Monday, November 18, 2013
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE (ANS) — A former Australian rock star, who once shared the stage with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, has joined forces with the President of Sierra Leone’s Red Cross, to help the people of this West African country still recovering from a terrible civil war that lasted 11 years and left over 50,000 dead.
Dr. Themi Adams who, after several years of performing before screaming audiences “Down Under” turned down a life of fame to serve God as a missionary to some of Africa’s most oppressed nations and is based in Sierra Leone’s capital city of Freetown where he runs a mission.
Now Adams is receiving some invaluable help in the form of Edward T. Ngandi, the Former Registrar of Sierra Leone University who brings to the Orthodox Mission in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 30 years academic of experience, including 40 years with the Red Cross with which he is still actively involved as its local president. His organization has been hailed as the most structured in Africa
Ngandi will be passing on his many skills to new volunteers, and will be implementing a new youth recruitment drive to support the Red Cross and the local community.
“He is now working at the Orthodox Mission in Freetown, supporting brother Themi Adams, a one-time trailblazer and now a beloved Greek Orthodox priest, and he has plans to develop future youth leaders to become apart human intervention programs with the Red Cross providing aid to Sierra Leone during natural disasters,” said John Tsambazis, a friend of the ministry.
Recently Edward T. Ngandi took some time out to attend the Australian Red Cross Movement’s 2013 International Meetings in Sydney to talk to Pk4a supporters.
“Over 1,000 delegates from 189 countries came together for a series of high level international talks, humanitarian speakers and seminars, cultural performances, exhibits and outdoor events,” added John Tsambazis.
“On November 11, up to 800 lively Red Cross supporters formed a giant human formation of the Red Cross Red Crescent emblem on the famous Sydney Opera House steps.”
Human emblems have become a Red Cross tradition, and Sydney turned out a proudly Australian Red Cross symbol of humanity and volunteer spirit to share with the world. This was a colorful wonderful way to start the week-long Statutory Meetings.
Australian Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner joined the crowd as they transformed themselves into a giant Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Speaking to the members of Paradise Kids 4 Africa, known by its supporters as PK4A, Edward T. Ngandi, explained, “There are 17 district managers in Sierra Leone overseeing 7,000 volunteers, predominantly comprising of 70% of youths.
“When I was registrar at Sierra Leone University, it was our mandate to train students for community service. The Red Cross was the perfect vehicle for their work experience and for further academic development. I would like to see this happen with the youth at the Orthodox Mission too.”
Dr. Themi Adams has also just completed a large teachers college and mission house in Freetown. It was built to house volunteers and helpers from across the globe and to offer free education for students wishing to go to college.
Overwhelmed with joy at the caliber of the people supporting him and the standard of education he can provide, Adams, who was born in Egypt to Greek parents and raised in Melbourne, Australia, said, “I welcome these initiatives that Mr. Ngandi proposes for the betterment of our society. That is what we are here for — to educate our future leaders, harness good citizens to care for their community, and for them to lead meaningful lives”.
Rev Themi went on to say: “They come from all over the world and walks of life; from football (soccer) stars, to medical practitioners, and educators with great qualifications.
“Over one year of hard work has paid off as we are able to house specialists, doctors and more volunteers inside the mission compound. I can’t express my gratitude to all the supporters who worked tirelessly to fund this project and make it a reality.
Adams added: “This is the best gift we can give to a nation that has gone through a terrible civil war and has a chronic shortage of skilled labor.
“Whilst we attend to the welfare of the local people by providing them with their basic needs like food and clothing, education is the key and can and will lift the poor out of poverty into a future where anything is possible.”
Red Cross veteran, Mr. Ngandi, during his visit to Australia, spoke of his work with the Red Cross, and stated, “Our volunteers have been at the forefront of humanitarian action during recent national disasters, including the Shenge sea accident, the floods at Daru and Pujehun; the storms in Bonthe, Kamakwe, Kono and Koinadugu, among others providing help to the victims of those disasters. Last year’s cholera outbreak.
“The Society’s active First Aid and Community Development volunteers have provided psycho-social support, activated early warning systems, worked in emergency response and long-term recovery, helped reunite separated family members and continued to be a driving force for change at the community level.”
He commended volunteers of the society for the free services they have been rendering to the nation over the past years, adding that the success stories of the society in Sierra Leone would not have been achieved without the commitment of the volunteers. He acknowledged that the number of volunteers in the society is growing rapidly, which according to him, is as a result of the active work done by existing volunteers.
So now, Themi Adams has some invaluable help in his vital ministry and he is excited by the quality that Mr. Edward T. Ngandi brings to his work.
Between them, they will be bringing a shine light to a land that has seen much violence in recent years.
The Sierra Leon Civil War (1991–2002) began on March 23, 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government. The resulting civil war lasted 11 years, enveloped the country, and left over 50,000 dead.
For more information on Themi Adams’ unique ministry, please go to http://paradise4kids.org/