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Rochdale businessman aiming to raise £2,000 for maternity hospital in Ghana

Date published: 22 May 2019


A Rochdale businessman is hoping to raise £2,000 to help build a maternity hospital in Ghana after visiting the country on a charity mission.

John Dawson, 33, owner partner of D&W Cars flew out to Tepa in Ghana on 5 May with his dad, Graham, and sister, Debbie, to the King Jesus Orphanage and School.

The King Jesus Orphanage and School were founded approximately 10 years ago by Stephen Mensah, a former witch doctor who later found Christ and became a Christian pastor.

Stephen and Graham first met in Leeds approximately five years ago, quickly forming a strong friendship that led to supporting the orphanage and school.

King Jesus Orphanage Tepa (Ghana) is a recognised International Charity with Stewardship, and is now aiming to build an on-site maternity and children’s hospital.

 

Graham with one of the children
Graham with one of the children

 

John, inspired by his visit, is keen to see the plans come to fruition.

He said: “The next project is to build a maternity and children’s hospital on the same site. The land has already been cleared, the plans approved, and local labour support is ready to be deployed as soon as the materials have been purchased.

“Once the facility is built, there are commitments from doctors and overseas hospitals who will supply lifesaving equipment that have become too outdated for their own country’s regulation.

“I’m invested in this and determined to try and help turn the cogs that will hopefully snowball into larger, more widescale service developments in the future. We are hoping to raise upwards of £2,000 through various fund raising and business streams.”

 

Graham with the children
Graham with the children

 

Dad Graham has previously also been involved in building a factory for gari, a popular West African food made of powdered cassava, to support the orphanage and school.

In Ghana, education is not free and many families in outlying villages cannot send their children to school. 

Around 80 children aged between two and 18 live at the orphanage, whilst approximately 450+ children attend the school.

 

 

The King Jesus School, which provides free education, is highly regarded in Tepa as providing a very good education and their examination results are amongst the best in the area. The school has 15 teachers, two drivers, three helpers, a head teacher and two school buses with a monthly outlay of £920.

The factory has recently obtained contracts with local schools and universities to provide gari, however, due to the way government contracts operate there, the payment period can extend to five or six months.

Plans are currently in development to sustain and progress the production of gari, says John.

King Jesus Orphanage Tepa (Ghana) has also obtained a local farm and are growing some maize and plantain, but need to invest in really good water irrigation systems from the local river due to the hot weather.

 

The gari factory, which will support the school and orphanage
The gari factory, which will support the school and orphanage

 

Graham said: “They also need investment in a lot of other areas, such as improved teachers wages, improvements to the school building and facilities, an office building for the factory, upgrading and/or an additional school bus, and medical facilities, but we are hoping all this will come in time.”

He continued: “There is also no welfare system so children from families where the parents have died, or gone elsewhere, or have been given to the grandparents, are extremely vulnerable to neglect and abuse. In many cases, they are in the most desperate condition imaginable. 

“We have seen first-hand some of these children brought to the orphanage where they are loved and cared for. We have seen them begin to prosper within themselves when they receive the love and friendship of the teachers and helpers at the orphanage.”

John agreed: “Stephen and the people close to him have faith in their cause like I have never seen before. They are selfless and humble – traits that naturally made me feel ignorant and, in some ways, very inferior.”

 

Graham, Debbie and John with Stephen Mensah and the King of Tepa
Graham, Debbie and John with Stephen Mensah and the King of Tepa

 

Additionally, John and his business partner, Stuart Wild, also of Rochdale, plan to help raise much-needed funds with a container of goods at their car forecourt in Castleton.

John added: “We will keep a container at D&W which we will use to send necessities such as clothes, school equipment, building maintenance equipment and computers. We’ll also send on old car parts and anything associated with vehicles and machinery as these are worth money in Ghana.

“Stuart and I are also working on other ways we can fundraise to ensure this hospital is built as soon as it can be. D&W Cars will be publicising these via social media and our website.

“We really hope our local community will donate anything they can to this fantastic cause.”

To donate and help build the maternity hospital, please visit:

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