May 15, 2012 was a red-letter day in the tiny village of Otinibi, near Accra, Ghana. After months of construction, preparation, and dress-rehearsal meals, TPRF’s Food for People (FFP) program officially opened its third feeding facility, and its first on the African continent.
Local and regional dignitaries, teachers, students, and Otinibi citizens gathered for the official ceremony, which began with prayer and introductory remarks by Head Teacher of Otinibi D/A Basic School, Mrs. Grace Ninsaw. “We in Otinibi, count ourselves lucky because out of a number of deprived schools in the area, Otinibi School was considered for this program,” she said. “Let me mention the great relief this laudable project has brought to the teachers of this school, who had to feed pupils who were found sleeping in the classroom as a result of hunger and no money to buy food.”
Interspersed with more speeches were cultural displays created by the children, who will directly benefit from the meals program. These included celebratory dancing by students in the Cultural Society and a presentation by others using the letters of PREMBAF, the Ghana-based foundation partnering with TPRF.
After closing remarks and prayer, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Village Chief Nii Adjei Kweidzamansah III, who generously provided the land used for the facility. Dignitaries were then given a tour of the building and treated to a meal. When the Director of Pre-Tertiary Education saw how nicely the tables had been set for the students’ meal, he remarked, “This will feel like royalty to the children!”
Next, hundreds of school children filed in for their first meal after the official opening. This was followed by meals provided for the elderly and infirm. Approximately 500 meals will be served each weekday for students in Otinibi and surrounding communities.
Many who attended the ceremony expressed their gratitude to TPRF and commented on the speed with which the beautiful facility was erected and put into operation. It has been just over a year since ground was broken for the site. School authorities have already seen an increase in school attendance due to the meals program.
Said the Mayor of the District, Honorable John Kwao Sackey, “I am overwhelmingly impressed that a philanthropic institution like yours and a great philanthropist like Prem Rawat have been able to provide food to school children and the aged in Otinibi. There is no doubt that this facility will impact positively on the life of the Ghanan school children.”