Over the past 12 months, staff and managers at Aberdeen-based well management firm Exceed have helped to drastically improve the lives of 42 vulnerable and orphaned Ghanaian children.
Last Christmas, they were evicted from the rented premises they called home and their future was looking desperate.
This year, their situation is totally transformed after Exceed worked alongside local organisation Becky’s Foundation and raised and contributed more than £70,000 to buy land, build and furnish a new home, drill a water well and purchase a minibus for the children.
Fiona van der Vossen, Exceed legal advisor, said: “Due to Exceed’s strong ties with Ghana, having worked in-country for more than six years we felt strongly that we had a responsibility to give something back to the community.
“Their temporary accommodation, for the last year, has consisted of sleeping on the floor of two small rooms that during the day were used as the local day care centre, with no sanitation, electricity or running water.
“The orphans’ new home is clean and spacious, with communal eating and living rooms, a kitchen, dorm rooms with bunk beds and mosquito nets, showers, toilets and running water, and crucially a room for visiting volunteers – essentially a safe and nurturing environment, and a first for these children.”
The new orphanage was officially opened by Mrs van der Vossen on behalf of Exceed, as part of a traditional African celebration. She spent a further two weeks, living and volunteering at the orphanage, getting to know the children and gaining a first-hand understanding of the work of Becky’s Foundation to ensure the follow-up support Exceed will provide is both practical and sustainable.
Located 4km from the local village where the children attend school, the 2.5 acre of land was bought in November 2014, with Exceed assisting with final payment and supporting with the drawing up of the plans and building of the new home.
Along with school supplies (and copious quantities of sweets) Mrs van der Vossen took Aberdeen FC strips, which caused great excitement among the youngsters and inspired them to win their very first U13s game against a local school.
In addition to the orphanage project in Ghana, Exceed has supported various other causes, including several closer to home in Scotland, over the years. Current projects include this year’s Children’s 1st “Touch of Tartan” Ball and the Foodbank Christmas drive.