Newmont, NGO cares for the blind

Newmont Gold Ghana Limited (NGGL), in collaboration with United Way Ghana (UWG), a non-governmental organisation, has dug the foundation for a $378,000 library complex for the Akropong School for the Blind (ASB). This was part of the company's annual Day of Caring, where employees of the Newmont are given a paid off day to use their time for charity and community service. Employees of the company, numbering about 50 visited the ASB and used their time to dig the foundation for the library and also undertook general cleaning in the school. They also feted the pupils numbering 350, comprising of 217 boys and 113 girls. Mr. Yaw Antwi Dadzie, External Affairs Manager of Newmont Ghana, told journalists that the Day of Caring provided the opportunity for employees of NGGL to live the company's value of leadership in social responsibility. He said employees of Newmont had set up a charity fund, which attracts at least GHC3.00 each month from a contributor. The total amount of money realised is match up by Management to facilitate charity work. "So far we have raised GHC25, 000 and Management has added another GHC25, 000 to make GHC50, 000. We have earmarked about eight charities, including the school for the blind to benefit from the support," he said. He noted that some individual employees of Newmont had also adopted some of the pupils at the school to support them on regular basis while others have been making private donations to the school besides what they contribute to the Workplace Fund. Mr. Dadzie said the school's request for support to construct the library complex had also been forwarded to the regional office of Newmont and substantial contribution was expected to support the project. "I must however say that the way we have planned our support for the school is such that even if our regional office does not give any substantial amount, we on our own will be spending up to GHC20, 000. every year." Ms Mahela Narh, Headmistress of the ASB told journalists that since the sod was cut for the library complex project in 2008, only Cocoa Marketing Board, had donated GHC2, 000 in support of the project. She said through the support of the board chairman of the school, a kind architect had drawn the plan for the library that would include a brail books production and computer laboratory, but funding had been difficult to come by. "We are hoping that Newmont will follow up this kind visit and the digging of the foundation with something substantial that can enable us to start the project in good time," she said. She also used the platform to appeal to corporate Ghana to come to the aid of the school particular with regard to the construction library complex. Mr. Auberon Jeleel Odoom, Programmes and Development Officer of UWG also told journalists that the Day of Caring project was intended to create stronger, educated, healthy and self-sustaining communities out of the underprivileged groups in the country. He noted that besides the school for the blind, other collaborators including employees of UT Financial Services, Coca-Cola and Stanbic Bank also visited other needy homes in other parts of the country to make similar contributions.