Uplifting Experience

Letter to the editor, The Oklahoman 11.23.16 http://newsok.com/article/5528131 Every year at this time, I return to Oklahoma City to assist with fundraising for the Oklahoma City-based nonprofit, PAMBE Ghana. I founded the organization in 2007 to start an elementary school in a rural part of northern Ghana. My dream was to give children a chance for an education near my home village. As a result, the La'Angum Learning Center has been in operation since 2008, graduating the first class of sixth-graders this year. My dream was supported and continues to be supported by kind and caring Oklahomans who shared my dream. Recently, I was reminded of the generosity and kindness inherent in many Oklahomans. As I drove down NW 23 Street early one morning, my car broke down. I was immediately surrounded by several people offering to help. These Oklahomans were clearly different in ethnicity and culture. However, they all worked together to help an African woman get herself and her car safely off on the street. I was truly uplifted by this experience. This letter gives me the opportunity to thank these and all the wonderful Oklahomans who have helped me over the years. Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels, Ghana Iddi-Gubbels is executive director of PAMBE Ghana.

Alice in Oklahoma: What’s It All About?

Alice speaks to students at Heritage Hall Middle School

Alice speaks to students at Heritage Hall Middle School

Dressed in her traditional Ghanaian attire, Alice Iddi-Gubbels enters the lecture room at Oklahoma City University Law School and hands her flash drive to the technical support person. He will get her Power Point up on the big screen so that Alice can tell the PAMBE Ghana story to a new audience. “It’s important to broaden our support base,” says Alice, who spends a large chunk of her annual fall visits to OKC drumming up support for La’Angum Learning Center, which today has 266 students from pre-K through grade 6.  “It’s an intense time. We have new challenges as the program has gotten bigger and more complex, and expanding funding sources is extremely important.” Alice spends roughly 4-6 weeks in Oklahoma City each year, usually from November through early December. Her visits coincide with the seasonal opening of the Global Market, where she is a regular visitor with volunteers and shoppers. That is, when she’s not otherwise engaged in the scores of visits, appointments, meetings and presentations on her calendar. There is no typical day. Or week. “I visit with many old friends who have been committed supporters over the years. It’s a chance to have one-to-one conversations,” says Alice. Other days she might be preparing to speak to first graders at Heritage Hall, whose art show proceeds have been a regular contribution for several years. Or engaging with a local church congregation at coffee hour alongside a mini-Global Market sales table. Or participating in a radio interview. A big component of her visits is in-person time with the board, to provide briefings, examine resources and discuss program priorities. She is the bridge between the OKC-based nonprofit headquarters, and the Ghana-based school. She is a cultural bridge as well, ensuring understanding and appreciation on both sides of the Atlantic. What about the nuts and bolts of life? During her visits, Alice is a guest in the homes of supporters. This year she’ll spend the first half of her visit near downtown, and the last part of her visit on the Northeast side. She drives a borrowed vehicle while in town (and has to readjust to driving automatic vs. stick). She uses a temporary pay-as-you-go phone, which requires her to get a new number each year. And she comes prepared to cover her traditional, tropical African attire with serious cold weather gear for Oklahoma’s winter, which, like Alice, arrives each November.

Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels Before PAMBE Ghana

10-aliceAlice arrives on Nov. 2! Most of us are familiar with Alice Iddi-Gubbels accomplishments in Oklahoma City: graduating from OCU with a Masters degree in early childhood education and Montessori Teaching Certificate, teaching at Westminster School and starting PAMBE Ghana. However, Alice’s education and experience before PAMBE Ghana goes far and wide. Alice was among the first in her village to go to school and is one of the fortunate few to go on to college.  She has a diploma in Home Science and Nutrition from the University of Ghana, Masters degree in Social Development Planning and Management from the University of Wales-UK. The common theme throughout her professional life has been education and social development in marginalized communities. Her work has been in health care, water supply, functional literacy and local leadership. From 1980-82, Alice led a community-based health care program in northern Ghana, organizing and training volunteer community health promoters and traditional midwives. Alice worked as the World Health Coordinator for the Integrated Rural Development Program in Bassar-Togo from 1983-86, and as Family Health Advisor West Africa from 1986 to 1987.  She worked with Oxfam-GB from 1987-1997, first as Deputy Regional Representative for West Africa and later as Country Program Director for Burkina Faso. Alice moved with her family to Canada in late 1997. In 1998, she managed the francophone Africa program, which included West Africa, the African Great Lakes region and Madagascar for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace based in Montreal.  She provided management and support to Oxfam Canada’s food security program in Ethiopia from 1999 until she moved with her husband to Oklahoma City in 2000. Since then, Alice’s career path has shifted to early childhood education,  with the starting of PAMBE Ghana and La’Angum Learning Center.  

OCU President praises Alice

Alice received this letter from Robert Henry, Oklahoma City University President and Chief Executive Officer: January 29, 2014 Dear Ms. Iddii-Gubbels: Congratulations on the phenomenal success of the La'Angum Learning Center! The dedication to learning you have shown to the students of Ghana is invaluable. It is incredibly important for these young learners to maintain fluency in their native tongue; your efforts to slowly introduce English as a second language are of great benefit to their education. We here at Oklahoma City University are pleased to call you an alumna. Your story is an inspiration to our current students, and we look forward to hearing many more great things about you and the learning center in the future. Sincerely, Robert Henry President and CEO Oklahoma City University

Donate Today

Your Donation Today Will Help PAMBE Ghana Provide:
-- Teacher's salary
-- Children’s health insurance
-- Montessori materials
-- Teacher education

PAMBE Ghana is a 501(c)(3) registered charitable organization.


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