Lenten Project 2014

Lenten Appeal 2014:  Dorcas International

Lent Appeal Update: Our Lent Appeal this year was held on behalf of Dorcas International to support their work in Ghana. A total of £6,800 was raised and this has enabled Dorcas to hire a new Programme Assistant, Oscar Annor. Mr Annor is fluent in the local northern language Dagbani and was already familiar with Dorcas’ work before taking up his new job supporting Michael Kumah, the Programme Manager. As a result of our support, Dorcas has also been able to start planning a new project in Kambonaayilli and begin community entry work with widows in a new area, Karimenga.

Existing Dorcas projects are going well. The bakery in Wulugu is fully up and running and has a strong local market, including supplying bread to  the Senior High School. The widows running the soap and cosmetics business in the same town have also started to sell their products – their soap is stamped with the words ‘All Joy.’

 

About Dorcas International:

In the north of Ghana – a small but stable country in West Africa – there is a significant change taking place in the lives of widows. As some of the poorest of the poor, the widows who live in the towns and villages of Ghana’s Northern Region have very difficult lives and little support. However, for the last few years, some of them have been joining together in self-help groups and working with Dorcas, a tiny UK-Ghanaian NGO partnership, to improve their livelihoods and keep their children in school.

Dorcas International is a UK registered charity, run by volunteers, which raises funds for the work in Ghana which is largely undertaken by the local Programme Manager, Michael Kumah, and supervised by a Board of Ghanaian women. Some projects are tiny, such as the provision of wellingtons to 25 widows in Moglaa village who gather shea fruit in long, snake-infested grass, prior to making shea butter to sell in the local market. In Nalerigu, a small town in the very far north of the country, Dorcas has helped 66 widows to farm their small plots of land by providing fertiliser and ploughing. The oldest widows in that town, who are unable to work at all, have been given food supplies to help them through the “hungry season” when food is scarce and prices sky-rocket.

The widows are always anxious about the education of their children and have asked for help to keep their children in school. For village children, Dorcas has provided uniforms (which are compulsory) and writing books and pencils. In Nalerigu, Dorcas has begun a sponsorship project to enable older children to finish High School. There are currently twelve girls being sponsored. With the support given by Dorcas, they will finish school, often learning a trade, and have a much better start in their adult lives.

Dorcas has recently started working in the town of Wulugu, where a group of 75 widows have come together to develop three new businesses: bread baking, soap making and cosmetics manufacture. The Widows’ Bakery is about to begin baking the first commercially available local bread in Wulugu – making 200 to 300 loaves at a time.

The other projects will follow soon and it is the hope of all those involved in Dorcas that this model can be replicated in more communities. Support from St Columba’s Lent Project will be used to help us to expand the work to towns and villages that we are currently unable to reach due to limited manpower. With your help, we will be able to take on an Assistant to the Programme Manager, at modest cost but with huge potential to help grow the work and reach more widows and their families.

Renny Gye – Trustee

More information on Dorcas and the micro-finance project will be available at St Columba’s all through Lent. If you have any questions about the Appeal, please contact Catherine McDonald, Mission Committee at icmcd@btinternet.com.

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