Never in the history of Ghana has a First Lady committed herself to philanthropic work on the scale that the current First Lady, Mrs. Lordina Mahama, is doing.
It is therefore no wonder that she is mentioned in the 2012 United States of America Human Rights Report for her humanitarian work!
Mrs. Mahama, for those who know her before she assumed her current position, committed herself to philanthropic work long before her husband became Vice-President of Ghana. Finding herself as Ghana’s Second Lady in 2009, she used her position to expand the scope of her humanitarian assistance to orphans, the aged, the sick and the ostracized.
Then came 2013 and her husband became the Fourth President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. By then, she had already adopted seven orphanages spread across the country. They are the Tamale and Afaani orphanages in Tamale, Bethesda Orphanage at Nkoranza, Frank May and Let the Kids Smile Orphanages in Techiman as well as the Osu Children’s Home and Christ Foster Home both in Accra.
All year round, Mrs. Lordina Mahama spends much of her personal money and mobilizes millions of cedis from other sources mostly abroad to provide assorted food items and medicines to the orphans.
The First Lady’s visit to the homes is thus always characterized by excitement as the caretakers who work in these homes and the orphans old enough to recognize her often go agog with joy at being visited by a woman who has become their source of comfort.
Interestingly, it took a lot of persuasion by well-meaning people to convince Mrs. Mahama to allow the media to cover her philanthropic work. Indeed, it was not until 2010 that she would allow the press to cover and report on her humanitarian activities.
Mrs. Mahama took particular interest in orphaned babies born with HIV. The need to use her position to cater for them saw her accepting to be the Ghana AIDS Commission’s AIDS Ambassador. With this position, she has been supporting on a daily basis babies born with HIV, catering for their medication, clothing and food.
With her love and passion for children, any august visitor to Ghana must surely be ready to visit one of Ghana’s orphanages because that is where Mrs. Mahama will send her to. The First Lady of Lebanon found this out when she came visiting with her husband last year. Mrs. Mahama took her to the Osu Children’s home where they spent a considerable time. It was quite an experience for the august visitor.
Mrs. Mahama’s humanitarian work, as said earlier, goes beyond care for children. For the inmates of the so-called Gambaga witch camp at Gambaga, Mrs. Lordina Mahama is a dream come true. Ostracized from their homes and societies, these unfortunate women live in the camp where there are no basic amenities to allow them live a decent life.
Society, even in this 21st century, will have nothing to do with them.
But, Lordina chose to thread where many fear to tread. She started visiting the camp when she became First Lady, bringing along assorted food items, medicines and clothes for these unfortunate women.
For the first time in these women’s lives, someone was ready to show them love and cater for them. Somebody was ready to appreciate them as human beings with the fundamental human rights such as the right to life, food, shelter and clothes.
On Friday, October 18, 2013, during a visit to the camp, the women were surprised when Mrs. Mahama cut the sod for the construction of the Gambaga Women’s Training Institute. The facility will include a training institute, dormitory and accommodation units for the women and their children.
They were shocked to the marrow of their bones at the facility the First Lady was extending to them. Many wept. She wept with too. The project is currently in progress.
Alongside all these, the First Lady, Mrs. Lordina Mahama has used her position as the Vice-President of the Organization of African First Ladies Against AIDS (OAFLAA) to seek for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Last year, she donated 40 boxes of food supplements to the National Association of People living with AIDS through the Ghana AIDS Commission.
Currently, Mrs. Mahama has embarked on a gargantuan project to seek medical supplies, from medicines to equipment to various hospitals in the country. Attending programmes in the U.S, she uses her position to secure these items which she is currently distributing to the various hospitals across the country. Medical personnel at beneficiary hospitals have stared in awe at the huge number of medical supplies that she has donated to them free of charge. Now, patients can go to these hospitals confident that drugs and equipment are available to treat them.
Soon, thanks to Mrs. Mahama, Ghana will have the first Cancer treatment hospital. This, undoubtedly will bring relief to many in Ghana.
So, with all these, why has the First Lady been receiving bad press in recent times? The answer is simple: Politics!
The desperate quest for power by elements in the opposition parties and the fear of losing their position in the ruling party has resulted in her becoming the object of attack.
For some persons in opposition, Lordina’s humanitarian services has the tendency of ensuring her husband get a second term in office as President of Ghana. So, needs to be smeared! Why else will Kwabena Bomfeh, a.k.a Kabila, an opposition party activist rather than appreciating what the First Lady is doing question the source of the items she has been donating to the under-privileged? Why else will some folks sit at ‘Oman FM’ subject her to insults and ridicule without any cause? Will Kabila have questioned the source of the food supplements the First Lady imported and donated to the Ghana AIDS Commission if he was living with HIV?
What will make pro-government papers attack Mrs. Mahama? It comes with the terrain;she is the First Lady. If party top guns, Ministers of States etc cannot get the President to do their bidding, it is she who must be blamed. Is it not absurd that some Ministers will claim they will resign because she is putting pressure on them for contracts?
Granted without admitting this is true, what is wrong with the First Lady lobby for contracts or jobs? Definitely, it will not be for herself but for party folks. What is wrong with that? Even party foot-soldiers are lobbying these Ministers for jobs and contracts so what is wrong with the First Lady doing same?
Mrs. Lordina Maham definitely must know by now that the attacks on her is the occupational hazard every First Lady must bear. It is not going to stop. She should expect more of such negative publicity in so far as her husband will not kowtow to the whims and caprices of some officials. Especially, in Africa, a wife must take the blame if her husband will not kowtow to the wishes of others.
Let not the First Lady be disheartened by these attacks. The thousands of lives she touches every day, from orphans through to the aged to people living with HIV/AIDS definitely know her worth. And their prayers for her cannot be in vain! Discerning Ghanaians are reading in-between the lines. And they understand what is happening!