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Opinions of Sunday, 31 January 2016

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Ghana’s Chief Imam deserves praise for promoting higher secular education

The National Chief Imam of Ghana, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu deserves commendation for his effort in establishing an education trust fund towards support for needy Muslim youths to gain access to secular education throughout the country. The trust fund set up six years ago and named Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharubutu Education Trust Fund (SONSETFUND) had an Executive Council with a secretariat located at Chief Imam’s residence in Fadama, Accra.

The day to day running of the fund has been under Alhaji Khuzaimah Mohammed Osman who doubles as the personal assistant to the National Chief Imam with the help of three staffers and national service men. The entire body is supervised by a thirteen member Council made up of men and women of repute and chaired by Sheikh Mustapha Ibrahim, chairman of the Islamic Council for Development and Humanitarian Service (ICODEHS) with the support of Alhaji Mamah Gado Mohammed as vice chairman.

Other members of the council are
Sheikh Musa Abdul Kadir, Alhaji Alhassan, Abdulai , Sheikh Seebaway Zakaria,
Madam Sakeena K. Bonsu, Alhaji Abdallah Showumi Williams, Dr. Ahmed Ben-Yunusah, Hajiya Sa-Adatu Mohammed Mustapha,
And Alhaji Aminu Futa
During the launch of the fund in Accra the fund received donations from Muslims dignitaries from all walks of life which were used in opening an account for the fund. Members of the fund also undertook a trip to the United States of America where together with Yankasa Association raised funds that was used partly for the trip with the remainder invested in Ghana towards the pursuit of the objectives of the fund.
Apart from the previous donations the latest are from Gen. Abdulai Kado of Nima and the Ghana Armed Forces fame who donated 3000ghc with $5500 redeemed pledges from the United States and 2000ghc from Hon. Patrick Boamah, MP for okaikwei central;

KEY AREAS OF ACHIEVEMENTS
According Alhaji Khuzaimah SONSETFUND was able to use funds raised from its launch in Accra to provide financial assistances to 16 students at various educational levels in Ghana.
According to him “We also secured accountancy and management text books worth more than 30,000 pound sterling, donated to us by “LondonSam”, where I studied for my postgraduate diploma. SONSETFUND in turn donated the books to five public universities including the University of Ghana Legon, the University of Professional Studies (UPS), the University of Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, the Islamic University College of Ghana (IUCG) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

“SONSETFUND engineered and brought development partners from Turkey to complete the educational complex of the founder at Kasoa in the Central Region. Turkish International Development Corporation (TIKA) carried out the construction works and spent equivalent to One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) which represented 10 percent of the entire work done on the project. The complex is currently under the management of SONSETFUND and the supervision of the Islamic Education Unit (IED).
“From 2011 to date SONSETFUND had secured 30 percent scholarships for 10 students to further their education at the Islamic University College of Ghana and most of them are at various completion stages.

“We are proud to say that SONSETFUND has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Islamic University College of Ghana last year on the following terms;
a. One full scholarship on religious studies
b. 70 percent scholarships for 3 students on religious studies and
c. 50 percent scholarships for 3 students on any program of choice
“The first batch of the seven students will be proceeding to their second semester of level 100 next month insha Allah and we hope that next year when we meet we would update you with another seven or more beneficiaries.
“We say ayekoo and kudos to the Islamic University College of Ghana, the Al-Mustapha International University and the Government of Iran.
“We also secured scholarship facilities for 3 people to study various Islamic programs at Al-Azhar University, Cairo Egypt
“We have secured scholarships for three (3) students to pursue various programs at the Zenith University College of Ghana and I am happy to report that all of them are graduating this year insha Allah
“Last year 2015, we successfully, for the first time, helped one applicant to access the Turkish government full scholarship and the beneficiary is pursuing a program in medicine in Turkey.
To further give proof to our sincerity in financing educational programs for the youth and the Ulemas that include Islamic teachers and imams we performed the following duties
“SONSETFUND spent 4000ghc it received from donors to build the capacity of Imams on climate change. This training was conducted in 2010 at the ICODEHS conference center and all the ten regional Imams and their representatives participated
We have also received 1800 ghc from the World Bank in 2012 to carry out counseling and capacity building programs for the youth and we are happy to say that over 120 people benefited from this program

“The management of SONSETFUND has begun the process of awarding 10 scholarships in 2015-16 academic years targeting 10 students from the ten region of Ghana.
In order for the national chief imam to provide a place for Muslims wishing to enjoy higher education Barely 6 years ago, His Eminence Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, the National Chief Imam and Grand Mufti of the Republic of Ghana took the first initiative to what has become today, the hope for the Ghanaian Muslim youth.
In 2009 after the commissioning of the Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu Educational Complex in Kasoa, Central Region he placed the multimillion educational complex under the care of SONSETFUND

DIRECT SCHOLARSHIP
The Executive council has also approved funding for three (3) students at the last meeting with credentials of three more students awaiting approval. We have already set aside (20,000GHC) for our scholarship for three years with the desire to increase the threshold to 40,000GHC for the three year period while we raise funds to cover the expenses and save more funds for the future. Below is the table of the scholarships

SCHOLARSHIP TO SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

Student per term Unit per term (GH) Quantity Total (GH)
2nd and 3rd (second and third) terms of the 1st (first) year 400
7 5,600
1st, 2nd and 3rd terms of 2nd year 400
7 8,400
1st and 2nd terms of final year
400 7 5,600

Total This represent the cost of supporting seven (7) senior high school students for three (3) years
GH 19,600


SCHOLARSHIP TO TERTIARY STUDENTS
STUDENT PER ACADEMIC YEAR DESCRIPTION UNIT COST GHC TOTAL GHC
Muslim Student Support package Yearly Grants to support the less privileged Muslims secure admission into tertiary institution in Ghana 1,500 4,800
Total This represents total expenditure on five (5) students for three years 22,500


“Above all, I feel excited to report that a total of 1300 students in our universities have benefited from the Sheik Osman Nuhu Sharubutu Educational Trust Fund (SONSETFUND) since it partnered with the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) of Ghana four years ago. This is in addition to 400 students from last year.
I feel happy to say that these younger brothers and sisters have begun cultivating the habit of consciousness and responsibilities to the extent that some of them have started repaying the loans from their national service allowance.

In acknowledging our effort in supporting students to access loans to study the deputy minister of education Okudjeto Ablakwa had this to say.

“I wish to commend the National Chief of Ghana for embracing this scheme and I encourage other religious leaders to emulate the gesture of the Chief Imam to enable them support Ghana’s education’.
WORK IN PROGRESS
“In our endeavor to raise funds we have partnered with the MTN Ghana in 2012 to conduct an Islamic text messages promotion called ‘the Hajj Promo’ and we have accomplished two important projects from this particular scheme.
SONSETFUND used the proceeds from this project to renovate two (2) junior high schools in the northern region at a cost of One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Ghana Cedis (180,000ghc); which include, Limanyirri junior high school and Ambariya Islamic school

“SONSETFUND used part of the second phase of the project to upgrade a 3 classroom block educational facility into a structure that will be able to carry more than 9 classroom blocks.
“The (3 class room) facility was built for us by the Islamic Council for Development and Humanitarian Services (ICODEHS) which is located at Zion City Estate at Madina-Abokobi in the Greater Accra Region. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the donors of the land and the financiers of the project, jazaakumukhairan.
“The school was officially handed over to us and we hope to call for admission of fresh students soon insha Allah.
I would like to say that SONSETFUND which had been operating quietly has grown from strength to strength but of course like the nature of every human institution, the Fund would not succeed without challenges which include donor fatigue and short comings which we would overcome through hard work and support of God.

Check from Management, SONSETFUNDwww.sonsetfund.com/www.sonsetfund.org and 0249826093/0266040346/0504244175 for further information
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
EANFOWORLD FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
0244 370345/ 0264370345/0208844791 abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com/eanfoworld@yahoo.com