Thomas Awiapo

Thomas Awiapo: Global Solidarity in Action

Ghana trip

A group of blind gardeners supported by CRS welcome the St. Francis girls to their project site in the village of Ermon, Ghana, with song and dance. Photo by CRS staff

A delegation of 12 students and 3 teachers from St. Francis, an all-girls’ Catholic high school in Sacramento, California, visited Ghana from June 7 to 21, 2010. The visit provided a unique opportunity to the delegation to join their sister school, also called St. Francis, in Jirapa, Ghana, to celebrate their relationship, which began more than 5 years ago and has grown from strength to strength.

The girls also took the opportunity to visit Catholic Relief Services projects, learn about the work of CRS in Ghana and interact with beneficiaries of the different projects. St. Francis High School in Sacramento has been a great supporter of CRS programs through many years of participation in Operation Rice Bowl and promotion of fair trade activities in the school.

Reflecting on the visit, one of the girls wrote, “Staying with our sister school friends in Jirapa, Ghana, we ate what they ate, slept where they slept, attended classes with them, celebrated the Eucharist amidst drumming, singing and dancing together. We groped in the dark to find our way because of frequent power outages. We were not able to do enough laundry due to water crisis in the school. These were for sure the highlights of my trip to Ghana and these experiences will forever change my life”.

Ghana school

Girls from St. Francis, Sacramento, California, attend classes with students of their sister school in Jirapa, Ghana. Photo by CRS staff

Another girl also had this to say: “We shared the hopes and dreams of our fellow teenage high school girls, their struggles and resilience. We lived it all. We experienced it all. And trust me, if solidarity was the goal of our trip to Ghana, I am quite sure we caught a lot of sweet glimpses of what the true meaning of the word is.”

Returning to the United States, the girls from St. Francis in Sacramento have resolved to share with fellow Americans the joy of being in solidarity with Africa. They will tell family and friends the story of CRS working strategically to alleviate human suffering among the most vulnerable. They will take a larger advocacy role, donate and raise money for CRS. And most importantly, they will pray for the efforts and collaboration with other agencies to serve the needs of the poorest of the poor. Simply, each will be an advocate and a good example of global solidarity.

Thank you for your visit to Ghana. May your visit deepen your relationship with your sister school in Jirapa and enhance the partnership and collaboration with CRS in the service of humanity.

–Thomas Awiapo
As a child in Ghana, Thomas Awiapo was a beneficiary of CRS school feeding programs. Now, as an adult, he works for CRS Ghana and travels to the United States annually to tell his inspiring story to American Catholics at schools, parishes and communities. Thomas will be a featured guest blogger and will be reporting from Ghana about the issues he witnesses firsthand.

Watch the video: Empowered for Life: The Thomas Awiapo Story.

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4 Responses to “Thomas Awiapo: Global Solidarity in Action”

  1. Fr. Prabhu Says:

    solidarity is a gift from God for human beings which they do in greater degree. I congratulate those girls who went to Ghana. thanks

  2. sefakor fummey Says:

    As a catholic, i am inspired by humble acts that transforms lives. These girls from USA have inpacted the lives of thier colleagues in Ghana through sharing and living together. many more lives remain uncahnged.
    Kindly make news of your trip so to get others involved.
    Kudos!

  3. Elizabeth Danielson Says:

    The experience was truly an adventure and a life changing experience. It was an honor to be chosen to chaperone the girls and watch the them grow each day. This Wednesday, we present to 1100 Sacramento St. Francis girls to tell them about Ghana, CRS, our St. Francis Jirapa sisters, and solidarity. We are very excited to share our stories and inspire others.

  4. Shannon Clark Says:

    Well Thomas from one of your American daughters I wish to thank you for all you did for us there and all you continue to do. From my family to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. I think of my trip to Ghana often and especially during the holiday season. The girls in Jirapa are always in prayers, as are the rest of the amazing people, yourself included, I had the immense privilege of meeting while there. For those doubting the existence of Christ on Earth, look no further than Thomas. We love you and we hope to see you in our neck of the woods soon.

    Love
    Shannon

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