Entertainment of Sunday, 3 September 2017
Source: The Spectator
The scripture, Hebrew 13: 3 changed her perception about society and inspired her to put smiles on the faces of inmates for the past decade.
It reads: (Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body).
This became the foundation stone for the Angel-Zoe Foundation, which caters for prison inmates. She tells anyone who wants to go into philanthropy to be passionate and strategically minded.
Mrs. Abena Asomani Antwi, founder of the Angle-Zoe Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and a member of the Adenta branch of Action Chapel, shares her work as a philanthropist with The Spectator.
Her passion to put smiles on the faces of the incarcerated has won her awards such as the National Youth Achievers Award for Advocacy, MTN Heroes of Change Award for Social Protection, Glitz Woman of the Year for Advocacy, among others.
Currently, she is a member of the Governing Council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and an Advisory Board Member of Innohub, an Investment company.
She also runs other consultancy services in customer care.
Abena said she felt the need to support the vulnerable.
She, therefore, visited the former Borstal Home (now Senior Correctional Centre) to find out conditions there. She was dismayed at the poor conditions in the home, especially regarding feeding and facilities.
Abena began using part of her salary to buy provisions and toiletries for inmates at the home and other adult prisons in the country.
“At the prisons the inmates started calling me Angel, due to the timely support and compassion for them,” she said.
Thereafter, she came across the word, Zoe, which meant the transformational power of God. She considered it apt as part of her work and organised Christmas party for about 1000 prison inmates, with support from the defunct UT Bank.
Plans for her foundation
Abena, who is so passionate about the needy, has the hope of expanding her philanthropy by scouting for new prisons, enrolling some inmates into schools, and supporting the training of Prison officers.
In addition, she wants to reach out to mental health inmates who have been abandoned by their families.
“Though the country is trying to achieve universal health coverage through the National Health Insurance, a lot remains to be done,” she revealed.
According to her, mobilising resources to assist the inmates remained a herculean task for most NGOs.
According to her, there was too much stigma associated with prison inmates which makes people reluctant to support their cause.
Additionally, she noted that NGOs do not collaborate and mentioned lack of synergies among them. She called for partnership on some projects they undertake.
Her desire is that the country would soon embrace non-custodial sentences for inmates.
A wife, mother, philanthropist and businesswoman, Abena was born and raised in Kumasi.
She commenced her basic education at St. John’s Preparatory School and then continued to KNUST JHS, and later to Aburi Girls Senior High School.
She pursued BSc in Planning (Policy Analysis option) at KNUST, and later proceeded to University of Lincoln to study Management. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD in Health Economics at the University of Lille in France. Work experience
Abena worked with Kapital Radio in Kumasi soon after senior high school as a receptionist. Though her father was not enthused about it, she went on to become the host of a programme dubbed “Candle light”.
At Kapital Radio, Miss Universe was introduced, and as someone registering the contestants, she was encouraged by ace broadcaster, Kafui Dey to be part of the audition.
Luckily, she was selected and competed with now Second Lady, Samira Bawumia, among others.
She later worked at Ernst &Young Ghana, then to Access Bank. She moved on to become the Deputy Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Environment, and later as a consultant to the Ministry of Health to coordinate the World Food Programme.
Parents and siblings
Mr Charles Asomani and Mrs Veronica Asomani are her parents. She has three siblings, Nana Adwoa, Yaa Konadu Preprah and Ama Asiedu, all married.
“Angel” Abena is married to Mr Kojo Antwi Odame, with whom she has three biological children and two adopted ones.
Hobbies, favourite food and music
Abena’s hobbies are reading, writing, watching television, cooking and dancing. She loves anything with ripe plantain.
She enjoys gospel music and admires Kwabena Kwabena, Becca, Bisa and Sarkodie.