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Opinions of Sunday, 3 April 2016

Columnist: Eyiah, Joseph Kingsley

Let's live above selfishness and move our community forward

"United We Stand, Divided We Fall!"

By Joe Kingsley Eyiah, OCT, Brookview Middle School, Toronto

Many Ghanaians everywhere are unfortunately allowing party politics (especially during this election year in Ghana) and selfishness to divide them and to deny them the needed united front to move their Ghanaian communities forward. Unfortunate indeed! In this disturbing era of political rancor and selfishness among Ghanaians, one is optimistic that our nation Ghana will overcome its challenges to build a better society for all. I couldn't but agree the more with His Excellency Dr. Gariba, Ghana's High Commissioner to Canada when during a dinner in Toronto recently to commemorate Ghana's 59th Birthday, he stressed the fact that at the age of 59 years our nation Ghana has just launched its journey of transformation. That, "Today as we celebrate our 59 years of independence we are at watershed where those of us who have lived to be more than 50 should be measuring whether or not the visions of our foundation as a nation have been fulfilled." He was of optimistic that Ghana has a very bright future since it has over 80% of its population under the age of 60 to envision what the next 50 years of Ghana would be.

The future of our community looks brighter than it used to be. In the Toronto Ghanaian community today, several pursues are been engaged in by both the youths and adults to overcome the challenges that confront the community such as apathy, selfishness, and lack of organized leadership among others. Over the past two years the community has experienced some organized leadership under the Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario (GCAO). Parents have demonstrated some appreciable degree of concern towards their children's education, some churches in the community have joined hands to promote spiritual as well as sense of belonging (community) awareness among members and; respectable cum dutiful youth are seen collaborating with adults (hitherto considered "against") to render services and programs to the community. Without any 'PhD' (Pull Him Down) and divisions and with God's blessing Ghanaians living in Canada will succeed in building a strong and viable community within the Canadian mosaic!

GCAO and Leadership

The present executives of the GCAO are building upon the goodwill of our people in Toronto which 'spirited' the GCOA to successfully lead in raising $25, 000.00 last year in the quake of the June Flood and Fire disaster in Accra to help the victims in Ghana to leverage support from all sectors to move the community forward.

So far four core areas have been identified to co-create the objectives to accelerate the pace of progress in the Toronto Ghanaian community:
1. It is about time Ghanaian Canadians worked towards being represented at City Hall, Queens Park and Ottawa. Obviously, other new comers have made a leap in the political process in Canada. As Ghanaians in Canada we have the people, the numbers and expertise. Now is the time to get a plan and strengthen our community engagement towards this objective.

2. Translate the proposed Community Center as a concept into reality by uniting behind a common approach to realize the "Ghana House" dream in Toronto. The vision is to harness the strength of community to create opportunities for our people, young and old!

3. Devise a plan to leverage the tremendous human capital of our youth to lead and move our community forward. Plans are afoot to organize a Youth Summit for Ghanaians in the Greater Toronto Area in June this year.

3. Implement the Ghanaian-Canadian Census project. The project team has completed their work and now is the time to get this completed. Completing this project will spawn data needed to strengthen our resolve to realize the dreams of Community Center Project, Resource Center and other political aims.

The Youth and the Community Homework Club

It is heart-warming to note here that there are some devoted youth from our community who volunteer every Sunday after church at our Community Homework Club established at 10 Belfield Road from 3pm to 5pm to support Ghanaian children with their school work and mentorship. Parents and children who have been attending this community program are highly motivated and appreciative of their gains. Our youth volunteers are also building strong and broad network for the advancement of their personal as well as community objectives. Kudos to such humble and hardworking youth in our community. Obviously, you are the 'future' leaders of our community and to some of us the 'future' is NOW!

Supporting our Community Businesses

There are very good reasons why we need to support each other in our community. Building a vibrant Ghanaian community requires patronizing our local businesses and programs. Whatever be our differences and disagreements we must realize that when our community dies we too die with it. This might sound far-fetched for those who cherish selfishness but remember that selfishness anywhere leads to self-destruction.

As Ghanaians we must appreciate our individual talents and opportunities to build strong communities for ourselves wherever we are. This calls for, among others, our support for community businesses to move our community forward.

There many good reasons to do good for your community. Note that locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes. Remember that, UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL!