The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched the Rev. Father Andrew Campbell SVD Foundation and called on all to support the foundation.
The foundation is an umbrella organisation to help Rev. Fr Campbell, who is the former Parish Priest of Christ the King Catholic Church, to manage his priestly mission, his social interventions and other national duties as a full citizen of Ghana.
The foundation will be dedicated to supporting cured lepers and facilities hosting them, and also provide meals for street children and the deprived.
Through Rev. Fr Campbell’s influence and support, the Weija Leprosarium has witnessed a substantial redevelopment, there have been renovations at the Ankaful Leprosy General Hospital, a laboratory for leprosy and skin conditions at Wa, as well as a leprosy clinic at Kokofu.
Rev. Fr Campbell, who has retired from active service, now lives at the Weija Leprosarium.
There is also his Christ the King Soup Kitchen, which feeds street children at least a hot meal a day.
He took care of about 800 people daily during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, and all these humanitarian interventions will now come under the foundation.
At a ceremony at the Christ the King Parish Hall last Sunday, Dr Bawumia expressed delight to be a patron of the foundation and said it would enhance the advocacy and improve the intervention on leprosy, street children, rural development and child health.
“Through Fr Campbell’s works in the past 52 years, we have improved the fight against leprosy and made new discoveries in that area through better collaboration with the National Leprosy Programme. Surveillance has improved, case finding has increased and treatment has reached many,” the Vice-President said.
Quoting from the Bible, Dr Bawumia said: “The care and compassion demonstrated by Fr Campbell is what is required of us, and that is taking care of the needy and feeding the hungry”.
Therefore, he said, to help Rev. Fr Campbell was to help Ghanaians because he represented the very least and the downtrodden in society.
“Our happiness in life should never be complete once our neighbours still wander in grief and sorrow,” he added.
Dr Bawumia thanked the church and faith-based organisations for the interventions they continued to make to help the marginalised and vulnerable in society, and assured Rev. Fr Campbell and the foundation that he would be with them just as he had done on the leprosy and street children project.
The Vice-President also gave an assurance that he would help to mobilise GH¢100,000 to support the foundation as requested by Rev. Fr Campbell.
The spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, said Fr Campbell’s activities had brought meaning to religion.
He said Rev. Fr Campbell, as a friend of the dejected and the rejected in society, was not afraid of destitution.
He said the Chief Imam, Sheik Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, shared those humanitarian values of the spirit of love, compassion and care, adding that religion would not have made better meaning if it was not accompanied with such pure spirit of humanitarian concern.
Sheikh Shaibu donated GH¢5,000 to the foundation on behalf of the National Chief Imam.
Rev. Fr Campbell said all that he had been doing involved a lot of funds, and, therefore, he could not do them alone.
“I have to employ more people so I send them to other parts of the country because we need a zero number of leprosy in the country, and this requires more staff,” Rev. Fr Campbell explained.
That, he said, meant he would need money to pay the staff, electricity and water bills, and at least provide a meal a day for them.
“Many of the residents of the Weija Leprosarium have young children taking care of them, and I need to send them to school and to pay for the school fees and medical bills.
“The oldest man in Weija is 104 years who has medical bills to be paid, and the youngest is a three-year-old girl brought from Wa with leprosy,” he explained.
“I am involved in works for the lepers and street children, and I want the work to continue through the foundation even when I am no more,” Rev. Fr Campbell said.
He also appealed for support to enable him to publish a book written by about 70 people on how he (Fr Campbell) touched their lives.