Community and business leaders, Georgia lawmakers, and members of the general public came together to support members of the Ghanaian Women's Association of Georgia (GWAG) during their third annual maternity fundraising event in Sandy Spring, Georgia, on Saturday, April 28, 2018. The purpose of the fundraiser was to highlight the heartbreaking conditions expectant mothers face in underserved communities in Ghana.
Following a cocktail hour, the ceremony kicked off with guests singing the US and Ghana National anthems. Ms. Gloria White and Ms.Laila Harruna served as Mistresses of Ceremonies. Mrs. Adiza Harruna, president of the association, delivered a strong welcome message reminding Ghanaians and the world at large about the GWAG mission and vision of giving back to the community. She also highlighted the problems that result in maternal mortality rates like the lack of medical supplies, equipment, disease, hospital accommodation and more. Bringing guests up to speed on the progress of the organization’s past, current and upcoming maternity ward projects, Mrs. Harruna encouraged Ghanaians and friends of GWAG to get involved and help make a difference through donations and, by extension, transform the lives of those in need in our underserved communities. Adiza added that donations received for this year’s project will go towards procuring medical equipment and supplies for the adoption the old Tamale hospital maternity ward G-WAG’s 3rd adopted ward as well as donate to beneficiary maternity wards of the Ejura, Tema, Osu and Atibie government hospitals.
According to Adiza Harruna, “We want to help reduce preventable deaths and make sure that expectant mothers get the basic care they need. It is our honor and privilege to “give back” and make a difference … Even under the best care and circumstances, there is always a risk factor, maternal illness, fetal developmental complications, these are circumstances beyond our control, but with excellent care, and access to great healthcare facilities, we are very hopeful of positive outcomes …” She added “ … Giving from the heart is an immeasurable value that benefits the community and an investment in our nation’s future. We would rather have the unborn baby have a fighting chance to live, we would rather have an expectant mother have her own bed than share a bed with another, we would rather not have a woman in labor lie on the floor and waiting her turn to deliver her baby, We would rather expectant mothers have the prenatal and antenatal care they need, than to watch them turned away to go and have babies at home”. It is this shared interest in the welfare of fellow human beings that drives members of G-WAG to participate and help where they can.
In her keynote speech, Dr. Bertha Serwa Ayi emphasized the need to make a difference and cited actions of the likes of Malala and Tetteh Quarshie who sowed seeds that greatly impacted their communities. According to Dr. Serwa Ayi “ … Whatever seed you sow, you are making a difference no matter how small. Without you, some things will not get done but if … you can support in whatever way you can, it’ll go a long way to promote Gwag …”
GWAG was also very fortunate to have a special guest all the way from Ghana, Mrs. Rashida Saani Nasamu, the Chief Executive Office of the Izar Group of companies. Ms. Rashida brought warm greetings from Ghana and gave highlights of the current situation of maternal health in Ghana. She expressed appreciation of the wonderful work of the organization and stated that it is easy to save and donate to the needs of expectant mothers by putting money aside regularly instead of using these same monies to buy designer goods for our own personal enjoyment. According to Mrs. Rashida Saani Nasamu “ … You do not have to own a million dollars to spare a dollar. The good thing about giving is that if you can have $10 and choose to spare a $1 or 50cents, you can also have a million dollars and can choose to spare $1 or 50cents as well … it keeps money in circulation … it is a part of our social settings …”
Highlights of the event included a spectacular cultural performance by the youth who entertained guests to Adowa and Afrobeat dances. Guests were also treated to Ghanaian cuisine and music.
The event came to a close with a vote of thanks by Dr. Adrienne Booth Johnson, who is a marketing executive and a member of the GWAG Board of Directors. Dr. Johnson presented a special token of appreciation to Mrs. Rashida Saani Nasamu for her passion. She closed by stating that “… we were all inspired to aim higher and to reach higher heights.”
The Ghanaian Women's Association of Georgia came about because of a few women coming together whose passions for positive change within the community far supersedes the basic idea of an improved lifestyle. As these women’s passions grew stronger, their vision got bigger. Today GWAG boasts of 40+ active members. The association is here to work together, to build a stronger community and to affect the world with positive change, a few steps at a time.
to view pictures of the dinner.