Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NCOGA Celebrates 54 Years of Ghana’s Independence

NCOGA Celebrates 54 Years of Ghana’s Independence
Amandla Newspaper
March 2011
By Pamela Appea

The National Council of Ghanaian Associations, Inc.(NCOGA) celebrated Ghana’s 54th Independence Anniversary on Saturday, March 12 at the Armenia Hall in Manhattan.

One of its biggest social and cultural events of the year, NCOGA’s Scholarship & Recognition Benefit Gala aims to provide a setting for tri-state area Ghanaian associations to network and to set and achieve common goals in its ongoing work furthering the betterment of Ghana and Ghanaian-American life.

Among the 400 guests in attendance was Ambassador Ken Kanda, permanent representative
of the Ghana Mission and a wide variety of other prominent community leaders. The newly appointed ambassador said in his remarks to the audience that he is optimistic
and enthusiastic about working closely with NCOGA.

“We should all be filled with hope for a better future,” said Mr. Kanda. “I do
sincerely look forward to working closely with the Ghanaian community irrespective
of tribe, gender, party or religion, for the good of our
compatriots in New York.”

Ivy Rose Quarshie, the Executive Secretary General of NCOGA, told Amandla what’s ahead in 2011.

“My main goal is to secure the cultural center for all Ghanaians,
“Ghana House.” Before I leave office in March 2012, I am hoping to have provided
everyone with a cultural center in the Bronx. We have the support of New York politicians, including City Councilwoman Helen Diane Foster,District 16 (the Bronx, New York) but because of the current economy and the New York housing market, the road to accomplishing our goal has been an arduous one,” said
Ms. Quarshie.

“The building will be a community resource for everyone to have weddings and other parties, funerals and other functions.” Other NCOGA projects include
making health education a priority for Ghanaians and the participation of a wide variety of cultural and civic related duties and events, including education scholarships.

Six students were awarded scholarships to various colleges in the country.

Last week NCOGA co-hosted a health fair in Manhattan that attracted a number of
people, including many Africans, and covered topics including hypertension, fibroids,
diabetes and balanced diet.

“The health expo last Saturday is…is a laudable effort as most of us in our community lack the health education necessary to make informed choices about our lifestyle and access to health care,” said Ms. Quarshie.

“These medical professionals and community leaders deserve our utmost praise and admiration,” said Ms. Quarshie who thanked all of the medical professionals
who participated including Dr.Benjamin Dodoo, Chair of the NCOGA Board.

Last but not least, Ms. Quarshie wants to continue to do outreach and connect more
associations under the NCOGA umbrella, particularly in New Jersey and Connecticut.
The event program featured music, dancing, food and more. Rev. Mensah of AME
Zion Church the first female to participate in the interfaith open prayer. And Ms. Olivia Obuabang gave a well-received performance for both the American and Ghanaian
national anthems. DJ Katabo provided music with an interlude by trumpeter Francis

2011 Scholarship Awardees included: Kofi Manu of St.
John’s University; Ruby
Abaka Yankson of the University
of Maryland; Amadu
Haruna of the Art Center College
of Design in California;
Eugene Asante of Fordham
University; Joana A. Ameyaw
of the University of Hartford;
Shannon Mensah of Safe College
of Albany.

Each student
received $500.

Additionally, working together with the Adakum Foundation, a group of highschool
age Scarsdale students attended the event in preparation for their maiden voyage
to Ghana to work on a malaria prevention public project in Accra.

“I had a lot of fun,” said NCOGA scholarship recipient Eugene Asante, a political science major at Fordham University, of his first NCOGA event, “I’m definitely going to come back again.

Mr. Asante who immigrated to the United States only three years ago, said, “I think the giving of scholarships was inspiring to everyone not just the recipients.” His only issue with the gala was it started at 10 p.m. when the event was
supposed to start at 7 p.m. Nonetheless, Mr. Asante stayed until past 4 a.m.

Major event sponsors included:
Money Gram;
Delta Airlines;
Trinity Travel;
Prestige Travel;
Elite International
Shipping Company;
Accra African Restaurant on Davidson Avenue in the Bronx;
Ghana Supply Limited;
African Development Foundation;
and many others.

The Bronx’s Accra African restaurant served a wide variety of
chicken and meat dishes, rice, plantains, salad and more dinner [items.]