Naase Efiba Bentuma-First Tufohenbaa for Senya Beraku
A new day dawned and the sun rose in Senya Beraku three weeks ago when the Royal Bosompre Family and the No 1 and No 2 Asafo companies of Senya Beraku in the Central Region installed their first Tufohenbaa in a colourful ceremony characterized by traditional drumming and dancing.
It was a historic Saturday; a day many had anticipated with enthusiasm. Tradition was at its best and Senya Beraku was alive with hope, expectation and optimism, as Mrs. Faustina Bentuma Amoah (Nee Arkaa), the Chief Executive Officer of Apaade Lodge Hotel, Ltd, Tesano, was installed as Tufohenbaa under the stool name Naase Efiba Bentuma.
Naase Efiba Bentuma, whose brother is the late Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Nenyi Kow Nkensen (Nee Arkaah), is reputed for her invaluable contribution to the empowerment of people, especially in Senya Beraku and the country in general.
The retired banker has spent a significant part of her life advocating women empowerment and child education.
Six years ago, Naase, in collaboration with her siblings, set up the Owinde Foundation, a supported hundreds of underprivileged kindergarten and class one pupils in Senya Beraku with free school uniforms, shoes, books and other educational materials.
The Owinde Foundation also provides free extra classes supervised by three traines teachers for children in the community. These interventions are entirely in line with the foundation’s objective of complementing the government’s Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education.
The Tufohenbaa told The Mirror: “Every child is important and educating even a single child can make a difference in society”.
Naase’s orientation towards people empowerment and child education is partly informed by her own experiences as a child growing up in Winneba.
Born to Nenyi Kweku Aduku Arkaa, a fisherman and Naase Adjoa Apaade on June 25, 1946, Naase, the 10th of 12 children, began her primary education at the Winneba Methodist Girls’ School.
As a pupil, she was extremely clever and widely tipped to become successful in future. Some even tipped her to become a medical doctor. However, the death of her father momentarily threatened to derail her dream.
But as she explained, her brother soon took over responsibility for the family: “Nenyi Kow Nkensen took over in 1958 and took care of everybody in the family. There was no difficulty.”
According to her, while showering her with care and support, her mum ensured that she focused on her education and did the right thing all the time.
“I was focused from the start on achieving success. I was determined to succeed. My disciplinarian mum ensured that I did the right thing all the times”, she stated.
Between 1960 and 1965, Naase completed her Ordinary Level education at Wesley Girls’ High School. She then went ahead to pursue her Advanced Level Certificate at the Aggrey Memorial High School between 1965 and 1967. Determined to pursue education to the highest possible level, Naase enrolled at the St. Godrics Secretarial School, Hampstead-London, between 1969 and 1970.
In 1971, Naase studied Business Studies and computing at the Slough College in London until 1972, She then proceeded to the South Bank University, London, where she obtained her Institute of Bankers Professional certificate and a post graduate diploma in France.
Naase’s professional career began as a pupil teacher with Awutu Breku Primary School and as a science teacher with Awutu Breku Primary School and as a science teacher with Winneba Secondary School. Then in 1973, she took up a job as a banker with the Ghana Commercial Bank London and worked there until 1992. Since 1992, she has acted as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Apaade Lodge Hotel Ltd, Tesano, Accra.
Naase, who is married to a fellow banker, Mr. Godfreid Amoah, and has a child, says the support and care she received from her family, which enabled her achieve such a high level of success, continually motivate her to reach out to the vulnerable and underprivileged in society.
Accor ding to her, child education has been a mofor area of focus for her because, “every child major area of focus for her because, “every child is important and a single child can make a difference in society.”
“That is why we set up “Owinde”, which in Efutu language means “the sun has risen, dawn has broken”, she notes.
Naase maintains that it is a difficult task trying to get some children in Senya Brenya to go to school. Though the foundation offers free extra classes for pupils in the community, not all of them are keen on taking advantages of the service.
“Some of the children prefer to sell fish, but we are motivating those who are in school by organizing end of the year parties for them and giving out gifts to those who consistently attend the classes throughout the year. This we hope will encourage others to take advantage of the classes”, she said.
Naase feels honoured to have been installed Tutohenbaa: “It’s an opportunity to serve my people and I’m taking it seriously”, she stated.
As queen, Naase says she hopes to intensify efforts to ensure that all kids in Senya Beraku are educated.
“We’ll work hand-in-hand with parents to support the children. So far so good some progress has been made. But we are not relenting. We are continuing to offer support to the best of my ability”, she stated.
She said as part of a programme on public education in basic healthcare and proper lifestyle, health nurses would be contracted to offer basic health education to old folks in the Senya Beraku community, in order to enable them “live longer”.
“Ultimately we will towards bringing prosperity and development to Senya Beraku” and maintaining peace in the area,” Naase explained.
The Tufohenbaa expressed gratitude to her family, especially her mother, Madam Elizabeth Adwoa Johnson, late brother, Nenyi Kow Nkensen (Nee Arkaah) and her husband, for their “unflinching support advice and encouragement thtat has brought me this far”.
She also extended her appreciation to the Royal Bosompre Family, Asofo No. 1 and 2 companies and the entire people of Senya Beraku and well wishes who made her installation a memorable occasion.
The Mirror, Page: 3 Saturday, July 30, 2011