Leah's Dream/Afafanto Scholarship Fund Newsletter

Leah's Dream sponsors education and community develpment through finaqncial and mentoring support for young women in Northern Ghana

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A Lot Happens in a Year

Mummers2013.2 – Version 2



It seems that I have not written a newsletter in a very long time. A year as a matter of fact. This has been a tumultuous year for us both here in the US and in Ghana. We have welcomed our new intern Mukurama Abdul Razak to our office. We moved our office to be closer to one of the villages that we support. Sangarigu village is also the location of the shea butter cooperative that we support with our sales of wonderful whipped shea body butter sourced from the best imaginable shea butter in Ghana. We are also welcoming this year, a volunteer from the US Peace Corps who will be helping us to get our latest funding initiative started, Booklets for Basic Education.

We have reached critical mass in our funding of Afafanto Scholars too. I am happy to say that thanks to our generous donors we raised more than 10,000.00 during this fiscal year. Wow! Now we have more girls who are alumni of our organization than the 15 scholarship students currently enrolled in Senior High School. I hope in subsequent newsletters to acquaint you with the stories of these amazing girls. In the meantime, here’s some photos of our most recent scholars selected this summer:

Hope you are enjoying the New Year and we look forward to sharing our many successes in 2019! Sandee


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Happy 2018 Some great links for you


Mukurama, Sandee and Emelia at University of Accra

Hello to all my friends and supporters. I am so happy this New Year to report that things are really looking up for Leah’s Dream! The young woman pictured above is Mukurama. She was our second scholarship awardee and now she has finished her University of Accra degree in Business and will be assuming leadership beginning January 11 in our new Leah’s Dream office in Tamale. We wish her a very warm welcome!

We had a very successful fundraising year. We now have the ability to service even more girls and to even add extra services for all of our girls perhaps even a new van to transport our girls from their villages and schools to our training center in Tamale.


WE are in the process of transitioning to a new website. Would you like to help us review it? Here is a link to our new demo site: https://afafanto.wixsite.com/demo

IN addition, we also have a new updated Everyday Giving page. If you would like to be a part of our push to equal or pass our 2017 fundraising totals, please click here:


AND we are also a part of the Giving Assistant and Amazon Smile programs where you can shop and give to us at the same time.



Use Giving Assistant to save money and support Leah’s Dream Inc.

Help your community while shopping at Gap! Sign up for Giving Assistant and donate your cash back to Leah’s Dream Inc.!


Finally, I am posting a little slide show that I made as a picture collage of Ghana and our girls. Sorry it is a little jerky. Please let me know your thoughts about what you are viewing.


And again Happy New Year to all, let 2018 be the best year yet!


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Scholar News and The Generosity of our Donors

Hi again after a long absence. I have so much good news to report since my last posting in November. This new year has been full of wonderful accomplishments for Leah’s Dream both here and in Ghana.


Isabella Lambrecht showing off her new kente cloth present from Leah’s Dream.

This is Isabella Lambrecht. She is from Belgium and works in the Ghana offices of IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Insitute where Leah was employed before her tragic passing. She and her husband were recently married, They have decided to donate all the proceeds from their wedding to the Afafanto Scholarship Fund!  So far, thanks to generous donors like Isabella, this year we have collected over $17,000.00 which goes to fund our Afafanto Scholars, pays for administrative expenses to run our Ghana NGO and US 501c3. Your generosity has enabled us to fund 5 new Afafanto Scholars this coming year. That makes 25 young women whose lives have been impacted by our Scholarship.

IMG_2226.JPGPatricia Abrugrago, one of our 2016 graduates has just graduated from the Ghana Police Academy tops in her class! She has been in the Ghana news where she mentions the Afafanto Scholarship as an important part of her success. We are so excited for her new career. Mariama Iddrisu, our very first Afafanto Scholar has just been accepted to nursing school. She’s been working in the clinic at Larabanga. Next September, Mukarama, a 2014 grad will be earning her business degree from the University of Accra. She begins training as our new Executive Director for Leah’s Dream Ghana NGO. Emelia and I are bursting with pride for our girls!


Mukurama, Sandee and Emelia at University of Accra

I’ve set up a new page all about our Scholars and Alumni so that you can keep up with their accomplishments. It is a new link at the top of this page. Check out the photo of Rafaia Abdulai our newest graduate.She hopes to continue on to university as soon as she passes her exams. Also the lady in pink is Foriza Hazan who was just voted prefect of her class next term. Way to go Foriza.

Incidentally, Leah’s Dream US is pleased to be hosting a West African dinner at Kilamandjaro Restaurant, 48th and Chestnut on September 10 from 6:30-9:00 PM. Join us to help celebrate all of our progress. Click here to buy tickets:learn more

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Visiting Ghana with WIL

DN2Button-BlueSmallgiving-tuesdayI’ve just returned from leading a group from Women’s International Leaders or WIL of Greater Philadelphian on a marathon 10 days in which we toured Ghana from busy Accra, the capitol to the dusty Northern Region and back again (with a restful stop at the beach on the Cape Coast). 100_2280

WIL is an organization dedicated to the empowerment of women in developing countries. Members contribute their time, knowledge and funds to support a broad array of projects  that raise women’s economic and social status, promote self-determination, and help women become community leaders. Leah’s Dream has been one of those projects. The 8 women who travelled with me in early November gained firsthand knowledge of the hardships that our women and girls endure.

Providing service was part of the agenda, and it was wonderful to witness the mentoring of our Afafanto Scholars and the  village women from Larabanga by these accomplished ladies. Meeting with the girls in our offices in Tamale, the WIL women talked about their lives and the work and sacrifice they made to become successful. Our Afafanto girls spoke about their aspirations as well. They all would like to continue on to university. Two want to be accountants, one a teacher, one a nutritionist, every one of the girls had big dreams to help their villages as well as themselves.

In Larabanga, 43 village women heard a presentation from WIL member Carol Cunningham on a new process for making fuel. Afterwards, the women broke up into smaller groups for a discussion on how the village women capitalize on this idea in Larabanga to earn money and save the environment at the same time. The village women were energized. All they needed was a tin drum, some organic material (they had plenty of shea butter waste) and some starch. The idea that they cold earn money and save the environment at the same time energized the village women and men alike. It will be exciting to see how they move forward with what Carol shared with them.


Ibn Kamara and Sandee

Traveling around Ghana is an arduous, expensive enterprise. Good roads are just now being built to the more remote areas. It took a lot of hard work and time for both Emelia Guo, Labrine Braimah, our NGO executive director and business manager and Ibn Kamara our coordinator in Larabanga  to organize these meetings. I deeply appreciate their efforts on behalf of Leah’s Dream.


p1040267The costs of food and transportation just to bring the scholarship girls into our Tamale office from their various school across the country are high for a small non profit and present significant roadblocks for getting our girls and women together. It costs Emelia 650 Ghana Cedis or about $160.00 and she tries to do this at least 3 times a year so they can get the training, mentoring and fellowship that goes along with being an Afafanto Scholar. Furthermore, Labrine and Emelia do this for no compensation!

Sadly, since our last visit nearly two years ago, life seems harder than ever. Food, energy and fuel costs have gone up since our last visit to Ghana. Life seems as hard as ever. People save by using less lights. Senior High Schools suffer along with the rest of the country. Our girls spend more time searching for wood and water. Costs of uniforms and supplies have increased. It costs closer to $1,000.00 per year to support a girl in Senior High School and offer her the training to succeed when she graduates.

Won’t you please consider helping our girls and their mother’s in the villages to find new options and a path way out of poverty?IMG_8701.JPG

Click on the link below to help our girls and women achieve.DN2Button-BlueSmall


Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.




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The Graduation Issue

Wow, we now have a grand total of 16 girls who have been or a currently going through high school thanks to the Afafanto Scholarship Fund, the main project of Leah’s Dream Inc. These are our newest grads: Adzifah and Samiyah.

I met them for the first time on my last trip to Ghana in 2013. Now they are finished with their final exams and about to embark on a future that is filled with new possibilities thanks to their secondary education.

First Lady, Michelle Obama is in Africa now in support of girls’ education. It can never be said enough that in most places in our world, women are treated as less than equal with less than equal opportunities than are accorded the male population.

Take Rafia, who is now working as administrative assistant in our Leah’s Dream office earning the money she needs to go on to University. Here is her story:

Rafia was trained in bead-making during one of Leah’s Dream Inc. transition programs.


Bead making at Bridge Transition Training

After graduation, she returned to her home in Larabanga hoping to support herself and save enough money to retake her exams. In Larabanga the villagers are so poor they are often given a product up front and pay for it later. The villagers saw her as privileged, as having been empowerd by schooling through Leah’s Dream. This justified them stealing the beads Rafia had learned to make in the transition program and not paying for them.

Disappointed and disillusioned, Rafia realized she could not make money in Larabanga, she went to Kumasi, a large city in central Ghana, to live with a female relative. They sold food on a roadside stand, but didn’t make enough to cover food, let alone save for exam money.

Emelia Guo, Executive Director of Leah’s Dream in Ghana, began to receive distress calls from Rafia. She stated that she didn’t feel safe; she couldn’t make ends meet, conditions were worse than in Larabanga. She asked to live with Emelia while she made enough money to take the exam for entrance to the government secretarial school. “I want to do something with my life! I don’t have anything.”

Though it is not a policy of Leah’s Dream to finance college eduction, Emelia softened and began to explore the possibility of taking Rafia into her home. She went to visit Rafia’s parents in Larabanga, and they were very supportive of that possibility.   Next she called Ramson, her contact with the Larabanga community, for a character reference.  He vouched for Rafia: “Help her. She is a good girl and her parents will be so happy.”

Rafiya officeSo Rafia is now living in Emelia’s home, sharing space with her own children until she can earn enough money to attend secretarial school and to live on her own. She is happy to be working and has been a great asset in our office.

One of the realities that Afafanto scholarship girls have had to learn is how much they have to study to pass the exams that lead to further opportunities. Once they graduate from high school, they are in “the real world.” To be independent, most need further training and education.

Another example is Sofia, who also wants to take the exam again. Her situation is different in that when she left school, she went to Accra, the capital, and returned to her home in Daboya. The big cities are difficult for these young women who come from small villages and boarding schools. Often they fall prey to prostitution to make ends meet. In Daboya,  she is selling beads successfully, and food at the market. She has 1,000 Cedi’s in her bank account!

Despite education, women are still needed to be the caretakers of the family. Arabiatu left high school pregnant and went to live with her grandmother in Tamale. She gave birth as a single parent and now is taking care of the baby and her grandmother. Because of her education, she has been a positive force in her village.

Starting in elementary school, a slightly higher percentage of girls than boys are in school. In junior high it evens out. In high school, girls are disproportionately represented. Families often marry off girls or use them to work on family farms. Of the fifteen Afafanto scholarship girls, only one has dropped out. As they graduate and begin to experience the challenges of adulthood, they more and more express appreciation not only for the all-expense paid high school education but also the personal contact with Emelia, the skills training with Fuleira , and the mentoring for fulfilling life choices.

I want to end with the most recent email that I have received from Ernestina, one of our second year students. If you want to help our girls, please donate: DN2Button-BlueSmall

Thanks so much, Sandee


I would like to thank  you  for the items you provided me last term.
The items made studies interesting and progressive for me in School.
But since then, I have not had the chance to communicate with you due
to lack of communicating devices.
In our School they do not allow us to enter the ICT laboratory for
personal assessment.
Also, they do not permit us to go out of the School Premises without
any tangible reason
So am unable to communicate with you whilst I was in school.
I have had this opportunity to communicate with you because we are on
Mid – Terms and I am in the house
So i have the chance to visit the Internet Cafe to communicate with you.
May God Bless you and also Pray for me as I am in School to Impress
you at the End of my stay in the Senior High School.
From Teng – Zeng Ernestina

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Only 4 Days Left in 2015


Happy New YearsmHi, This is the last you will hear from me in 2015. Leah’s Dream Inc. has had a great year. We opened an office, sponsored 10 girls in high school and trained 4 more of our graduates to go out into the world as responsible young adults. With the last few days of 2015, we hope to reach our funding goal of $10,000.00. We are more than halfway there. You can help put us over the top.

computertraining In the coming year, we are hoping to add a computer training component in our Tamale office. Unfortunately, right now, we only have one computer that all the girls must share. We help our Afafanto Scholars become computer literate so that they can compete in our modern world. We want them to have these valuable skills as they begin to earn their own money and seek entrance into university programs. The program is scheduled to begin in February for our second year girls.

Your help is urgently needed to move our training program further. Many thanks to those who have already donated to our Scholarship Program. If you have not already given, won’t you please consider helping us to purchase a computer or two?  Donate at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/afafanto

Adinkra Symbol This is an African symbol for transformation. Many Thanks to all who have helped transform Leah’s Dream into a reality. Have a very Happy New Year!



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Give a Gift of an Education



It is fast approaching Christmas and the holiday gift giving season is almost over. Have you thought about using Amazon Smile to purchase your gifts? If you already shop on Amazon or if you’re looking for the perfect gift, we invite you to choose Leah’s Dream as your charity of choice. Each time you buy on Amazon Smile, Amazon donates .5% of your purchase to Leah’s Dream. We applaud Amazon for their efforts to support charities like us. Here are easy to follow directions for getting started. It takes only a moment:

  1. http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2986141
  2. Sign in and Choose Your Charity: Leah S Dream Inc.amazonSmileLogin
  3. Begin shopping. That’s simple!
  4. Of course, if you really want to give the gift of an education to some deserving girls, you can go directly to our donate page on our website and choose an appropriate gift for your budget.DonateNow
  5. Either way, giving makes you feel good and feeling good is a gift to yourself. HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON!