Comic Relief invited me to visit Ghana to help celebrate their anniversary, to see first hand the good work that has happened as a result of 25 years of Red Nose Day.
It is almost impossible to explain everything I have seen, but I would love to introduce you to four people I met along the way who are central to comic relief funded projects here in Ghana.
Twenty-two-year-old Aishetu has lost both parents and came to Agbogbloshie, the largest slum in Accra came from a small village hoping she says for ‘greener pastures’.
Over 700,000 people live in basic conditions, without sanitation or running water.
Through a project aided by Comic Relief, she learnt hairdressing skills and now owns her own hairdressers in the slum.
Vocational education has enabled her to become financially independent and pay for her sister’s tuition fees.
We met Atta Kwambe at a mental health project run by the Basic Needs Trust.
The project facilitates those with mental health problems working together to support each other to break down stigma and look after themselves. We sat in on a meeting, under a tree, chaired by Dora and minuted by Vivienne who are both project beneficiaries. After wards Atta Kwambe bravely told us about his journey from being disowned by family and community to seeking medication, support and setting up a carpentry business through a small loan from the Basic Needs Trust Project who receive funding from Comic Relief.
Here I am with Paulina who set up a school in Agbogbloshie slum, we are two teachers from very different backgrounds. From 20 children in a shack, it has grown to over 200 in a building with two floors and 7 classrooms. The school gives children opportunities beyond the slum and allows their parents to work in the knowledge they are safe.
This is Veronica, she works at the Virtuous Women’s Bakery. Comic relief bought them a new bread oven so they can bake even more tasty loaves to sell in the community. You may have seen Veronica doing exactly that on the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off. I told her I had seen her on television.
I have felt incredibly privileged to meet these people behind the red noses, to share their stories and to see how money raised over the last 25 years through Red Nose Day has been changing the lives of the people of Ghana.
I look forward to sharing my video footage from the trip on my return.
Penny Alexander is a writer, award winning blogger and vlogger and education consultant. She blogs at Alexander Residence
Penny was joined on the trip by Annie, who blogs at Mammasaurus and Tanya, who blogs at Mummy Barrow. They visited four projects in Ghana on 4th and 5th February to see for themselves the difference Red Nose Day money has been making. You can follow their progress at teamhonk.org and on their individual blogs.