The Hands Across Africa team paid a courtesy call on the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Mr. Akwasi Awuah Ababio on Tuesday, 28th June 2022.
The Goodwill Ambassador of St. Lucia and UNICEF Ambassador Taj Weekes who led the delegation stated that the major goal of this agenda is to look at the seven pillars of the Beyond the Return Initiative, which is “Give Back to Ghana”, as well as donation to charity.
He also noted that, the Hands Across Africa Musical Concert and Expo under the Banner of THEY OFTEN CRY OUTREACH (TOCO) is in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Diaspora Affairs – Office of the President, Beyond the Return Secretariat (BRT) and Yoks Investment Ltd., is set to take place on July, 23, 2022 at the Accra Sports Stadium under the theme, “Re-igniting the Spirit of Emancipation”.
He revealed that some of the top international and Ghana’s finest artists who will be performing at the Hands Across Africa Musical Festival and Expo are; Eric Donaldson, Mzvee, Brinsley Forde (ASWAD), Okyeame Kwame, Blakk Rasta, DSP Kofi Sarpong, Roc Riva and Taj Weekes.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Akwasi Awuah Ababio, the Director of Diaspora Affairs, office of the President, commended the TOCO Foundation with Taj Weekes as the Executive Chairman, for their numerous philanthropic works being undertaken across the Caribbean and part of Africa, particularly, Ghana.
He assured the team of the maximum support of the Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President to achieve their stated objectives and vision for Ghana and the rest of Africa.
He was emphatic of the President’s call for our fellow brothers and sisters in the Diaspora to come home and help shape the continent.
Mr. Awuah Ababio recounted the experiences of tourist touting Ghana as the Gateway to Africa after experiencing our Tourism, Arts, Culture and Hospitality industry. He therefore took the opportunity to welcome the team to “Ghana, the Centre of the World” and assured them of the maximum support and co-operation of his office towards the Hands Across Africa Musical Concert and Expo, 2022.
The Founder and Executive Director of TOCO, Taj Weekes, a Goodwill Ambassador of the Government of Saint Lucia and UNICEF Ambassador for children in the Eastern Caribbean expressed appreciation to the Director of the Diaspora Affairs Office, Mr. Ababio for the opportunity to outline their vision and support of the Office of the President, Diaspora Affairs in diverse ways.
He was emphatic that The Hands Across Africa Festival and Expo is conceptualized as a cross-continent initiative starting in Ghana and its aim is to establish youth and Sports Development Programs and also to support in providing funded international football scholarship programmes.
He noted that both Local and International charitable organisations are collaborating to bring relief to the Ghanian youth.
The social outreach initiative called Hands Across Africa by They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) has its overarching philosophy that children are our collective heritage; ones we can safeguard with inclusion and affirmation strategies.
HAND ACROSS AFRICA (Festival & Expo) leverages its platform to help youth to expand their network, and through this exposure, imagine new possibilities, which can create a shift in the trajectory of their lives.
The premiere edition will take place in Ghana 23 July 2022 (TOCO Foundation https://www.theyoftencryoutreach).
Taj Weekes confirmed that the charity has provided 76 football scholarships to children in the Caribbean, and that they are in Ghana to replicate the charitable work they have been doing there.
Taj Weekes added that Hands Across Africa focuses on cultural exchange and social intervention on programs to raise funds in supporting society to reduce socio-economic gaps related to needs such as Education, underprivileged children, young persons with disabilities and public health concerns in Ghana and across the African continent. Proceeds of the Concert, however, will go into charity.
The Director of Diaspora Affairs expressed his appreciation to TOCO Foundation for their philanthropic work, musical concert and expo that have been put together to give back to the Ghanaian Society.
Present in the meeting were Goodwill Ambassador, Taj Weekes (Founder of TOCO Foundation – Hands Across Africa), Mrs Angela Weekes (Co-Founder and Creative Director of TOCO Foundation – Hands Across Africa), Mr. Seth Ocran (President of Car Rentals Association and TOCO Foundation partner), Rev. Jones Aruna Nelson (Head, Corporate Affairs, Ghana Tourism Authority), Kofi Atta Kakra Kusi (Deputy Head, Ghana Tourism Authority, Okyeame Kwame (Musician, Tourism and Cultural Ambassador), Caleb Coffie (Ghana Tourism Federation and Customer Service Advocate), Isaka Koney (Insurer and Founder/CEO BTS Child Development Foundation) and Elorm Beenie, Creative Content Director of Hands Across Africa.
Representing the Diaspora Affairs office was Einstein Kofi Ntim (Strategic Innovation and Rebranding), and Ernest Justice Ampong (Administrator)