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By: Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., General Secretary of the Socialist Movement of Ghana (SMG).
I first met Edwina, as a young activist of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP). She was bubbling with enthusiasm and was eager to make a meaningful contribution to the effort to realize the vision of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Founder of the Modern Republic of Ghana.
Edwina was troubled by the growing poverty she saw around her. She was dismayed about the disrespect of the African people. She saw the unification of Africa as a means of empowering the peoples Africa. She wanted the progressive forces of Ghana to rally behind an agenda of complete social and economic transformation.
A decade and more ago, I got a telephone call from Edwina one cool morning. I was stunned when she told me that she wanted to establish a school. The Edwina I knew was not that rich and I couldn’t help wondering where she was going to get the initial funding for this obviously ambitions project.
To my shock, she told me that she had already started the project. I immediately called our mutual friend Ataa Sowah and we set off to see what this courageous and ambition young woman had started.
When we got to where Edwina called a school, it was nothing more than a makeshift structure and she was busily preparing banku for the pupils in front of it. She was taking one per cedi pupil per day at the time. She explained that most parents in the area could not afford exorbitant fees and by taking the fees on a daily basis she was making it easy for the parents and the pupils. I had my doubts about the success of this project.
10 years later when visited what had grown to become the Awopedic School, I was surprised. Edwina had managed to build a modern school which could stand up to the challenge of any or all of the so-called well established schools. There were two blocks of storey buildings. There were so many pupils. The classrooms were filled and highly educated and smart teachers were in charge. Later, I was to learn that the school had established a cultural troupe, a cadet’s corps and a drama group.
From then on, the Awopedic School provided entertainment at all the local and international events organized by the Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG). The cultural troupe performed at a lecture, given by Commander George Risket, a Member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party to mark the 101st birthday of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. They performed at the launching of the Pan-Africanism today conference in Ghana three years ago and they were part of the musical concert organized in Accra to express solidarity with the people of Palestine.
Edwina Ayorkor Okuadjo was an extraordinary woman activist of the Ghanaian progressive community. She dreamt about a future of prosperity for all and she actualized her dream in the creation of the Awopedic School. May her dreams continue to mature into visible manifestations which will contribute to the destruction of poverty, oppression and exploitation in all their forms.
We shall always remember her.