Francis Kwame Agbemafle is the founder and Executive Director of Volunteers for International Medical Aid, VIMA. He is also a licensed nurse by profession.
He holds an Associate degree in nursing from Georgia Perimeter College, prior to this; he studied Electrical & Electronics Engineering at the Kumasi Polytechnic in West Africa Ghana, at the Associate Degree level. He has also received Certification in Computer Hardware & Software Programming at the African Virtual University with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Highlights of his engineering career includes the design and implementation, in collaboration with Africa-Online (ISP), with the help of the world bank, a fee based pop3 web access e-mail system to the entire university student body at KNUST, a project he designed and managed on daily bases, the first of its kind within a tertiary institution in Sub-Saharan Africa at that time.
Between 1997 and 2000, he worked as a technical coordinator attached to the AVU-Project office, a World Bank project to deliver eLearning (ODeL) resources and education content from the West, relevant to the African continent. His office was also very instrumental during the Y2K awareness project, popularly dubbed the “Millennium Bug” through which he organized seminars and training workshops for local IT managers to adequately prepare them for any eventuality. Some of the institutions that benefited from such seminars included Obuasi Goldfields Ltd, Guinness Ghana Ltd, Heads of various educational institutions etc.
Mr. Agbemafle has many years of experience volunteering, especially at the grassroots level, where he believes help is in calamitous need. His first charity work was as a technical facilitator to the American Peace Corp mission in Northern Ghana in the late 90s, and was touched to see Americans and other foreign nationals willingness to travel to Ghana, out of their comfort zone to work in deprived rural communities, where there was no electricity, Internet, running water or access to efficient transportation, this experience helped shaped his views and desire to give back as well.
Francis was raised in an extremely poor environment, in a small village in the Volta region of Ghana by his mother, after he lost his father at an early age of 6, and watched his mother struggle daily to provide food, shelter and education, and as such always had a heart for the orphaned, solo mothers and abandoned children. Watching his widowed mother working 7-days a weeks to provide for him and his five other siblings made him resolved, that “Someday, he will like to work for the poor and the orphaned”
Under his leadership, VIMA is supporting four orphanages in rural Ghana, In addition, the organization also runs its own home, VIMA Children Home in a highly deprived area of south-western Volta to help cater for the so many needy kids of various backgrounds in that area and beyond. The VIMA Children home encompasses a model that integrates the orphanage into the community instead of the typical institutionalize orphanage model, where kids are housed in enclosed walls, a sad situation that almost makes a visit to such places seem more like visiting a detention center. Abuses are also common in such institutionalized orphanages with no oversight. We believe our model is the best way for the children to feel the love of the community and also acquire skills necessary to identify themselves with their culture, because cultural values are a very essential part of the African child. We hope you can partner with us in promoting our community based child development model because all children, no matter their origin or circumstances, are worth every ounce of effort it takes to help them overcome the pain and memories of their early sufferings. They all deserve a warm, loving, and nurturing environment to call home and that is why we call ours a Home and not an orphanage.
As a child growing up without shoes, Francis remembered how he got his donated first pair of shoes from a German Presbyterian Missionary visiting his village at the age of 7 and kept those shoes for as long as he could, and when the shoes could not fit him any longer, he devised a plan to keep them for a bit longer by cutting a hole so his big toe could stick out. He talks about how those shoes brought him self-dignity, esteem and a reason to go to school each day thereby improving his attendance. Today, Francis is on a mission to pay it forward and also speak to the youth about the importance of education. He is working hard to bring hope to kids in remote villages across Ghana and other parts of Africa and he has been very successful at doing so with the help of donations from individuals, sympathizers, faith-based institutions, charitable organizations and hospitals. To date, VIMA has donated approximately 15,000 pairs of shoes to orphans in rural Ghana, the organization has also donated medical supplies to rural clinics, the equivalence of a 40 footer container, renovated classroom blocks and built bathrooms for schools and much more. He stated, the smiles on the faces of beneficiary village kids receiving their first shoes, clothes, books and educational materials is all he needs to keep doing his work. The Pinnacle of a busy working day for Francis includes reading letters of gratitude from the children VIMA helps. In his own words, “It reminds me of my own childhood and it makes it all worthwhile.”
Mr. Agbemafle is fully committed to the Organization’s mission and Objectives, he hopes to foster both local and international partnerships to help make a difference, and it is therefore our hope that you’ll join hands with us through donating, volunteering and partnering with VIMA in order for the organization to reach out to more villages and communities.