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Diasporian News of Monday, 25 October 2004

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Special delivery for Ghana

A remarkable relationship between a small Dundee church and a town in the African country of Ghana is to be further strengthened by a special delivery setting off from Dundee today. St Kilda Road Baptist Church in St Mary?s, has been gathering items for a school, church and disabled centre in the town of Offinso in the Ashanti region, and today the crateload will begin its long journey south.

Vital items contained in the shipment are a number of second hand computers, to be used for teaching and administrative use at the school, and a fleet of wheelchairs for the disabled centre.

Richard Toller, pastor of St Kilda Road Baptist Church, said the shipment was the continuation of a relationship that began in 2001 when he first visited the town and was hugely affected by the experience.

He explained that following his trip, the congregation of St Kilda?s and the larger Dundee community were touched by the story of the town and its poverty.

?I first visited Offinso three years ago after I met a pastor from Ghana?s Ashanti region when I was in London,? he said.

?When I returned home and spoke of my experiences I never asked anybody for anything, but the projects and needs that I described caught the imagination of people in the church and their friends.

?The youth group in Mains Parish Church and the Girl?s Brigade in Trinity Church were among those who raised money and through that sort of generous giving we were able to buy one church a new roof and help the disabled centre meet some of its practical needs.

?Our congregation also decided they wanted to sponsor children in the town to help pay for their education, and through individuals giving about ?1 a week we now sponsor 20 school children.

?There has been a lot of communication between Dundee and Offinso. For example, children at Brackens Primary School, where I am the chaplain, have become pen pals with pupils at the school. It has been fantastic.

Last year a team of four from the church made a further trip to Offinso taking more money, books, stationary and football kits for the school. ?We came away from that trip with a desire to provide resources to help the Ghanaians help each other,? Mr Toller continued.

?The result of that is the containerload that leaves today.?