Editor’s note: Francis Aduoffei is not a native English speaker.
Aesop once said; “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” and the famous quote from the Book of Acts states; “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” There are some people who try to live up to these statements by donating clothing to a charitable organization or giving to their church weekly. Some buy gifts for underprivileged children at Christmas time.
On a bigger scale, some devote their lives to helping others in need and put events into action that help hundreds or thousands.
This is the case with BMET Francis Aduoffei. Aduoffei is originally from Ghana and serves in the U.S. Army as a sergeant. He created a not-for-profit called the Ceciyaa Foundation, named for his mom.
“I started Ceciyaa Foundation in Iraq during my 15 months rotation from 2007 to 2009. The mission is a calling upon my life. I went to Ghana on R and R from Iraq to support the maize farming I had started,” Aduoffei says.
“I hired 15 women one of the days, and as usual, we take videos and pictures of the ladies as they work with us. On the third day, I realized that they had the same clothes on. I sought from them how many clothes they have and the answer was disturbing and poor,” he says.
“So when I return to Iraq, and subsequently back home in USA, I decided to ask anybody I meet for clothes and shoes for just the 15 women. However, I kept receiving many more clothes and shoes. I contact few friends and got together and official sought out all the necessary document to register Ceciyaa Foundation so we can do more for poor women and their kids in Ghana,” Aduoffei adds.
He says that initially, the challenges and obstacles were mainly logistical. He says that getting storage facilities for all of the donated clothes and shoes was challenging and tested his budget.
“I had no knowledge on how to raise funds or ask for help here in America. In Ghana, much challenges were due to lack of communication and finding the right person with the right mindset about the whole vision,” he says.
He also says that communications were expensive at the time. He says that phone cards and direct calls were the only means of communication.
“That drained my pocket. I was more particular in building the organization in Ghana than in the USA,” Aduoffei says.
“I formed a centralized office using my resident in Ghana. However, in two years, I realized that we were not moving forward as much as we should. I therefore decentralized all operations and empowered whoever want to be part in the local communities to talk with me direct and get direct assistance from the organization,” he adds.
During this time also, Aduoffei says that his church, First Christian Church in Burkburnett, Texas and Pastor Judy welcomed the organization and called it “The Ghana Mission.”
“I was given opportunity to share with the entire community on TV. The first 40-foot container was loaded from Wichita Falls, Texas with lots of support both financially and goods. I was a recipient of [the] TEXCOMA Media Community Award,” Aduoffei says.
He says that early donors were available, but as the need increased in Ghana, it became difficult because of concurrent military transfers, which required starting all over in new communities.
“So far, I have been through three cities in Texas (Wichita Falls and San Antonio), Newport News in Virginia and now back to Killeen, Texas,” he says.
Examples of what the foundation has been able to achieve during the past nine years are heartening.
“Joycelyn Elleamoh is a young beautiful lady in the capital of Ghana. She had completed and graduated from a sewing program. Ceciyaa Foundation bought an electric sewing machine for her so she can sew effectively to expand her shop and become more independent. Today, she is a master of her own with apprentices that are learning from her,” Aduoffei says.
“In the past nine years, Ceciyaa has purchased 105 sewing machines for 105 ladies throughout Ghana. Many are masters today and are training others. Currently, one of our active shops is in Tamale, with 12 ladies. In September, the first six will graduate; to the glory of God. We supply the machines and match them with a master for three years before they graduate,” Aduoffei adds.
He says that some fail to stay but the majority are now doing well.
Aduoffei says that another unique story is the foundation’s community farming.
“Kofi Ogan was encouraged last year with financial support to lead his community to farm a 15-acre corn farm. Today, with their harvest and some support from the USA, they have been able to construct their own school with roofing sheets that allows them to stay in school when it rains,” he explains.
“Kofi Ogan and staff are paid by Ceciyaa Foundation as we farm even more this year to expand and build more blocks for the children. Our mission is all over Ghana and is targeted at communities more so than individuals. Every member within the community is encouraged to join forces for each other. Our principle is called ‘with them for them,’ ” Aduoffei says.
Another great endeavor of the organization is its “Read to Fish and Farm” mission, which has given over 250,000 books to children, communities and schools in Ghana.
“Much can be seen on Facebook at National Readers Association. We seek to help all children; mostly in rural communities, to learn how to read. These books are donated by Half Price Books Stores in Texas throughout the year,” Aduoffei says.
“Many of these kids can read now due to our various reading programs. Read to Fish is where those kids who stay in the program are given coupons to go and catch fish from Ceciyaa Foundation fish farms. Read to Farm is where the kids in selected communities are given books so that their parents are encouraged to join the community farming,” he adds.
Also Serving America
With all of the work to help those less privileged, Aduoffei still has a primary job.
“I am the Platoon Leader for the 583rd Medical Logistic Company with 61st MMB, 1MED BDE. I supervise the great soldiers and NCOs to perform maintenance on medical equipment in [the] Ft. Hood area of operation,” he says.
“I don’t necessary get on any equipment, but I assumed responsible for mission assigned to the Company. There are over 2,000 pieces of medical equipment that are scheduled and routinely maintained by my command,” Aduoffei adds.
What can other HTM professionals do to help? Aduoffei says that financial donations or medical equipment that is useable are appreciated. At some point, a “rescue” mission to service medical equipment in Ghana will be a reality.
“We are also planning to take a trip as HTM professionals to help service all the medical equipment we can gather in Ghana one day soon. Medical maintenance is zero to none in almost all the huge hospitals,” he says.
The name of the foundation came out of the medical shortcomings in the country and the sad consequence.
“My mother died in 2001. The X-ray unit that was used for over year could not capture anything for us to seek proper care. When I finally send her to a better and more expensive clinic for X-ray, it was too late since that sickness had reached a damaging point,” Aduoffei remembers.
“The X-rays in the formal hospital were never calibrated with require TMDE. I name this organization after her and so far I have many friends who are doctors and are helping me remind themselves to service these equipment. HTM professionals can be entreated to join forces annually to send few on a mission trip to help the nation of Ghana,” Aduoffei adds.
Aduoffei says that the foundation “is a three-bundle treat.”
“Evangelism, education and economic empowerment. It is like a sandwich. Evangelism and economic empowerment is the loaf of bread. Education is the meat and all the good stuff that makes it a real delicious sandwich,” he explains.
In his own words, Francis Aduoffei proves that the motivation of one BMET can change the lives of many people. The name of his foundation says it all; what more motivation would anyone need?
For more information, visit www.ceciyaafoundation.org.
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