Tandem Pilots raise money to support an orphanage for deserving children in Ghana.
Beginning eight years ago, the Ghana Paragliding Festival has become an Easter tradition in the region of Kwahu. Working closely with the Ghana Tourism Authority, the festival consists of traditional ceremonies, music, and aerial fun including tandem flights for locals and tourists alike, which proudly tout a perfect safety record since inception. The festival is open to solo pilots as well, and boasts consistent and mild thermaling conditions for novices and experienced pilots alike.
The festival exposes hundreds of Ghanaians to a magical world they might not otherwise ever have access to. Many families struggle to secure consistent meals. The festival boosts the local economy by creating opportunities for local businesses including taxi drivers, hotel owners, food vendors, and souvenir shops to earn much needed income. In addition to the cross-cultural experience, the Ghana Paragliding Festival serves as an opportunity to raise funds for local needs.
The Villiage of Hope, a local school and orphanage, has been recieving funds raised during the festival for the past few years. Last year following the festival, the pilots were invited to attend the opening ceremony of several new classrooms built with funds raised the previous year. “It was very satisfying to see with our own eyes the result of our efforts and something so tangible, effective and vital for the children at the Village,” says participating pilot and Cloudbase Foundation member Chuck Smith. It is expected that 100% of donations from this year’s festival will go to the Villiage of Hope, with information recently recieved from the directors at the Village concerning what their needs are.
This year, support flew from around the world: Japan, France, Dubai, Belgium, Nepal, and the United States, among others. Individual tandem pilots were able to independently raise $1000 on behalf of the event, which will be matched by the Cloudbase Foundation for a grand total of $2000 for the Villiage of Hope.
“The Ghana Paragliding Festival is a unique, chaotic, and grand adventure. It’s like no other flying event I have attended since I started flying paragliders 26 years ago. While everything seems to work out in the end, attendees must be adaptable and prepared for a modest amount of disorder. Most things move at a different pace in West Africa. . . and nothing happens without music. It’s the loudest launch site on the planet! There are many aspects to the festival that draw me back each year. The biggest is the children. Their smiles, enthusiasm, and curiosity are infectious. Friendships are created and I’ve witnessed several grow up over the years. Future initiatives in the Kwahu region will hopefully continue to make a difference, as small as it may be, to help develop a healthier environment for the most disadvantaged children of the area and create more opportunity.”
For more information, visit: http://www.ghanaparagliding.com/
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