A $100,000 school project, aimed at providing education for under- privileged children in the sprawling Tema Manhean fishing community in the Greater Accra Region was inaugurated on Thursday.
The St Nicholas Preparatory School project, located along the Tema Coast, is the by-product of Maria Tsakos Foundation under the catch phrase: “Every Child has a right to education.”
It was supported by the Greek community and business entities in Ghana including Tsakos Group, Atlas Copco Ghana and Theofilos Pizanias, the Honorary Consul of Greece and representative of Aegean Bunkering.
The project being supported by a number of individuals and the community of seafarers in Ghana and around the world would be followed by another $100,000 phase, which would include the provision of a senior high school and ultimately a vocational college in the next two to 10 years to see the progression of the 27 pioneer pupils to the apex of their educational pursuit.
Madam Deborah Eleazar of the Tsakos Group told journalists during the inauguration ceremony that the foundation did not intend to run the project as charity.
She said Tema Mantse (Chief) Osongaa Nii Adjei Kraku II and other players would therefore be appointed as members of the Board of Governors to make the project sustainable.
In a statement Madam Eleazar said: “Ultimately, the aim of the Tsakos Group has been to appreciate the business we have been involved in over the years in Ghana and to put back into the community our efforts and assistance through the Maria Tsakos Foundation.”
This, she said, would enable the community to be a working and viable one to improve the living conditions and educational needs of the children.
She said the project would liaise with the medical authorities of Tema General Hospital to treat the pupils from ring worm and other diseases, afflicting them.
Currently arrangements are in place for them to see a doctor and community nurse twice a month.
The Tsakos Group on behalf of the Maria Tsakos Foundation made a donation of GH₵2,000 to the Tema Traditional Council Educational Endowment Fund to support brilliant but needy students.
Nii Adjei Kraku lauded the project, saying the socio-economic status of the expansive fishing community was a matter of grave concern to the traditional authorities, since “the people living in the community deserve (something) better.”
He said the project was a true recognition of the social responsibility of the corporate entities, which made it possible.
Captain Alkiviadis Kappas whose efforts also facilitated the building of the two-storey school building said the project was aimed at assisting the less fortunate children to unearth their potentials.
“It is a community project and we welcome everyone on board,” he said.
In 2006, the Tsakos Group decided to build an Orthodox Church in Tema New Town, which was completed in 2008 and consecrated with the name St Nicholas after the Patron Saint of the Sea.
Major donations for the project came from seafarers around the world and from the community.
There was unanimity by those who attended the Church inauguration that it would be a good idea to build a school for people in the community to cater for children between the ages of 4 and 6, after seeing at first hand the deprived conditions and problems in the area.
In order to achieve the objective, a fundraising event took place, commencing with a donation from the Tsakos Group through the Foundation in memory of the Founder’s daughter Maria Tsakos.
Many other groups and individuals contributed to the project and whose efforts have been acknowledged with a plaque on the school building.
Of particular mention were Atlas Copco Ghana and Theofilos Pizanias, Honorary Consul of Greece in Ghana, representing Aegean Bunkering.
The land was purchased with the assistance of the Tema Paramount Chief, who impressed upon those involved in the project, his desire for all children in the area to have an opportunity of being educated.
Subsequently, the Paramount Chief and his elders worked very closely on the project and were instrumental in striving for the school to be completed on schedule.
Currently six children have received sponsorship while additional support is being sought for other beneficiaries.
The school opened its doors on February 1, with an initial 25 pupils with two female teachers. Each child is offered two school uniforms and a snack and main meal per day.
The future of St Nicholas, reminisces an existing project in the village of Mankoadze in the Central Region, which had evolved with the assistance of the TEABAG Charity www.teabagcharity.org.uk (The education and book appeal Ghana).
When the first batch of children in Kindergarten is ready to move up to class one, a second class room would be opened to cater for them. This is expected to happen in a year’s time.
The school currently has two British ladies; Mrs Elizabeth Dean an Academic and Mrs Vivienne King who runs her own Recruitment Agency in the UK, who have assisted for two weeks in teaching.
They are expected to continue fund raising in the UK and establish links with British Schools for the mutual benefit of the academic facility. GNA