EXCEED makes a lasting difference to the future for Ghanaian orphans

Over the past 12 months, the support and dedication from Aberdeen-based well management firm EXCEED has helped drastically improve the lives of 42 vulnerable or orphaned Ghanaian children.

In the run up to 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 Counsel and Head of CSR 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, part of a traditional African celebration involving the entire local community, with a red carpet, blessings and speeches by dignitaries, along with celebratory singing and dancing. 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.

Mrs Van der Vossen continued: “From start to finish the ambitious project took almost a year – several months longer than planned initially after various challenges and set-backs along the way. However seeing first-hand the truly life changing difference the new home would make, made it all worthwhile. Everyone persisted to overcome the odds alongside continuous fundraising and the delivery of supplies and gifts by EXCEED staff in Ghana, and overall it was a rewarding and humbling experience for everyone involved.

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 amounts of sweets, Mrs van der Vossen took Aberdeen Football Club strips which caused great excitement and inspired them to win their very first U13’s game against a local school.

Along with the building itself, a water well was drilled to ensure the children have drinking water and a mini-bus was purchased to provide transport for the younger children to and from school, clinics, transport supplies and groceries, etc.

“The next stage of the project will be to support Becky’s Foundation in identifying suitable projects to make effective use of the land on which the orphanage was built and to help them achieve a level of sustainability, so that they and we can continue to make a real, lasting difference to the lives of these children” concluded Mrs Van der Vossen.

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.