[VIDEO] : Food for the soul -a way to end the year

Christmas is a time when Christians all over the world remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is also a reminder that the current year is close to an end with the expectation of a new year .

The season comes with various celebrations and the exchanging of gifts, hosting of parties, sharing of food and drinks,  buying of new dresses and toys, and many other exciting and memorable activities. But most of these gifts are perishable and will soon be forgotten as the days go by.

For the children at the Volta Home Orphanage, however, their Christmas gift in 2019, will remain food for the soul. No child will reject a party, especially a Christmas party, so our foundation organized one for them. There was plenty to eat and drink. The children danced, clapped, and laughed. These were made possible by the kind courtesy of the Joy in Giving team who stirred up the atmosphere with joy and love.

The ultimate gift, which will not perish but will contribute to the spiritual growth of the children, was a Bible. Courtesy of the foundation’s partner, Patrick Quainoo Global Ministries, each child received a Good News Bible- a Christmas gift they will own for life. The children must have food for their physical survival but they also need the word of God which is food for the soul as captured in Mathew chapter 4 verse 4-

Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ (Matthew 4:4, NIV).

We are thankful to all our partners, sponsors, and volunteers who helped us to end the year 2019 memorably.

Enjoy watching the videos below.


Our Volunteers – our priceless gifts

Let’s talk about volunteerism today. My interest in this subject goes way back to when I was a student.

But let me begin by showing appreciation to all our volunteers including myself, they are the reason why I am writing this piece.

Our volunteers live busy lives, yet they sacrifice their time and sleep for a worthy cause.

They share love and joy with the kids we cater to.

They volunteer for the Joy In Giving Foundation and they are our priceless gifts.

I was always looking for an opportunity to volunteer when I was a student Journalist, but I think I did not search too hard, so I never got that chance.

Later, in life, I remember going online to search for organizations that I could volunteer for. I found out from my search that there were so many such voluntary offers available outside my country and that involved incurring some costs including application, flight, and accommodation among others if I wanted to proceed. But not having the money to sponsor myself, I did not pursue it.

The good news is, now I am a volunteer. Are you surprised?  Well, I am the founder of the Joy In Giving Foundation, but I am also the number one volunteer because, at our foundation, every team member is a volunteer.  Again, I think through this foundation, I have the chance to do what I had always wanted to do when I was a student volunteer.

The blessings, satisfaction, and joy we derive from serving the less privileged are enough rewards.  Maybe I can explain it better by quoting what Harriet, one of our volunteers, said after visiting the Volta Home Orphanage for the first time-“The experience was amazing…..It is time we all come together to support these kids who are our future leaders

This may probably be the reason why a lot more people have expressed interest in volunteering for our next project. Welcome aboard! You will enjoy it.

So, who is a volunteer?  According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, “A volunteer is a person who does something, especially for other people or for an organization, willingly and without being forced to do it or paid to do it.”

This definition is not different from what the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, captured in its 2015 Annual Report which states; “The terms volunteering, volunteerism, and voluntary activities refer to a wide range of activities … undertaken of free will, for the general public good and where the monetary reward is not the principal motivating factor.”

The UNGA goes on further to explain that volunteerism, while universal, is multifaceted, and can be organized and managed formally within structured organizations, especially CSOs, and within governments and the private sector. It can also be run informally, and millions volunteer within informal structures and groups, outside of formally recognized institutions; it is often practiced within the communities where people live and work and can be a lifelong commitment

Well, I did not limit myself to dictionaries and Annual Reports but consulted my bible and I was amazed at the number of scriptures and verses that relate to or support volunteerism. For this article, I will use only three of the verses I came across. 1 John 3:18 admonishes us to demonstrate our love not just by words but by our actions; “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Galatians 6:9  encourages us not to be tired of or give up on doing good;  Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap if we do not give in.” And Titus 3:14 cautions us against becoming unfruitful but rather dedicate our time to do good works; “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.”

The truth is, a lot of people especially the young ones are volunteering for organizations or institutions without being aware. Internships and offering a service at any organization without monetary reward at one’s will can be described as volunteerism, right?

For us at Joy In Giving, that sacrifice of one’s time and service is a priceless gift.  It is a gift our volunteers give to the foundation and the children we reach out to. And we do not take this gesture for granted.

In Ghana, some universities and tertiary institutions have included volunteerism in their curricula. I believe this is to teach the students or better still,  inculcate the spirit of giving and serving one’s community without expecting anything in return. In other countries, men and women who occupy very high positions in society, even make time to volunteer.

I will therefore encourage you as you read this, to make time out of your busy schedule to volunteer for a worthy cause. If on the other hand, you are not too busy, perhaps you are even unemployed now, be productive by offering yourself to be a volunteer at any organization that is willing to take you on. It is an activity that must be captured boldly on your Curriculum Vitae, CV, or Resume. And you must be proud to talk about it anytime. Remember today you may be doing it for free but hold on because very soon, that gesture will pay off to your surprise.


From Accra to VeDeme and why you shouldn’t give up

“Why the Volta Region?” I have been asked this question many times. I will try to answer it in this piece dedicated to all who share in our foundation’s vision.

It was one of those evenings when I had finished presenting the Sports news after a long day. In what had become a practice, I will unwind by logging in to my Facebook account on one of the newsroom PCs, checking what’s new before I finally leave for home.

While scrolling through my messages, I came across one message that caught my attention. For this piece, I have captured that message here:

“Hello, sis Joyce. I have been watching you on television. I live at the Volta Home Orphanage in the Volta Region of Ghana and I would be happy if you could visit us…….God bless you for the work you do always”

I read the message sent on the 28th of September 2010, repeatedly; excited as always when I read nice messages from friends and admirers I have never met before and may probably never meet.

The sender of the message wanted me to visit the orphanage. Touching as it felt, I was not sure if I was going to honor that request especially as the location was out of Accra.

Not to let this “friend” feel bad, I responded, promising to do that during the Christmas period and that meant just about three months from the date he had sent the message. My response got my “friend” sending me more messages,  sometimes telling me about how he was faring at school and also sharing with me some interesting activities at the orphanage.

So, December 2010 came, and I did not fulfill my promise. How bad of me!   All I remember is that, though I had a strong desire to visit the orphanage, traveling to the Volta region was not on my to-do list, coupled with my busy schedule at work.

Fast forward to September 2017, and that was when I stepped foot at the orphanage for the first time. Hmmm! Seven years after I made a promise, right? In between, this boy would not give up. He consistently sent me messages to remind me about my promise. He also made me aware, of how disappointed they were at the orphanage as I kept postponing my visit.

To compensate them, I got some food items delivered to the “unknown boy” and all the children at the orphanage in 2016.

Though excited with the gesture, he would not hide the fact that the children at the orphanage wanted to see me. This will force me to plan my trip to the Volta Region in September 2017, but I wasn’t going to travel alone. I went with the Joy In Giving team and that trip was made even grand with the kind sponsorship of Partners of the Joy In Giving Foundation, the Melcom Group, Patrick Quainoo Ministries, and the Mothers of Africa.

The four-hour trip from Accra to VeDeme began very early in the morning. The road is full of patches and potholes.  VeDeme is on the way to Hohoe. I remember the driver of the bus whom I had been assured was very familiar with the Accra -Volta road missed the turning at the Ve junction.   We had to make a U-turn after driving on for about thirty to forty-five -minutes with no sign of the orphanage insight.  With the help of one of the volunteers who hails from the Volta Region, we finally found the Ve junction that leads to the Volta Home. A few minutes’ drive saw us reaching our destination- the Volta Home Orphanage.

That is when I met my “unknown friend“ for the first time. He is Charles Annabi. His parents are the owners of the orphanage.  He was in Junior High School when he first contacted me through Facebook but has now graduated from Senior High school and is currently pursuing further education at the University.

The 2017 trip to VeDeme was my second time in the Volta Region. My first was somewhere in 2008 and that took me to Tapa Abotoase in the Biakoye District, where I did some human-interest stories for news and the Breakfast Show.

I was however happy to be back in the Volta Region.  I not only got the opportunity to meet with the owners and matrons but also had a good time interacting with the children -thanks to God and Charles, the boy who refused to give up.

So, my question is, how long have you been expecting something that seems to be taking forever and how long are you willing to wait?  I have learned a lot from this story and I will encourage you never to give up because giving up won’t speed up the process anyway.

Today, we are helping the orphanage meet its numerous needs through the Joy In Giving Foundation and its partners.

What I know is that, after several years of excuses and disappointments, the visit to the orphanage finally came off and it has resulted in a stronger bond between the Volta Home and Joy In Giving Foundation, which hopes to benefit the children positively.