled up in my eyes. It was then that I truly realised that this trip really was going to be heart breaking as well as heart warming.
When we arrived in Obo I unpacked the suitcase of goods I had brought with me for the children & boys Football Team. Clothes, pens, paints, crayons, colouring books, colouring pencils, writing pencils, sharpeners and paint brushes. I also bought football shorts for the town’s Under 13’s Boy’s Football team. It seemed a drop in the ocean to what help these children needed, but I hoped it would help a little. A small team was going to the first school.
We headed to the first school the Bamfoah Memorial School. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I stepped from the car, but it certainly wasn’t the wonderful, warm welcome I received. The staff and Head Teacher came to greet me and thanked me for coming. As they shook my hand I saw genuine warmth and gratitude in their eyes. Then came the little ones to meet me. Oh, wow that was an experience I will never ever forget. They were literally falling over themselves to climb on my lap or get a hug. I smiled down at them and hugged as many as I could whilst the photos were being taken somewhere in the background. Here were children that didn’t even have the basic standard of living, yet all had the most beautiful smiles on their faces and were so genuinely happy to see us. Kwame explained that compared to some it was a well-maintained school. I couldn’t help but think what was to come then?
That evening I went to meet the Football Team. I got to meet Max & Peter who are two lovely gentlemen from Germany who are also here volunteering and helped to coach the boys. I then met the team and handed out the shorts I had bought. The Captain who they call Company thanked me on behalf of the team and I had the immense pleasure to watch them train. Now I must admit I am not a great football fan and only watch England play on the TV. I was though, totally astounded by the skill of these young boys and my heart melted with pride as I watched them play. As the boys left to go home, one of the team, Wilberforce went to get us a taxi and Max & Peter cleared away, I sat alone in the middle of the field, just me and my thoughts in the quiet warm night air as dusk fell and felt I had come home.
Later in the week we went to our first donation school. The school is in Obo and called the Garden of Knowledge Montessori School. I was greeted by a lovely lady called Ruth Ofori Sasu and she is the Head Mistress at the school. The school caters for children from 1-12 years old. The children were just as adorable as the first school and all came over to hold my hand or give me a hug. As I lifted one little one up on to my lap, the smile I got will stay with me forever. I got the items I brought with me out and they were handed out, so photos could be taken. The little one’s eyes lit up and although just a small gesture I felt I had done some good. The teachers were so grateful, and I was asked to sign their visitors book which was an honour for me to do.
My next donation was to a village called Asikem. Now I had seen photos of the huts in this village and it broke my heart, hence I wanted to visit in person. I purchased some rice, oil and washing soap for them and off we went with a gentleman named Jonathan who helps look after the village and its families. As the village came into site and I saw for myself the mud huts these villagers call home, I took a large intake of breath and bit hard on my lip to stop the tears that were threatening to spring out from my eyes from falling. I walked to a bench and was asked to take a seat. Some of the villagers came to me as I couldn’t walk the terrain to their homes. There are 4 families in the village and the first person I noticed was a lady who like me has very bad difficulty walking and walked with the aid of a large piece of wood. As I looked down to my side at my crutches I realised just how blessed I was. I bit down on my lip again. Several children came down and one little boy came over and climbed up on my lap. As I lowered my face and kissed the top of his head, there yet again was the most beautiful smile. This was by far the toughest visit yet. I looked at their homes made of wood & mud with a piece of cloth for a door and yet they were such a proud community, so close and loving. The goods were handed over and they were so grateful it was very touching. Then Jonathan thanked me on behalf of the village for my kindness and generosity and said they would like to make you honoree Queen of their Village as a thank you. I bit down hard on my lip but as I turned to look at my team and the little boy cuddled in my arms the tears began to flow. I have never been so honoured in my life and doubt I ever will be again. As I bid farewell to the villagers I was determined to visit them on my next visit and see what else I can do to help them. They are forever in my hearts.
The final donation was at another school. The Star of The East Preparatory School in Atibie Kwahu. We were met by the lovely Headmaster Augustin Ayimadu and his staff. As I get out of the car I noticed one solitary see saw outside. I asked one of my team if that was it? the only piece of play equipment. he nodded. As we went in and the children came through, yet again I was met with the now familiar hugs, hand strokes and smiles. We handed out the stationery and the confused looks as they saw the pencil sharpeners and tried to work out what they were made me smile. The children then all sat on the floor and grabbed a pen each. Such a small gesture meaning so much is the most humbling feeling ever. This is going to be our adopted school and we are going to support it with whatever we have. I then signed the visitors book and the Headmaster was then asked to bring 10 children of his choosing to the N.H.I.S office on Monday to be given a years free medical insurance paid for by my best friend in the UK Mr Craig Stevens. Looking at all the little faces around me I’m glad the choice wasn’t mine.
My final volunteer job was to meet those 10 children at the Health Insurance Offices and get them their Health Insurance Cards. They wrote on a banner with Thank You Craig on it and we put their names on it too. They held it up and we took a photo. When I brought it home for Craig he was nearly reduced to tears. We took their photos with their cards and I know that for the next year at least they are safe.
Friday 16th December 2016 came around way to quickly and it was not only time to say goodbye to my team, the wonderful children and Kwame my new Little Bro who oversees looking after the children in Ghana for me, all of which was traumatic enough but to Ghana itself. A place I never ever dreamt I’d visit but that was now so engraved in my heart & soul along with each and everyone I’d met. After a very tearful goodbye with Kwame and my team, I boarded the plane and took my seat, luckily there was no one next to me. As the plane took off I looked out of the window at the Country below me that I was leaving behind. The people, the place, my experiences, my new surrogate family and most importantly the children who are all in my heart forever. As the tears flowed down my cheeks I whispered silently, Ghana I will come back soon.
Trust me when I say that anyone interested in volunteering here will never regret it and it will change their lives forever. God Bless all those who I have met, and I will see you again soon.
The mission statement of the SRC Africa Aid project is to proactively support individuals, charities and projects on the ground in Africa, run by committed Africans, working diligently to improve the lives of their fellow citizens.
The three core objectives of SRC Africa Aid are:
- To best ensure as many of the youth living in the African Commonwealth countries have access to healthcare.
- To support the ongoing education of youth living in the African Commonwealth countries by providing educational supplies and equipment.
- To support access to sport and team building experiences within the schools we support, recognising the critical link between them and education.
SRC Africa Aid eventually intends on providing support to all 18 of the African member nations of the Commonwealth namely:
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- The Gambia
- United Republic of Tanzania
Due to the number of countries concerned we will be rolling out support for projects one country at a time.
Terrestres Servo Coronas has set the following objectives for 2018:
- Provision of 500 years worth of health insurance.
- Provision of educational supplies to six schools.
Since formulating the concept of SRC Africa Aid the Project Chair has started delivering on our mission statement. Below is a selection of the donations that we’ve already presented to schools, youth groups and individuals.
© 2018 Terrestres Servo Coronas – Children thanking donors for their support.
We have in our first year donated Health Insurance for over 100 local children from the towns of Obo & Mpraeso in Ghana.
© 2018 Terrestres Servo Coronas - The Star of The East Preparatory School in Atibi, Kwahu.
We donated a large amount of stationery to the school and as you can see the children were very excited and the Head Master was extremely grateful for our donations.
© 2018 Terrestres Servo Coronas - Village of Asikam.
During our first visit we donated clothes, food and washing utensils for the villagers. In our second visit we concreted the floors, plastered the walls and painted two of their homes with donations from the UK and Germany.
© 2018 Terrestres Servo Coronas – Donation to Obo’s Youth Football Team
In September 2016 Terrestres Servo Coronas sponsored Obo’s Under 13’s Football Team. They provided shirts for the team and purchased some new shorts and footballs for the boys.
© 2018 Terrestres Servo Coronas – Education supply donation.
Thanks to donations of stationery from Terrestres Servo Coronas and money from the UK and Germany we were able to provide stationery for D/A Primary School and toys for the Garden of Knowledge Montessori School in Obo.