12 September 2009

Re-imagining our future

By Marguerite Finn

On 6th September I attended the Charities Day at Mannington Hall in support of the Wulugu Project. As I wandered around enjoying the many attractions, I found myself thinking how difficult it would be to explain the anomaly between an English, moated, stately home and the problems experienced by the children in Northern Ghana – for whom the funds raised at Mannington were destined.

On the surface, there would seem to be a vast economic and cultural divide between 'them' and 'us' - but this apparent difference is currently being shown to be false.

For the past 300 years, science, from Newton and Descartes onwards, idealised separateness. According to Lynne McTaggart, writing in Resurgence Magazine, "from the moment we are born, we are told that for every winner there must be a loser – and from that constricted vision we have fashioned our world".

But Lynne maintains that frontier research into the nature of human consciousness has turned this scientific 'certainty' on its head demonstrating that all matter exists in a vast quantum web of connection: "at our essence, we exist as a unity, a relationship – utterly interdependent, the parts affecting the whole at every moment".

Therefore what happens in Norfolk affects what happens in Ghana.

We are only just beginning to understand the vast and untapped human potential at our disposal: the individual's extraordinary capacity to influence the world. If we could learn how to direct our potential for influence in a positive manner, we could improve every aspect of our world – and overcome the endemic corruption found within global society. Across the world, governments are battling their way out of a greed-induced global recession. This applies to Ghana as well as Britain. Young people in this country often stray into alcohol and drug abuse, neglect their education and end up on the streets, wasting their individual potential and failed by a system under stress. In Ghana, young women are driven, through lack of opportunity, to head for the cities in the South, looking for employment. They frequently end up as prostitutes, only returning home to die of AIDS.

In Norfolk, a small, dedicated group of people has achieved outstanding successes in a deprived area of northern Ghana. This month, the Wulugu Project has managed to open six more primary schools, each with a full compliment of girls. Older girls, previously condemned to slavery, flood into the five 'Wulugu' vocational schools, where they get high quality training for locally-based careers. They learn to read and write, alongside nutrition, family-care, catering, tailoring, hairdressing and office work. Wulugu is currently building a hostel for girls at the vocational school in Savelugu, allowing girls from more distant villages to return safely to education.

Lynne Symonds, Wulugu founder, explains: "Wulugu owes its success in part to the dedication of its supporters here in East Anglia, who tirelessly fund-raise, strengthened by the knowledge that 99p of every pound goes to help people who are forgotten, largely due to their geographical inaccessibility. Those who work with 'Wulugu' in Ghana walk tall because it has such a good reputation due to its refusal to participate in any form of corruption".

Let us hope that the girls of Ghana are spared the excesses of 20th century philosophy where human beings became commodified 'units' or 'human resources' – their individual creativity curtailed by over-management.

This 21st century revolution in scientific thinking gives us back a sense of optimism, something that has been stripped out of our sense of ourselves by the arid target-driven outlook of the 20th century. We are not isolated beings living out desperate lives on a lonely planet. We were never alone. We were always part of a larger whole – just as the Wulugu Project has proved.

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