Forty-two year old Evangelist Naomi Esi Arku Amoah, founder of the Royal Seed Foundation at Kasoa, Central Region, Friday night emerged the ultimate winner of the MTN Heroes of Change Season IV.
She walked home with the coveted prize of GH¢100,000 to support her charity of love that caters for abandoned babies and homeless children, some picked up from refuse dumps and the bushes where they had been left ostensibly to die. She nurtures and nourishes them for a hopeful future.
The wide smiles on the faces of some of her wards who accompanied her to the awards ceremony, their cheers of joy as it reverberated within the main auditorium of the Accra International Conference Centre, and as artist Chuku gradually pencilled his craft to reveal the identity of the ultimate winner, sent tears to her eyes and those of many who celebrated her.
Dealing with babies who had been given no chance in life, some with very complicated health challenges whose correction come at untold costs, obviously had had a telling effect on her.
She raised her hands to the skies in adoration, said many thank yous, and embraced the other finalists. She least expected the support that MTN has brought her, and she was lost for words.
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When she found her voice again, she thanked everyone once more, particularly all who have in one way or the other supported her charity, MTN included. About 100 individuals, ranging from under one to 22 years, are in her care, some she has supported to tertiary level education.
Among those who cheered her work and the works of the other Heroes of Change, was 2nd Lady Samira Bawumia, who confessed how heart-warming it is to see ordinary Ghanaians, in spite of their own limitations, go all out to support others.
“Ghanaians are known for their communal values, hospitality and good neighbourliness. The stories of these MTN Heroes of Change confirm the dedication and selflessness towards positively impacting their communities with their own resources, time and energy.”
Samira Bawumia recounted the projects of each of all the 10 finalists, and said she did it deliberately for emphasis and “to say ayekoo and thank you so much for your selflessness.”
She also had gratitude for MTN for shining the light on the great deeds of the hidden heroes, and expressed hope that through the Heroes of Change platform, the attention of state institutions and benevolent individuals will be directed towards support for their projects.
“As a people, we ought to develop structures and support systems that will promote the work of those individuals in social interventions such as these Heroes of Change. These structures will make it easier for more people to undertake and sustain such initiatives. Well done once again and congratulations to the MTN Heroes of Change for your courage, dedication and selflessness and thoughtfulness. In the words of Vince Lombardi, it is time for us all to stand and cheer the doer, the achiever, the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it. Thank you so much.”
Three category winners were each presented with a cheque for Gh₵30,000 and hampers.
Emmanuel Annobil, 52 founder of Mental Health NGO based in Kaneshie, Accra won the Health category with his project that takes mental patients off the streets, refreshes them, feed and clothe as well as rehabilitates re-integrate them.
Madam Serwah Quaynor 67, won the Education category with her project the Autism Awareness Care and Training at Kokomelemle in Accra while Rev Mrs Sanatu Nangtoma, 65 and founder of the Tumakavi Development Association in Tamale, won the Economic empowerment category with her project that focuses on girl child education, women empowerment, eradication of poverty and health of babies.
The other six finalists - Ayisha Fuseini, Dr. Quincy Attipoe, Josephine Agbo-Nettey, Dr. Dzifa Dey, Prince Oduro Williams, and Linat Osman Kundaribuo - received Gh₵10,000 each to support their projects.
A special awards category also recognised a number of media and showbiz personalities who also impacted society in special ways through their reportage or charity projects. Seth Kwame Boateng and Joseph Opoku Gakpo of the Multimedia Group, musician Okyeame Kwame and Yvonne Nelson and Yvonne Okoro, were all honoured.