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UK Reg. Charity no: 1141028 Ghana Reg. Charity no: DSW/3024
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Our Story

AfriKids’ work began in 1997. Georgie Fienberg (nee Cohen) was a British gap year student at the time travelling through West Africa.
 
Sr Jane Naaglosegme was stationed in the village of Sirigu in northern Ghana running the Mother of Mercy Babies’ Home, a centre she had established to rescue ‘spirit children’ and give them a good chance in life.
 
Nich Kumah meanwhile in the regional capital Bolgatanga was manager of the cultural centre and had just, with fellow members of a prayer group, converted an old latrine building into a centre for street children.
 
It is the convergence of these three stories over the course of the following five years that led to the establishment of AfriKids.
 
Having heard about the Mother of Mercy Babies’ home when in Accra Georgie came to stay and volunteer there for three months during her travels. She had no intention of fundraising or working in the third sector in anyway. However, she was so impressed with the work Sr Jane was doing with very few resources to tackle a complex and ingrained social problem, she decided to try and help.
 
Georgie began fundraising in the UK whilst at university. She took money and resources back to the home each summer and helped Sr Jane to develop the childcare and resettlement programmes at the home. Within a year the death rate of babies in the home dropped from one in three to zero. The project became known as Operation Sirigu.
 
In 2000 Georgie took the biggest group of supporters to Ghana and raised more money than any previous years. Her brother Fred Cohen visited for the first time and became as hooked on the Upper East Region as Georgie. John Hickman and Hugh Taylor helped to fund the bore hole they organised for the home that year and many others who became AfriKids’ longest term supporters got involved that summer.
 
By 2001 Georgie had reached a crossroads; she had graduated from university and established herself in a good corporate job, but the work of Operation Sirigu continued to grow and needed more of her time. She struggled to find a way to effectively channel support to Sirigu through established NGOs, so she decided to do it herself.
 
She was encouraged by Baroness Chalker of Wallasey, a former minister for overseas development in the UK, to establish her own organisation. So Georgie left her job to gain experience in fundraising at a charity for the blind. By 2002 she was ready, and registered AfriKids to listen to what community partners knew they needed, and empower them to make the necessary changes themselves.
 
Before registering Georgie and Georgina Combes, a school friend who agreed to co-direct the charity, visited Bolgatanga to seek a second partner in need of the extra funds they anticipated being able to raise. This is how they came to meet Nich Kumah, Felix Amenga Etego and Rex Asanga who had established the House of Restoration and were caring for 12 former street boys there. Their project became Operation Bolgatanga.
 
Between 2002 and 2004 AfriKids raised enough to expand the babies’ home, adding the House of Hope, and the House of Restoration was replaced by a large transitional centre for the street children of Bolgatanga known as the Next Generation Home.
 
In August 2004 Georgie met two more people who would become central to AfriKids. Mama Laadi Awuni had begun to work with Clare Armstrong a British fieldworker working for AfriKids in Bolgatanga. Together they had started the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ (later renamed the School of Night Rabbits) for the street children of Bolgatanga and Clare had sung the praises of Laadi’s selflessness and  ‘under the Mango Tree’ approach to helping the most vulnerable children in Bolga. Earlier that year Pastor Charles Dagore who had been teaching children in his rural community Zuarungu saw the AfriKids website on the old red truck as it trundled through Bolgatanga and had emailed Georgie appealing for support. That summer she met both Mama Laadi and Charles and was bowled over by their work. In a tiny but immaculate room Mama Laadi was caring for 12 children in addition to holding down a full time job. Under a shady mango tree Charles was teaching 30 children dressed in beautiful uniforms but with no other resources.
 
Both partners were taken on and Operation Mango Tree and Operation Zuarungu were born. Nich Kumah was appointed director to oversee the work of the organisation in Bolgatanga and Ophelia Abatey in Sirigu, the first AfriKids Ghana office was established.
 
By 2005 AfriKids Ghana had been registered as a local NGO and Fr Moses Akebule who had facilitated Georgie’s work for years became head of the trustees. Nich had become sole director, was overseeing the work of all the partner projects and had begun to identify new areas of work for development.
 
The increasing flow of children from Bolga to the south had become a major concern so Nich started to put plans together which eventually became Operation Fresh Start.
 
Operation Sirigu had ended its association with the Babies’ Home but through the voluntary work of Joe Asakibeem and fieldwork of Elijah Agongo had demonstrated the scope for a district wide, community based approach to tackling the spirit child phenomenon.
 
Meanwhile Reed Elsevier in the UK had offered AfriKids a ‘school in a box’ which would provide all of the equipment needed to set up an IT Academy in Bolga.
 
AfriKids’ Core projects were born.

AfriKids' Founders, Nich and Georgie
AfriKids' Founders, Nich and Georgie
Sister Jane
Sister Jane
Mama Laadi
Mama Laadi
Project Managers Cletus and Joe with patron, Baroness Linda Chalker
Project Managers Cletus and Joe with patron, Baroness Linda Chalker
AfriKids UK Chairman, John Hickman and AfriKids Ghana Chairman, Fr Moses Akebule
AfriKids UK Chairman, John Hickman and AfriKids Ghana Chairman, Fr Moses Akebule
Nich and Fred, some of AfriKids' first staff, still with the organisation today
Nich and Fred, some of AfriKids' first staff, still with the organisation today