Mrs. Penelope-Jones Mensah speech At The Official Launch Of 40 Roses Foundation
Madam Chair, Honourable Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Honourable Ministers of State, Honourable Members of Parliament, Your Lordships, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, My Precious family and friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome.
It is such a joy and an honour for me to announce the official launch of The 40 Roses Foundation. Nelson Mandela once said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I am sure for each of us invited here this evening; we know the true meaning of these words. We have all lived and continue to live the tremendous benefits of education.
I have been on a journey. A journey of great opportunities and challenges. A journey of learning and sharing. A journey of receiving and giving. And through it all, I count myself extremely blessed. I am grateful for God’s tremendous favour and blessings. I also believe that one’s individual success becomes more meaningful, or perhaps even only meaningful, when it is used to serve and advance the greater good.So I have been reflecting in the past couple of years, on a more meaningful way to give back and to serve. And it is the result of this reflection that brings all of us together here this evening.
Even though the 40 Roses Foundation was initiated in honour of my 40th, I hope and pray that, for all of us, the true purpose of this initiative shall always remain those we seek to serve. That little girl who will count because of this. The young Ghanaian woman who will be the first woman from her family to enter university because of this. The girl who will live a better life because of this.
These girls are the reason why we are here tonight and they are the reason for The 40 Roses Foundation. They are the Roses who will bloom and make the world a more beautiful place.
WHY GIRLS?: I believe, and I believe you concur, that young Ghanaian women and girls constitute one of the most powerful demographics in Ghana today- in numbers and in collective potential. The choices this generation of young women make will not only shape their lives, but that of a whole new generation of girls and boys in our society. Therefore investing in the educational and personal advancement of these girls today means they will have the tools to reinvest in their own lives, their families and their communities as a whole.
And there are just so many girls who need a little help to make it, A little guidance to be able to achieve.., a little inspiration to be able to dream bigger and a little support, just to survive.
I am very grateful to my family particularly my two alpha males, my father- my rock, my dearest husband, my beautiful mother, my lovely children and my amazing friends — and to all of you wonderful people whose interest, dedication, commitment and support in various ways have brought us to this moment.
With 40 Roses, I envision a future where the socio-economically disadvantagedgirls that we are targeting with this initiative, thrive- with dignity and opportunity for fulfilled potential.
Our Mission is to harness the power of successful women to educate, mentor and empower socio-economically challenged girls with academic promise to enable them fulfil their maximum potential. We firmly believe that the empowered girl has the power to impact her generation and change her future, and that we can support her do so.
I cannot do this alone. The 40 Roses Foundation alone cannot do what really needs to be done. And that is why we invite your partnership, your involvement and your support. We should all be doing more, not less.
Let me conclude with a famous story of the hummingbird which Wangari Maathai, the acclaimed Nobel Peace laureate often used in her work. :
The story of the hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out, and they are transfixed as they watch the forest burning, and they feel awkward and powerless, except this little humming bird- it says “I am going to do something about the fire”. So it flies to the nearest stream, takes a drop of water, and puts it on the fire and flies back to the stream for more. It flies to and fro, as fast as it can. In the mean time, all the other animals, much bigger animals, like the elephants, with big trunks that could bring much more water, are standing there helpless, and they are saying to the hummingbird: “What do you think you can do?” “You are are too little!” “This fire is too big!” “Your wings are too little and your beak is so small you can only can bring a small drop of water at a time!”
But as they continue to discourage it, the hummingbird turns to them and says, ” I am doing the best I can!”
And that to me is what all of us should do. I may feel insignificant, but I certainly don’t want to be like the other animals watching on helplessly…… I WILL be a hummingbird. I WILL do the best I can.”
So tonight I invite you all- my dear friends, family, mentors and partners to celebrate with me the formal launching of this important idea. I am hopeful that in the years to come, we will all look back on this day with pride and fulfilment- as The 40 Roses Foundation continues to provide opportunities for girls to thrive and have a better future. Like the hummingbird, 40 Roses WILL do its best. And like Wangari Maathai, I WILL do my best and I hope that this is true for all of us.
God bless you all. Indeed, its been a beautiful day!
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