Charity of the Month – Meet Me There Weekender

16 January 2019

Our Charity of the Month for January is the incredible Meet Me There Weekender, an annual music and arts festival held in the Volta region of Ghana. The festival, which is back for its 2nd edition on 14th March 2019, combines a celebration of Ghana’s rich cultural heritage with a fundraising drive for local educational and sanitation projects. These projects are coordinated by affiliated NGO, Dream Big Ghana, who work with the communities in the surrounding local villages of Dzita and Dzita-Agbledomi.

Experience the beauty of Ghana

The Meet Me There Weekender is an arts festival like no other. Celebrating the vibrancy of Ghanaian culture, the weekend brings together people from all around the world over a shared love of arts, music and adventure. Guests gather at the cosy Meet Me There Lodge – a not-for-profit eco lodge which raises funds for the local community – before immersing themselves in a unique creative experience.

Throughout the weekend, top Ghanaian musicians and DJs from around the world will play an exciting programme of gigs, which culminates with a headline performance by Highlife master Ebo Taylor. But festival-goers won’t just be a passive audience: expect plenty of chances to participate. Workshops led by local people will enable you to try your hand at a range of activities with Ghana at their heart, from Batik printing to traditional dance, and from African drumming to Ghanaian cuisine. You’ll also be able to kick back with beach football tournaments, boat trips and, of course, beach parties. Following the huge success of their first ever festival last year, the Meet Me There team are determined to create another unforgettable weekend.

Dream Big Ghana

Guests of the Meet Me There Weekender will come away with a rich experience of Ghana, but they’ll give back something even more important.

The Meet Me There Lodge lies between the villages of Dzita and Dzita-Agbledomi, two of Ghana’s poorest communities. Last year’s Weekender raised over £6,000 to support its neighbours, and Meet Me There are hoping to smash that total for 2019.

This is made possible by Dream Big Ghana, an NGO which carries out vital projects to help Ghanaians in need. The charity focuses its efforts on providing two fundamental facilities which are all too easy to take for granted: life-saving sanitation and life-changing education. By joining the Meet Me There Weekender you’ll be helping communities in Ghana to access these basic rights.

A central part of Dream Big Ghana’s work involves creating ecological sanitation (EcoSan) toilet blocks for families and schools to improve the quality of life for the people they help. EcoSan toilets recycle human waste to create safe, organic compost and fertilizer. For Dream Big Ghana, it’s also important that all of their toilet blocks are created using 100% local materials and labour. So far, almost 2,000 people in Dzita and Dzita-Agbledomi have benefitted from facilities built by the charity, but Dream Big Ghana won’t rest until everyone in the community has access to proper sanitation.

Funds from last year’s Meet Me There Weekender also contributed to bringing Days For Girls to the neighbouring villages. Days for Girls is a wide-ranging project which provides menstrual care for girls in marginalised communities. Targeting both the health and social challenges arising from periods, the initiative provides girls with a practical, sustainable kit to help them manage their menstrual care with safety and dignity. This is combined with health education delivered by trained ambassadors. Days For Girls is concerned with long-term solutions: they provide teaching to share the knowledge and resources girls need to take care of themselves for life.

Dream Big Ghana see education in general as the key to transforming lives. In the area surrounding the Meet Me There Lodge, they have established the Dream Big Community Learning Centre, an innovative hub to empower both young people and adult learners. Visitors are offered training in literacy and numeracy, as well as valuable community activities such as health and hygiene classes, homework support, ICT skills, arts and crafts, dancing, drumming and much more. Over 3,000 visits have already been made to the centre since it opened last year, showing the huge range of opportunities that education can bring.

So there you have it, if you’d like to support vital projects like these while experiencing the very best of Ghanaian arts and culture, book your tickets for the Meet Me There Weekender 2019. Furthermore, every ticket bought through PFTP in the month of January will raise funds for this great charity/ festival. If you’re in the Manchester region, be sure to catch the Meet Me There and Banana Hill DJs play a warm up fundraiser party at Soup Kitchen on the 26th January

Words: Laura Mulvey