On 23rd October 2018, the 20th Anniversary of Focus on your Strengths (FOYS) was celebrated at Calvary Presbyterian Church, Abiriw. The arrangements included an exhibition showing the variety of projects related to health, agriculture, education and culture that FOYS has undertaken over the last two decades.
The performers included members of the FOYS Movement and Dance Group seen here in costumes created by the Ms Patricia Azu, a tutor at J G Knol Institute who has made many contributions to FOYS and established valuable links with that organisation.
The dancers have some five dances in their repertoire, and their performances were so stimulating that many who came to watch joined in the dancing!
In addition to the FOYS Movement and Dance Group, The Calvary Gibbs Choir (who were on ‘home ground’), the J G Knol (FOYS) Singers together with the J G Knol School Choir entertained the gathering.
Space was available in the programme for an impromptu poetry recitation by Lydia Koranteng (Abiriw JHS).
As can be appreciated, preparing for the event was challenging, and many lessons were learned in the process.
The celebrations were enjoyed by all who attended.
Much of the work involved in organising the event fell on the shoulders of a small organising committee. In this picture, Mrs Patience Gibbs, née Addo, is seen with relatives and with FOYS facilitators in their 20th Anniversary tee-shirts. From the left: Penning King Ofori-Ansah (Snr), Felix K Manukre (whose contributions included designing the Anniversary tee-shirts), Willie Koranteng Ansah, Ms Patricia Azu, Mrs Gibbs, Emmanuel J. Ansah (partly obscured), Mrs Celia Asare (chaperone and chorister), Mrs Charlotte Koranteng, Akua Koranteng, and Francis Koranteng (Treasurer of FOYS). Others involved in planning and organising the event included Offei Isaac, Godfred Vibah, and Madam Abena Foriwa. Opening prayers were offered by King Ofori-Ansah Jnr and closing prayers by Maxwell Adu Okyere; King Ofori Ansah Jr was MC.
In the course of the evening, Mrs Gibbs spoke about the upbringing she had benefitted from in Abiriw. From what she said, it was clear that her grandfather, Mr H G Mensah, popularly known as ‘Nana Tailor Mensah’, and his wife, Nana Yaa Boatemaa, had clearly loomed large in her childhood. She held up her grand-father as an example of an entrepreneur who began his working life by doing an apprenticeship that earned him his nick-name. He subsequently became an importer- exporter and built a substantial house in Abiriw.
Mrs Gibbs gave an account of the opportunities for learning and self-expression that she befitted from when living in that house.
Listeners were particularly interested to learn of the contribution to town life made by Mr Kwasi Anoff from Aburi, who was a Scout leader, organized a dumb-bell group, and taught folk dances.
Mrs Gibbs said that, through her work with FOYS, she was expressing her gratitude for the grounding she had received.
To fund the work FOYS undertakes in Ghana, Mrs Gibbs and her daughter, Ms Rebecca Konyo Gibbs, have participated in a variety of events in the UK. FOYS products, including balms, bags, shirts and ties, have featured on stalls at events held at, for example, Victoria Methodist Church and the New Room, Bristol; groups and individuals have made generous contributions.