June 23, 2023

The Oasis in Ghana

The Oasis in Ghana

Blair has returned from her journey to Ghana and this episode is a recap about opening The Oasis.

The GNA article: https://gna.org.gh/2023/05/the-oasis-to-provide-digital-skills-empower-youth-of-gbi-wegbe/

You can make a donation by emailing Blair (blair@blairkaplan.ca) or to the GoFundMe campaign: https://gofund.me/35b5e553.

Submit your story of resilience to be in The Global Resilience Project Book 2 here: http://www.bit.ly/GRP2023

Learn more about The Global Resilience Project, read the stories of resilience, sign up for the newsletter and submit your story here: https://theglobalresilienceproject.com/

Trigger Warning: The Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised.

About the Host:

Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. She brings fifteen years of experience to her clients, including global wellness, entertainment and lifestyle brands. She is the creator of the Social Media Empowerment Pillars, has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards and more.

USA Today listed Blair as one of the top 10 conscious female leaders in 2022, and Yahoo! listed Blair as a top ten social media expert to watch in 2021. She has spoken on national stages, and her expertise has been featured in media outlets, including Forbes, CBC Radio, Entrepreneur, and Thrive Global. In the summer of 2023, a new show that will be airing on Amazon Prime Video called 'My Story' will showcase Blair's life story. She is the co-host of the Dissecting Success podcast and the Radical Resilience podcast host. Blair is an international bestselling author and has recently published her second book, 'The Global Resilience Project.'  In her free time, you can find Blair growing The Global Resilience Project's community, where users share their stories of overcoming life's most challenging moments.


Learn more about Blair: https://www.blairkaplan.ca/

The Global Resilience Project; https://theglobalresilienceproject.com/

Alana Kaplan is a compassionate mental health professional based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She’s a child and family therapist at a Winnipeg-based community agency, and a yoga teacher. Fueled by advocacy, Alana is known for standing up and speaking out for others. Passionate about de-stigmatizing and normalizing mental health, Alana brings her experience to The Global Resilience Project team, navigating the role one’s mental health plays into telling their story.

Engaging in self-care and growth is what keeps her going and her love for reading, travel, and personal relationships helps foster that. When she’s not working, Alana can often be found on walks, at the yoga studio, or playing with any animal that she comes across.


The Global Resilience Project:  https://theglobalresilienceproject.com/

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Blair Kaplan Venables:

trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I Blair Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Hello, hello. Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience. It's me, Blair Kaplan Venables and I'm here with you live from Kamloops. Yes, that's right. I'm back from my five week adventure. And I am here with an update. Thanks for bearing with us hanging out listening to some replays. I know there's a lot of new listeners around here, which is super exciting. We so far over the last few months have been trending all over the world and been in the top 10 in places like Romania, and in Zimbabwe. So that's really exciting to know that our message is getting out there. So I'm Blair Kaplan Venables. I'm the founder of the global Resilience Project. And if you've been following along, or you're new here, you'll know that I just got back from a trip where the first stop was gonna. And that was really special. That was very, very unique experience. A lot of people were asking, did you go with an organized group? What were you doing there, and I think it's a good time to give you an update on what we did. And so, back at the end of last year, and 2022, I met God's way. And he had a dream of opening a children's center for at risk youth to teach them skills in a town, a place called homeboy in the Volta Region outside of Accra in Ghana. And I decided to partner with him and help fund the center. And we chose the name, the oasis. It's actually a name that he came up with. And while this was all transpiring, I actually had a trip planned to Uganda and Croatia. So I figured it makes sense to go to Ghana before I go to Uganda. Now, I you probably don't know this, but I'm not 19 years old anymore. When I was 19. I backpacked around Europe and totaled about and, well, my body is not so nimble anymore. And my energy levels are completely different. And I can't travel with just a backpack. So this was definitely an adventure. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. And I, you know, God's way and I met frequently. And when he and I decided that I'd come, he started to plan an official opening. I didn't really do much of my research. And, you know, upon landing in Ghana, after almost 30 hours of travel over 11,000 kilometers traveled. I don't know that in miles. You know, I landed in a completely different part of the world and my life changed forever. It was my first time in the developing world. Accra is quite a developed city. It's, you know, when I think it's at the capital, I think it might be the capital. No, I don't think it's not the capital. I'm wrong. Sorry, God's way. I know you're listening to this. But it is a major city and it's fairly developed. I stayed in a very nice hotel, the African region, it was very similar to a hotel I would stay at in North America. And eventually, we made our way out to Hawaii and the Volta Region, and I got to experience what their highways are like, which they're completely adventurous.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

We took a bus out because we had suitcases full of donation, so thank you to everyone who donated and we stopped to hang out at a river went kayaking and stayed at a hotel broke up the trip the way there. And once I got to Hawaii, we parked ourselves at a hotel called Kiki's loved it super vibrant. Raise the spirits above for air conditioning. It was so hot, so humid. There was a pool there that I didn't use. But what was really special was along the way, I got to meet a lot of people. I got to meet God's ways friends, I got to meet locals. Really, you know, diving into learning about the culture, the people the history. I didn't go in knowing much. I went in knowing that I wanted to help people. And my goal is to empower people and help people be more resilient. And, you know, God's waves vision was just so beautiful. So leading up to being there, I sent out a press release. And this press release was promoting the Oasis opening. And this press release helped Garner US media attention globally, including local media. And so we Godley and I ended up on the radio, it was fun went into the radio station. And I could, there was no live stream option to have it

Blair Kaplan Venables:

be listened to in North America. So I actually did a Facebook live stream of us on the radio there. If you go deep into my Facebook, you can probably find that stream. But it was a really cool experience to talk about the opening, which was happening. And you know, the following days, and the opening itself at the center was really special. So my first time at the center, it's a house that they've converted into this center, and they have a vision for computer rooms. And there's a kitchen that needs appliances right now it's just a room. And there's a big beautiful yard and the kids there buy handmade bamboo fences and bamboo pergola and I'm talking to their 11 and 12 year olds, they went down to the river and fetch rocks and use it for decoration, to you know, put along the walls, they painted everything. I've never seen kids so happy and work so hard. It was just very beautiful to see but also really made me think about what life is like, back here back home and getting to know these kids, especially this one kid Jr. His spirit was just so contagious. We, you know, he showed us should be smooth local dances, and we did arts and crafts and listen to music. And you know, I'm really excited because the center the goal is to teach these kids skills, you know, coding skills, social media, public speaking entrepreneurship, to help them break the cycle, the generational cycle of dropping out of school and working in the markets or working in risky behavior. I'd say jobs like in the cannabis fields, you know, teaching these kids ways that they can generate revenue from staying in their hometown and staying safe. And still, while staying in school is such a gift. So the center right now, there's a TV, there's a couple of coaches, there is a few working laptops, lots of books, but they need more, they need more stuff. And I'll get to that. But the ceremony itself was it was beautiful, I get there. And there's tents and chairs set up in a podium. And tons of people from the community came out lots of God's ways family members, and chiefs from different communities. We're all there too, including the mayor, and a priest. And there was an emcee. And the priest did some blessings and said a speech and it was a libation ceremony. And that's when you're pouring out liquid and saying prayers to like pouring out liquid for the spirits, and saying prayers. And this is really beautiful ceremony. And I don't know what they said. But I was kind of told that they were you know, praising the land and the yoga, which is the white people. So I think maybe me, maybe us maybe our community, I'm not really too sure.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

We had the mayor make a speech God's way made a speech, I made a speech. And the media was there. Newspapers were there radio was there TV was there. And it was really special to see that. And from my understanding, an opening in that community hasn't been like that ever. And I you know, I think what part of it is just the excitement of knowing for me knowing what is possible and what can happen there. And then me in God's way, the mayor cut the ribbon that I've never cut a ribbon before it was really special, really beautiful. You know, and we got to hang out the center and I hung out with kids and we you know, did arts and crafts and blue bubbles and dance, listen to music, I got to sit and mix and mingle with the locals. It was, you know, some people that I spoke with, you know, I was able to have a dialogue. A lot of people there didn't speak the level of English that would allow us for a conversation. But we still were able to communicate and celebrate and just, you know, honor what we were doing, you know, changing the future. And, you know, going into this project, my goal wasn't to have my name associated with it. My goal wasn't to you know, be in the media about it. The global Resilience Project is a movement and a social enterprise. And what we want to do with the community is Help, help. There's no parameters at this time about how to help you know, we donate money to camp Aaron, which is an organization that supports children who are grieving loved ones through our shirt that says Good grief, you can buy that in our merch store. I have a couple other movements I'd like to support in the future. We're probably going to have to develop a more you know application process because a lot of

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Other organizations are coming to us for support. But when God's way approached me, it just really resonated. And I'm someone who's really driven by intuition. And I really believed in what he wanted to do with the oasis. And so what, what we need to focus on now is getting the proper equipment there. So an update we got from God's way. So it's called the oasis. Oh, yeah, I'm gonna I just want to read you an article that was in the paper. So in GNA, so the Ghana news agency. So that's gna.org.gh. They wrote this article, it says the Oasis to provide digital skills empower youth of their community called with Gabbay. So Mr. God's way, Director of Programs at the Oasis, has said the center was committed to equipping the children of the youth of the community with digital and employable skills. He said the opening of the center, a New York Youth Development Center aimed at empowering young people was to give back to society and keep children and senior high school graduates engaged during holidays and free hours under programs run by the center. God's way speaking during the opening of the Student Center noted that the programs included an after school filmmaking Club, which would teach photography, filmmaking, animation and graphic design as a means of engaging the beneficiaries aged 14 to 21. In their education. He explained that the after school coding club would teach children between 810 and 18 years of all backgrounds how to code and improve their computing skills, the computer computational thinking, boosts problem solving skills and help them develop confidence and communication skills. God's way also noted that there would be sporting activities like video games, athletics, football, dance activities, among others, and using physical education to teach the young people about time management, working together as a team and proper competitive attitude. The center he said, would also provide youth and adolescent counseling sessions for young people and serve as a safe place where they can feel to share their feelings and worries and provide be provided with the needed help. Madame Blair Kaplan, that's me, the founder of the global Resilience Project, and social media marketing expert noted that her partnership and opening and running the center was due to the vision of God's way for the children in the youth of West Bay. She noted that the children in Canada had access to technology from an early age and got to explore and learn computer skills including coding, which all children in the world including what Bay must have to but Ambler noted that the possibilities of a very bright future to make money be happy and resilient, hinged on learning digital skills, I totally agreed. That's what I said. She said it was her hope that the children would learn and gain new skills such as social media marketing, coding, and building websites, technical skills, which would help them get jobs and connect to parts of the different parts of the world. While in Ghana, Mr. Daniel noble, the mayor, he noted that the center was a good starting point, because it would provide extra digital skills for students outside of the classrooms. And he noted that the country was it driven and the facility was of importance to the municipality. And the article goes on a bit more. But basically, it takes little micro movements to make a change, right, we don't need to make this huge grand gesture. You know, maybe it's donating time, money, energy expertise. But, you know, just because of my connection to God's way, who I met, because I led a social media workshop led to us potentially changing the lives of 1600 kids. So recently, I got an update from God's way, so the center is going great. They only have two computers, they're hoping to have 10. So use computer, they can get for about $60. Us and he sourced them out, there's a place there. So he'd like to have at least eight more, they need a lot more books, he let me know that, you know, they practice reading. And a lot of the kids are well behind their level of where they should read. They do a lot of coloring and sports. But basically, you know, right now they're able to serve about 18 kids a day when they're open. They have between nine and 27 kids come daily of all different ages. They you know, he sent me photos, they all they connect a computer up to the TV and they huddle around and they all do work together. So basically, whoever's doing work on the computer everyone else gadget gathers around to watch it. What can we do? Like how can we help? Well, they do have a GoFundMe, but a lot of you out there have expressed that you'd rather you know some some of you want to work directly with me to work with him. You know, $60 If you're interested in helping out you know, that would be amazing. I know they need a whole bunch of other things, but to me, obviously, obviously computers are important like hence my life my job and like the soul As you can do, so if you're listening to this and you want to support, maybe you want to donate money for a laptop, $60. Or maybe you want to donate money for two laptops, 120, etc. Or you want to just donate money, or you want to connect to God's way and see what else they need, maybe some sporting equipment, maybe you're going to Africa, going to Ghana, maybe you want to donate to the GoFundMe. I'm going to put the link to the GoFundMe below in the show notes and the information for the Oasis, I'll link to the article. But if you want to deal directly with me, so I, you know, make sure that the donation goes to the right place, and get it to God's way. So you can get those computers, I will do that. Because you know, every, every life that we change with these skills, changes the generational cycle, it changes the future. And as someone who grew up as a privileged white woman in Canada, with access to computers, like I acknowledge that and being in Hanoi and being at the Oasis, seeing how happy these kids are with, you know, an old laptop or you know, coloring and just having a safe place to be without needing a whole bunch of stuff without even knowing they want this stuff. But just feeling like they're at home really changed the way I think and knowing that I can help the future these kids in that in the you know, in the next couple years, they can specifically set up ways to generate money for them. And let me tell you, friends, $1 goes a really long way there. I asked my friend there, how much do you think you need a month to survive? And it's only a few $100? Like, $500? What you know, that's all they need? That's all someone might need to survive? That's a big deal. Right? So what can we do?You know, and I don't, I don't think we all need to donate money or donate stuff. But I think it's also just raising awareness. Being there really had me thinking about consumption, and like all the things I want and don't need and all the things that I buy that I don't need, and all the things I have that I don't need. And like this, this concept of like spending money on these things, but you know, do I really need a dress in multiple colors? Do I really need to have like, you know, 25 different types of pens? Will that money can do something different? Or what can I do, instead of spending the money on those things, maybe is putting the money towards something else for me that maybe a skill, like maybe professional development that I can use to help future generations, I don't really know. Anyways, I'm rambling. So the grand opening was amazing. We made it and all the media, I'll put a link to one of the articles in the show notes from the GNA. But I think it was a great success. And I know we have a long way to go. I am involved at a certain level, I will keep you updated on how my position evolves there. As of right now I'm just a partner who helped fund the building. And I act as an advisor for God's way. His plans are to register the Oasis as a not for profit. And he'll have a board of directors. You know, he's going to need teachers and support I'm hoping to help I obviously, will, once they have enough equipment, I will be zooming in and helping teach the kids social media, marketing, writing, public speaking entrepreneur skills. These kids are very, very special. And they have motivation, they have drive. And I think they know that they are the generation that's going to change the future of their communities and their families. So my god a trip I also did some other cool things I saw Western Africa's tallest waterfall that was neat. Got some photos there played in the waterfalls, super special spot. And I made a new friend His name is Nana. And he is a magical man. But that's a story for another time, how I met this magical healer, and at his compound and we did magic spells. So I'm going to leave that story for another time because this is about the oasis. So I'm going to keep giving you updates on the Oasis the global Resilience Project is very proud to have helped be a part of that to be a social enterprise and be able to fund it.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

You know, if you're listening to this and you've gotten this far, and you're like well Blair, I want to get involved with the Oasis or you know what, I want to be involved with the global Resilience Project. Yes, please come on in. Right now. We are working on book number two, the global Resilience Project. Book number two is accepting stories of resilience from around the world. If you think this is an opportunity for you to share your story with the world and help the world be more resilient. I would love to hear from you. So you can Click the link in the show notes. And we can get you set up to be in the book, there is a nominal fee. That fee is administrative. And if you have questions, let's let's have a call, let's make it happen. So, me and my jetlag are gonna go to bed. It's been a couple of days, my brain thinks it's nine hours ahead, which means it's the middle of the night and I go to bed early normally. So, without further ado, I just want you to know you know, it is okay to not be okay. It's okay to feel like crap. It's okay to be sick. It's okay to be hungover. It's okay to grieve. It's also okay to cry. You don't need to be ashamed. You don't need to hide feelings are normal, the good ones and the bad ones. It is okay to not be okay. But know that you are not alone. You have the support of people like us. Let us be that lighthouse in the storm for you. You got this my friend, you are resilient.