Reverend Monsignor Alex Bobby Benson is a Priest of the Koforidua Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. He won the award for the health category of MTN Heroes of Change Season III. He educates, provides care, support people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) as well as Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC) in a house christened Matthew 25 in Ghana. He reckoned with the stigma which faces marginalized in the country, and being filled with empathy, he embarked on the lone journey of seeing to the needs of PLHIV, Orphans and Vulnerable Children.

Monsignor Benson started the Matthew 25 Center to fulfill the words in Matthew 25:35-40 of the New testament… “For I was hungry you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, in prison, you visited me, what you do to the least ones you did it for me.”

“One of the saddest things that can befall any human being is to be neglected and ostracized by either family members or society or both as a result of sickness or mishap.” Rev. Benson noted.

Since the centre’s inception 18 years ago in Akwatia in the Eastern Region, its occupancy has grown from only nine PLHIV to over 70 and it is still increasing. The centre caters for residents by offering regular medical screenings, psychosocial counseling, care, food, and supplements. HIV/AIDS victims are encouraged to live their full lives, despite some discrimination from certain quarters of the public.

The centre houses a total of 90 adults with 64 on antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 95 are Orphans and Vulnerable Children. The children’s educational needs are catered for. Their fees, stationery, transportation and clothings are provided by Matthew 25.

Matthew 25, also empowers residents to be economically independent. Residents are taken through training in income-generating ventures such as batik, tie & dye, gari processing, funeral undertaking, farming, charcoal and palm oil production. On completion of the training, interest-free loans are offered to patients who show interest in commencing a business in the field they are passionate about.

Monsignor Benson does not only care for residents in Matthew 25; he has instituted a meal programme which serves almost 1,000 people monthly depending on the availability of funds.

Recalling his win, Rev. Benson said, “It’s wonderful to know that there are people and institutions in Ghana who are committed to touching lives. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to be used as a vessel; I am also grateful to those who nominated me to be part of the MTN Heroes of Change because now, PLHIV know they are not alone in their struggle; and to MTN, you have embarked on a worthy cause, and it would be great to continue in it.”

He said the GH₵30,000 award received is being used to improve the quality of care that residents enjoy at the centre and also address the needs of the children.

The winners of MTN Heroes of Change are making tremendous impact in their communities. Dr. Abrokwa-Yenkyera, and Madam Paulina Opei, who were winners of Season I and II respectively continue to enrich the lives of people in their communities. Genevieve Basigha winner of Season III also promises to further impact her society with the awareness and prize received.

Nominations for MTN Heroes of Change IV were opened from 20th September and will close on 17th November 2017. The Foundation is inviting members of the general public to identify individuals in their communities who have done exceptionally well for others and nominate them to be honored as a Hero of Change. Nomination forms are available online or from any MTN Service Centre nationwide.

The MTN Ghana Foundation was established in November 2007 as the vehicle to select and implement MTN’s Corporate Social Investments. MTN Ghana Foundation has three areas of focus -Health, Education and Economic Empowerment.  From inception to December 2016, the Foundation had undertaken 142 major projects across the country. Notable health projects include: construction of a Neonatal Care Center for Tamale Teaching Hospital, refurbishment of the 2nd floor maternity block of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, construction of a maternity block for Ejisu Government Hospital, and construction of an Emergency Center for Atua Government Hospital. Education projects undertaken include:  construction of a boys dormitory for Akropong School for the Blind, construction of a six-unit classroom block for Kodjonya Millennium School, establishment of 10 MTN ICT Learning Centers in each of Ghana’s 10 regions and the institution of an Innovation Hub at KNUST to promote Telecoms.

Engineering and Research. Key projects undertaken in Economic Empowerment include: the construction of shea butter processing centers, provision of seed capital and skill training for Women of Tizaa Dini Association of Yendi and the Sung Suma Women Association of Wa.

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