Ambassadorial Scholar connects Japan and Ghana
Keiko Sawa’s learning journey as a 2004-06 Rotary Foundation Multiyear Ambassadorial Scholar in Ghana took her to the front lines of humanitarian service and broadened international understanding among the Rotarians of her sponsor and host countries as well.
While she was at the University of Ghana, Sawa researched Ghanaian families to investigate whether the foster care system has become a hotbed of child trafficking in the Volta region. The study became the basis for her dissertation.
At the same time, she helped extend Rotary’s reach in her host country. As a member of the Rotaract Club of University of Ghana, Sawa provided rice, maize flour, cooking tools, and books in a project supporting the Teshie Orphanage.
She also participated in Ghana’s PolioPlus immunization campaigns in 2004 and 2005. “We gave oral polio vaccines to children,” she stated in a report to The Rotary Foundation. “I also met some people who suffered polio when they were children.”
As the first Ambassadorial Scholar sponsored by the Rotary Club of Korien, Osaka, Japan, Sawa updated club members on her activities every month. “They had a sense of distance between Japan and Africa,” Sawa said. “Now, however, they think about many problems — for example, education, poverty, child labor, and polio — in Ghana and Africa.”
Sawa also introduced Japan to many Ghanaian Rotarians at the district conference and assembly and club meetings.
“The Ghanaian people have a rich culture,” she said. “They help each other not only as families but as neighbors. It is said that the family link is getting to be weak in most developed countries. The Ghanaian people have something that we have forgotten recently.”
This article originally ran in the July issue of Rotary World.