Ghanaian wins International Social Justice Award
Mr James Kofi Annan, Executive Director of Challenging Heights, a non- governmental organization focused on children’s welfare, has been awarded for his commitment towards social justice.
The award dubbed: “Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice” is given to outstanding examples of people who saw a huge social need and then worked creatively to meet that need to make the world a better place.
Mr Annan for his prize receives $100,000 half of it is given to the winner’s organization. He also gets the opportunity to visit the Grinnell College in Iowa, USA in October this year to share his knowledge and experiences with the students.
At a press briefing, he said: “The Grinnell prize which received more than 1,000 nominations from 66 countries honours individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.”
Mr Annan expressing happiness about the award advised the youth to be focused on their passion and be determined to succeed.
He said the money for his award would be used to build the capacity of staff at Challenging Heights and assist more children to go to school.
Sharing his dreams for the future, he said there were many children who were deprived of social justice and Challenging Heights was hoping to nurture more children and the youth, adding, “we want to be the leading child-centred organization”.
Mr Annan established Challenging Heights in 2003 while working with the Barclays Bank, Ghana, where he used over half of his personal income to provide educational support for children, who had withdrawn from forced labour. He later resigned from the Bank to devote his full time to help to achieve social justice for vulnerable and poor children.
Challenging Heights now supports 1,195 children in school; has trained about 500 women and provided micro-business assistance to 77 under-served mothers.
The organization also carries out major community based sensitization programmes in about 45 communities and has impacted the lives of over 10,000 children.