Mission Statement:  Tools for Schools Africa Foundation works to improve the quality of life in the
Northern Region of Ghana by enhancing educational opportunity and access to post primary education.

April 23, 2015


Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our board and our Shine! sub-committee, 2014 was another successful year for Tools for Schools Africa Foundation.


“Beer for a Year, Heh?” Raffle

In keeping with our commitment to host two major fundraisers each year, we had our first foray into a new fundraiser – the Spring “Beer for a Year” Raffle. Spearheaded by our Fundraising Co-Chairs, Cindy and Susan, this fundraiser raised $3,800. Congratulations to winner Ken Farr and a big thank you to Blair Guame, owner of Liquor Crossing in Red Deer for his support.


Our third annual Shine! fundraiser was also a success and, for the third year in a row, was a sellout. Not only was it financially successful raising approximately $39,000 but it was successful in terms of us hosting a great event. We provided infectious entertainment, stunning displays and an overall great atmosphere – and, in fact, received a lot of positive feedback from our guests and volunteers. We have a reputation within the Red Deer community as an accountable, hands-on, professional organization who offer high-quality fundraisers and this event was yet another example.

During Shine! we hosted Gabriella Wumnaya – who oversees the junior and secondary school sponsorship girls - for a two-week visit. Gabriella spoke powerfully at the event reinforcing her personal connection to the girls and our organization and the room full of women was silent as they listened attentively to her story. Her visit was also beneficial because she saw how hard we work to raise money for the girls and it inspired her to reinforce to them to work hard and appreciate the opportunity they have been given.

Thank you to all who donated jewellery, purses and scarves (and those generous volunteers who sorted and cleaned the merchandise for us) and to those who to generously supported scholarships through purchases and donations. Many thanks as well to Collins Barrow and the Ellis Group (Edmonton) who paid for Gabriella’s flight; Artistry in Gold for collecting donations, appraising jewellery and for giving every guest a $50.00 gift card; and True Line Construction for providing guests with a free glass of wine.


In addition to our fundraising efforts, we increased our exposure in the community by:

  • Joining the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce
  • Meeting with local media outlets who published newspaper and magazine articles about our organization
  • Creating a four-page marketing tool targeted to business owners, friends and family who may be interested in making a donation or volunteering.


In the 2014-2015 school year we sponsored approximately 70 girls in junior and secondary high schools (25 in junior high and 45 in senior secondary). We received wonderful news about our sponsorship girls at Presby Primary/Junior High School. Six of the seven girls we sponsor passed the stringent entrance exam which meant they could attend St. Anne's Girls Secondary School. This was an incredible accomplishment for the girls and their mentor and headmistress, Madam Vero.

We also sponsored 19 girls in post-secondary:

  • Abudu – second year at KNUST, political science and geography majors
  • Alfreda – finishing specialty year after graduating electrical engineering last year
  • Rashida – second year accounting at UDS in Wa
  • Janet - finishing third year nursing in Kumasi
  • Shafawu - finishing three year community nursing program at Bole
  • Aloysita - finishing fifth year medicine in Tamale
  • Anita – second year agriculture
  • Konodia - started first year at KNUST, geography and rural development
  • Charity - second year general studies at Tumu
  • Sahada - second year nursing in Tamale
  • Abigail – second year nursing near Kumasi
  • Anne - first year nursing in Damongo
  • Rose - first year nursing in Damongo
  • Salima - first year nursing in Damongo
  • Augustina - first year nursing in Damongo
  • Edith - first year teaching at Sunyani University
  • Ernestina - applying for nursing
  • Sophia - graduated and working at Sunyani University
  • Lydia – teaching west of Larabanga


We welcomed Tom Lewis, Susan Knopp and Sue Carmichael to the board.


In our visits to Ghana over the years we noted that there were virtually no books in the majority of schools for the children to read. This year we began tossing ideas around for another book: Nine Degrees North: A Day at the Market. Aimed at primary students in Ghana its simple text will teach them how to read and count in Gonja and English. It will be the third book in the trilogy, joining Nine Degrees North: The ABC’s of North Ghana and Nine Degrees North: Full of Promise.

January 22, 2015

Hello friends,

Some of you have asked about what happens to our left over jewellery from our Shine Event. The better items are kept for the following year’s sale, but nicer/less expensive items are sold at schools where students can buy gifts for family members. Last year we worked with Oriole Park school. This year, Sue Carmichael, a TFS-A Fdn Board member and principal at GH Dawe, hosted the sale. The kids had a great time shopping for mom with all items at $2 each. The total realized from the school sale was $3258.80. The jewellery that was broken or unsaleable was once again given to schools to use for art programs.

Planning has already begun for next year’s Shine! Please consider the possibility of a GIRLS NIGHT IN at your house, a jewellery party with a twist. Ask your guests to bring their left over jewellery, purses and scarves. We may be able to send someone to answer questions about the girls we sponsor if we have some lead time, and would be glad to pick up the collection at your house if you can't drop it at Artistry in Gold. If you would like to host an African meal with your evening, we would be glad to share a simple but delicious one bowl African supper recipe. We look forward to another great Shine! event, with your help.

In January we will begin sponsoring our 18th post secondary girl, Edith, who is 27 years old and in first year education. One of our graduates in Business Administration, Sophia, found Edith crying and thinking she was going to have to leave school. Sophia works at the university administration office. She is now mentoring Edith to show her appreciation for the support given for her own education.

Below are some of our school shoppers. Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year, and our continued thanks for your help educating our fine Ghanaian girls.


happy shopper

happy shopper

Christmas Donations and Purchases

Who on your Christmas list truly values education? Gift cards toward scholarships are available in any denomination. Total sums of more than $20 from any one donor can be issued tax deductible receipts. $100 will send a girl to junior high for a year, $200 will send a girl to high school for a year, and post secondary scholarships are $1,000. to $1,500 depending on the institution. To date we have supported 18 post secondary girls and 116 girls in total. To order, please contact us through this website. We can send them out by mail or deliver to your mailbox if you live in Red Deer.

web gift cards

We welcome Sophia, one of our former scholarship girls, to help with administration of Tools for Schools Africa in Ghana. Sophia graduated from the University of Sunyani in July with stellar marks and a bachelor’s degree in business management. She is now completing national service as a TA and part-time administrative assistant at the University of Sunyani. Very soon she will begin mentorship of her first student.

If your office, dress club, book club or any other group is looking for a Christmas project, we would be very pleased to do a presentation on how we could work together. And please remember WE NEED YOUR CONTINUED DONATION OF JEWELLERY, PURSES AND SCARVES for Shine 2015! Why not have a jewellery party, but instead of selling accessories, ask your friends to collect and bring along no longer needed treasures. We would be glad to pick up.

Best wishes to all,


Shine! 2014 a Most Enjoyable Evening

For the third year in a row, Shine was a sellout. Happy friends joined us for an evening of wonderful African music and superior shopping, wine and dessert. Proceeds from this year’s event once again exceeded $35,000. Thank you to all who donated jewellery, purses and scarves, and to those who to generously supported scholarships through purchases and donations. the highlight of the evening was our speaker, Gabriella Wumnaya, one of our mentors from Damongo. Many thanks to Collins Barrow Red Deer and the Ellis Group, Edmonton who paid for her flight.

Showing Gabriella the Rockies…

showing gabriella the rockies

Happy shoppers at Shine 2014

Happy Shoppers

Admirers and purchasers of silent auction items.


Cindy and Gabriella making the final draws of the evening.

Cindy and Gabriella

Shine! 2014 - - SOLD OUT


Thank you SO much! Shine! 2014 is now officially SOLD OUT, and it is going to be one fabulous evening.

Working with us, you ARE changing lives, giving African girls the educational opportunities we all take for granted.

We continue to collect your no-longer-used jewellery, purses and scarves for Shine! 2015.

If you, a group of friends or your business would like to personally sponsor a post secondary girl, a donation of $1,000-$2,000 will provide a year of post secondary education. Our overhead has never exceeded 1% a year, so the money goes where you want it to. At present we have three girls seeking sponsors.

The Shine Lovelies!

Wendy Cawson, Cathy Sather, Marilyn Ganger, Marlene Bennett, Susan Knopp and Jean Mudd sorting some of the wonderful items that will be for sale at Shine!2014. Susan is modelling a mink coat valued at $7-8,000. African baskets and other handmade African items we have brought back from Ghana are always a hit. This year we have many items of fine art including oil paintings, water-colours, raku pottery and hand thrown ceramics. And purses - we have enough purses that you can all take home two or three! Come see!

There are less than 50 tickets still for sale, so purchase now to enjoy the shine lovelies, a five piece African band, free wine and dessert, and a complimentary $50 gift card from Artistry in Gold.

Shine 2014 Tickets

If you do not yet have a Shine ticket, GET ONE SOON! This year’s event is going to be memorable indeed with

  • a five piece African band
  • wine
  • and dessert.

We have amazing accessories for sale, including

  • two diamond rings shown in the poster below
  • two fur coats
  • a variety of original fine art
  • and many one of a kind designer items.

The Hearts of Harmony will sing for you outside the venue if you arrive before doors open.

shine 2014

To continue funding scholarships for girls, we invite you to join us for Shine! 2014. Once again we have beautiful accessories for sale, and this year’s event will be better than ever.

Here are some of this year’s HIGHLIGHTS:

  • You will meet Gabriella, a mentor who is coming from Ghana, thanks to the sponsorship of Collins Barrow Red Deer and the Ellis Group, Edmonton.
  • Artistry in Gold, a major sponsor, is giving every guest a $50 gift card!
  • True Line Construction is providing you with a free glass of wine!
  • You will enjoy a free dessert and the African ambience!
  • You will enjoy bidding on some new, high end designer items as well as browsing tables of next to new jewellery, purses and scarves.

The silent auction table will have some incredible high end and one of a kind items, including (we think) a purse directly from Versace’s head office!

There are four kinds of tickets available:

  • Single Ticket - $35.00
  • Single Ticket Super Shopper - $45.00
  • 5 Ticket Pack - $150.00
  • 5 Ticket Super Shopper Pack - $200.00

What is a SUPER SHOPPER, and what do I get for at the extra $10?

Those purchasing SUPER SHOPPER tickets will automatically have their names entered into a draw. Three names will be drawn and the lucky winners invited into the sale a half hour before the general public. These super shoppers then choose any one item free of charge. (Silent auction and raffle tables are the only exceptions). But perhaps the greatest value in winning in the super shopper draw is that you are able to check out all the tables and know where to go as soon as the sale is open to all. Increase your chances for some really great finds - choose ‘SUPER SHOPPER’ tickets!

There is no doubt we will sell out, so buy your tickets now.

August 6, 2014

Hello friends,

Thank you to the community for the great support in our 'Beer for a Year, Heh?' raffle. We are pleased to announce the winner, Ken Farr, who had ticket 0444. Ken is on the right in the photo below. Enjoy those cool brews, Ken!

Also thanks to the fundraising chairs, Susan Knopp (left) and Cindy Jefferies, for the organizing of the raffle and to Blair Gaume, (centre) owner of Liquor Crossing in Red Deer. Total profits were near $5,000. and will give twenty more girls the opportunity to attend school.

raffle winner

April 8, 2014

Hello friends,

Once again we’d like to let you know about the accomplishments here at Tools for Schools Africa Foundation. Let's get started.


Our sponsorship girls have started their second semester. Francisca, who attended the Shine! event last year and is responsible for our post-secondary girls, and Gabriella, who is responsible for our junior and secondary high school girls, keep in close contact with the girls and send us regular progress reports. Here's the latest:

Aloysita is in fourth year medicine; Alfreda, who is top in her class of 148 and the only female in electrical engineering this year will begin to specialize in Bio-Medical Engineering; Sophia, who is on the Dean's List graduates accounting and business management this year; Lydia graduates education this year; Janet is in second year nursing; Shafawu is in second year community health; Anita is in first year landscape design; Rashida in first year accounting; Charity in first year general studies, Sahada in first year nursing; and Aliyatu in first year science heading toward a degree in pharmacy. Abagail Senzu, our newest post secondary student, has just been accepted into nursing at Koforidua.

Once graduated, Sophia and Lydia will be required to serve the country through National Service. Teachers are required to dedicate five years to the National Service program; all other graduates are required to dedicate one year.

We received wonderful news about our sponsorship girls at Presby Junior High School. Six of the seven girls we sponsor passed the stringent entrance exam and are now attending the private St. Anne's Girls Secondary School. This is an incredible accomplishment for the girls and their mentor and headmistress, Madam Vero.

Another batch of books is on its way from Red Deer to the newly-built library at Presby Primary/Junior High School. Augustina, one of our secondary school graduates who is waiting for university placement, works for us in the library keeping it clean and organized for the school children while also overseeing its opening after school hours so the public can attend. Vero says after school attendance has been a bit slower of late because it is the dry season and the children must concentrate on the task of collecting water, BUT she is confident that once the dry season ends, the number of library users will increase and it will once again be a popular destination.


Beer for a Year Eh! – Just in time for Canada Day!

Our latest raffle fundraiser is underway and will make a perfect gift for Father’s Day. Tickets cost $10 with 500 sold. Draw date: June 25, 2014. We will deliver a selection of beer just in time for your Canada Day celebrations and also provide a gift certificate so you can purchase the rest of your desired beverages at any time throughout the remaining year. If you are interested in selling raffle tickets for us or would like more information, contact Susan Knopp at 403.347.2134 or susan.knopp@telus.net

Are you interested in holding your own fundraising event for us? If you can organize a garage sale, love baking or have another imaginative way to become a fundraiser and ambassador for our organization we would love your support. Please chat with us more about this partnership.



Tickets will be available on this website July 1, 2014.

One of the changes this year is to expand our merchandise sale items to include new hats/fascinators, belts and gloves along with jewellery, scarves, handbags and evening bags. We hope our "regulars" will find more items and will collect from a few more friends and aunties. We would be more than happy to take your donations so contact us if you come across anything during your spring cleaning (does anyone do that anymore!?) Donations are also accepted anytime during the year at Artistry in Gold, 5001 50-Street, Red Deer; phone 403.343.6544. They are open business hours except Monday.

We have started to clean and sort merchandise that has already been donated. If you are interested in helping, please contact Lyn at 403.314.4911 or lgoertzen@xplornet.com

We are beginning the process of applying for visas etc. so Gabriella can attend as our guest speaker.

We had some growing pains last year as we expanded into a bigger facility but we have met several times already this year and have some exciting changes in the works. Some of the ideas we are working on include continual re-stocking of merchandise throughout the evening, bigger and better Gift Basket Raffle and Silent Auction tables, changes to the way the merchandise is displayed and the addition of more tables to collect payment.


We are pleased to welcome Tom Lewis to the Board. Tom, a Chartered Accountant, joins other new members Susan Knopp and Sue Carmichael, whom we welcomed last December.

In addition to our fundraising efforts, we are endeavoring to increase our exposure in the community. To this end we have:

  • joined the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce.
  • recently met with several local media outlets. Watch for articles on Tools for Schools Africa Foundation in our local newspapers and magazines, as well as a television interview on CFRN.
  • created a four-page marketing tool targeted to business owners, friends and family who may be interested in making a donation or volunteering. If you have any contacts you think might be open to knowing more about us, please let us know so we can develop further partnerships within our community.

In our visits to Ghana over the years, we noted that there were virtually no books in the majority of schools for the children to read. As you know, we have already published two books: Nine Degrees North: The ABC's of North Ghana and Nine Degrees North: Full of Promise. Both books have been distributed to Northern Region Ghanaian schools free of charge. The third book in the trilogy is now being written with a publication target of 2015. Nine Degress North: A Day at the Market, a counting book for elementary students, will contain simple text to encourage younger students to practise Gonja and English reading.

Speaking of which, here’s a shout out to two great stores. Our first book, Nine Degrees North: The ABC's of North Ghana, is available for sale at “Café Books” Main Street, Canmore (www.cafebooks.ca) and Artistry in Gold, on Gaetz Avenue in Red Deer (www.artistryingold.ca). All proceeds from the sale of these books go directly to us with nothing being kept back by the stores. We appreciate their support and hope that people will support them in return.

This brings me to the end of this update. There is always something happening and we would love to share more with you about our accomplishments. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to talk further.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of Tools for Schools Africa Foundation.


March 31, 2014

red deer advocate article

March 20, 2014

Email from Sahada, one of the scholarship girls in nursing.

Dear Mrs Marilyn,

Greetings to you and the family. Thank you for your letter. I just returned from Yendi this morning on my Hospital attachment. It is amazing and sometimes heartbreaking the rate at which patients suffer or die. At least, I am happy I am able to be in a position to serve and attend to them. Please continue to remember me in your prayers. It all went well with me. I am back to school now to continue class room work and as well prepare for exams at the end of the semester.

Answer to your questions: The cost of the fees for second semester is GHC 935.00. The receipt is attached to the mail. There are only two semesters in a year. Normally, the first semester is more costly than the second one. So this is my last semester for the first year. My first semester school fees receipt is with Madam Gabriella.

I received an amount of GHC 800.00 from Madam recently. I want to say a thank you for sending additional funds. This will be of tremendous help and relieve to me at school. I will buy the modem for my internet, buy some books, provisions and others and save some for the cause of the semester. Thank you and God bless you.



December 3, 2013

Dear friends,

If you have a person on your Christmas gift list that really doesn’t need THINGS, please consider the gift of ‘education”. Please keep in mind our overhead and administration is less than one percent. We do not spend your dollars on advertising!

Here is how easy it is to ‘gift’ school tuition:

You donate, by clicking on the donate button (top right), any amount on our website.

We email you asking for the number of cards you need, will select a variety of designs and mail/deliver them to you.

After Christmas you will get a TAX DEDUCTIBLE RECEIPT for totals exceeding $25.

Thank you for considering Tools for Schools Africa Foundation!

Samples of the card designs:

gift cards

Gift Cards