Accra, May 18, GNA - The Ghana National Trust Fund (GNTF) on Tuesday launched its 2004 National Appeal for Funds to solicit financial support from individuals and institutions under its 300 million cedis target to carry out its activities for the year.
The launching was also to acknowledge the assistance of donors to the Trust over the years and to remind them to donate generously towards the welfare of the needy, the afflicted and the disabled in society. Ghana's First President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah established the Trust under the name: The Kwame Nkrumah Trust Fund, about 46 years ago. This year's launching, which was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment, was attended by some of the donors including Mr Sulley Dolley, of the Golden Souvenir Raffle Limited, who pledged 100 million cedis to this year's fund.
The Sector Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah pledged five million cedis on behalf of himself and his two deputies. He commended Ghanaians for their continual support to the Trust and urged more people to come on board and help alleviate the plight of the disadvantaged.
Mr Barimah gave the assurance that the Ministry would announce its special donation at a donors' dinner to be held by the Trust this evening.
He described the Trust as an important project in the life of the nation because it was concerned with the lives of the poorest of the population.
It is an "urgent agenda of integrating into socio-economic mainstream of fellow citizens, who are in extreme danger of being marginalized by virtue of their circumstances".
He said the Fund, through the contributions of its donors have been used to assist persons with disabilities all over the country in providing skills and training, medical and educational grants and the setting up of businesses for beneficiaries.
Mr Barimah mentioned the Ghana Society for the Blind, Society for the Deaf, Help Age Ghana, Boys Brigade and the Young Women/Men Christian Associations, as some of the beneficiaries.
He explained that to enhance the capacity of people with disabilities to be fully integrated in society, an Equipment Scheme through which trained persons with disabilities were given equipment needed in various vocations had been established under the Fund.
He said another separate fund had been constituted as an emergency fund to purchase important and emergency equipment such as prosthesis, wheelchairs, hearing aids and callipers to enable the handicapped to function.
Mr Mike Ezan, Chairman of the Trust, said the banks, some industries and a few individuals were their main sponsors and appealed to more people to support the Fund.
He explained that the GNTF set a target of 300 million cedis last year but was able to collect only 220 million cedis.
Mr Ezan said the Trust "has passed through very difficult times in the recent past and indeed without the support of some of our traditional and dedicated benefactors we would have folded up by now".
He, therefore, thanked all donors especially, Golden Souvenir Raffle Limited for donating about 541 million cedis over the last decade to the Trust.