The St. Nicholas Preparatory School is a project initiated in memory of Maria Tsakos through the Maria Tsakos Foundation, in Ghana. It was initiated to provide education to under-privileged children between the ages of 4-6 years, a majority of whom have never stepped into a classroom in their lives.
“Ultimately, the aim of the Tsakos Group has been to appreciate the business we have been involved in over the years in Ghana and to put back into the community our efforts and assistance through the Maria Tsakos Foundation in order to enable the community to be a working and viable one with improvement in living conditions and educational needs of their children.”
In pursuit of our motto “Every Child Has a Right to Education,” the Tsakos Group on behalf of the Maria Tsakos Foundation will be making a donation today of GHC2,000 to the Tema Traditional Council Educational Endowment Fund of Tema New Town to support the brilliant but needy students in Tema Manhean.
In 2006, the Tsakos Group decided to build an Orthodox Church in Tema New Town which was completed in 2008 and consecrated with the name St. Nicholas after the Patron Saint of the Sea. Major donations for the project came from seafarers around the world and from the Community to make the project a reality.
At the time, it was agreed by those who attended the Church inauguration as a good idea to build a school for those in the community to cater for children between the ages of 4 and 6, after seeing at first hand the deprived conditions and problems of the area.
In order to achieve this, a fundraising event took place, commencing with a donation from the Tsakos Group through the Foundation in memory of the Founder’s daughter Maria Tsakos.
Many other groups and individuals contributed to this project and whose efforts have been acknowledged with a plaque on the school building. Again, through the efforts of Captain Alkiviadis Kappas of Greece, the two-storey building was erected on the parcel of land purchased through funds collected both in Ghana and abroad. The land was purchased with the assistance of the Tema Paramount Chief, Osongaa Nii Adjei Kraku II who impressed upon those involved in the project, his desire for all children in the area to have an opportunity of being educated.
Subsequently, the Paramount Chief and his Elders worked very closely on the project and were instrumental in striving for the project to be completed on schedule.
The Tsakos Group is very appreciative of the role of Osongaa Nii Adjei Kraku II who only recently received a double award of recognition on 18th February, firstly as an Ambassador for Peace by the Universal Peace Federation of the UN and secondly an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of San Diego, California in the US.
In its realisation, the project was supervised by both Captain Alkiviadis Kappas and Deborah Eleazar, representatives of the Tsakos Group and who have worked with the community and with expatriate volunteers in Ghana and worldwide to raise the project profile and obtain donations to enable the work to be completed.
Currently 6 of the children have received sponsorship while additional support is being sought for the children as well as the continuation of the project.
The school opened its doors on 1st February 2012 and currently has 25 children between the ages of 4 and 6 years old with two female teachers. Each child is offered two school uniforms and a snack and main meal per day.
The Vision and Development of St. Nicholas
The future of St. Nicholas, reminisces an existing project in the village of Mankoadze which has evolved with the assistance of the TEABAG Charity. We are very happy to have representatives of this charity with us today.
When the first batch of children in KG is ready to move up to class 1, a second class room would be opened to cater for them. This is expected to happen in years’ time.
Subsequently we would hope to build a second school in the area outside of the church property to cater for the children as they grow. This land has already been purchased and ear marked for such a use. Ultimately, we hope in the next decade to open a vocational college to teach our graduates an actual skill which would enable them to enter the job market. This would make our students self-sufficient and able to assist their own families and the area in which they live. We would hope to follow the progress of our first intake up to the time they graduate.
The health of the children is very crucial to their survival and education so Arrangements are in place for the children to see a doctor and community nurse twice a month. Already we have managed to save the hearing of one child who had badly infected ears and whose growth had been stunted due to the infection.
A further aim is for Young people who wish to offer their assistance from abroad after their University training to join the school as volunteers and teach for a period at their own expense. The experience would be a major one and we have already experienced this through people who have spent time with the Winners School.
Currently we have two British ladies Mrs Elizabeth Dean an Academic and Mrs Vivienne King who runs her own Recruitment Agency in the UK who have assisted for two weeks the teaching in the school. They will continue fund raising in the UK and establish links with British Schools for the mutual benefit of the schools involved.
On the pastoral side we have the support of the Orthodox Church, Holy Transfiguration Cathedral of La Paz represented by Father Joseph today and with the support of Metropolitan Bishop George Vladimiro.
We have also established a working relationship with Winners Basic School represented by their Head Master today and are also offering assistance to the school and hope to have a working relationship with them in the future. We have already helped in building toilets for the Winners School and a new roof and floor and we intend to maintain our close links and assistance.
Our goal is an ambitious one and already efforts have been made to commence fundraising either in sponsoring individual children or donating towards the building work or any help whatsoever. What is particularly important for potential sponsors is that every donation goes totally to the project and there are no administration costs.
The motto of the school is EVERY CHILD HAS A RIGHT TO EDUCATION.