The Gift of Clothes

The Gift of Clothes

It's hard to imagine a world where clothes are a luxury.  A world where it is not normal to peruse your closet each morning to determine which outfit you want to wear.  Unfortunately there are many people who lack this basic need.  Beautiful people whom I imagine are so very grateful even though they have little. 

Recently I was very fortunate to connect with Stephen from Clothe The Naked.  He is touching the lives of many of these people and is a definite Personal Hero doing his part to make a difference.  I will let him tell you his story...

Clothe The Naked is a charitable, Non-profit, and Non-governmental organization, providing Clothing Assistance, Educational Opportunities, Outreach Programs, and Recreational Opportunities, for the less-privileged people, especially Orphans in Orphanages, Children in deprived villages, Mentally-Challenged People in Psychiatric Hospitals, and Prisoners, of Ghana – West Africa.

By 2010, I had already began organizing my friends to voluntarily undertake charity works during weekends as a leisure activity. We will drive through the well-to-do communities of Accra – the capital of Ghana, soliciting used clothes from people, and sending them to the less-privileged communities for distribution. In no time the outreach became famous and demand for its products expanded. It therefore became necessary to register and obtained the certifications required to make it a legally recognized organization. So I began the process of registering in 2012, and the certificates were issued in 2013.

Stephen's inspiration:

I do not know exactly what got me into this, but since childhood, I have always been deeply moved by the challenges, and predicaments of others, and I have always found myself desperately looking for any possible way to help others. Though I had so much challenges growing up in a poor and broken home myself, I easily forgot about my situation and I have shed uncontrollable tears a million times for people and situations that do not really have any direct connections to my life. So for lack of words to describe this passion for helping others, I usually say “It’s my calling, and maybe I was created for just this. Nothing gives me more fulfillment than being able to do something for someone who may never be able to pay me back.

So I have always been looking for ways to help others, and then one day I watched an episode of the Oprah Show where she was giving out all her stuffs that she hasn’t used for 3 or more months. On that show, she also admonished people to do same by saying “if you haven’t used it for 3 months then you don’t need it, give it away to someone who need it”. I thought about that for days and I remembered how I used to wear the unwanted clothes of a childhood friend of mine who was from a very rich home. I realized that even in Africa where the rate of poverty is very high, there are still so many people who have more clothes than they have ever needed, while there are so many others who have less than they need. I have seen people who have just about 1-3 clothes in their whole world, and that’s what they’ve been depending on for years. In fact some the clothes that people wear especially in the deprived communities of Africa, are not fit to be called rugs in the homes of the well-to-do people. So I found the first way to be useful – redistribution of clothing resources. I began soliciting clothes from people who have more than they need and share them to those who have less than they need. Later on I realized the need to reduce the gap between the privileged and the less-privileged people, so I started organizing outreach programs to orphanages, psychiatric hospitals, deprived villages and prisons of Ghana. And in 2015 we began the CTN Scholarship Aid to fund the formal education of less-privileged children with the hope that one day they will be in better positions to help themselves, their families and communities.
 
The journey has been very challenging so far especially because we have not received any grant or sponsorship before for any of our projects. So I and my team have had to fund almost everything from our own pockets, aside the very little donations that comes our way. One thing that has kept me going is the knowledge that “I am only one of my kind, created with a unique assignment to help some people on this earth, and these people will suffer if I fail to do what I was brought on earth for”. Seeing the faces of people struggling reminds me that there is still a lot of work for me to do, and the thought of “I was created just for the purpose of helping others” and “I am not going to be here forever”, makes me want to do everything that I can to make life easier for others before I leave this earth. Death gives me that sense of urgency.

Stephen's Personal Hero:

I am inspired by passionate people – passionate people who have strong believes in their convictions are willing to sacrifice anything to achieve their mission. Like my mother who will sell her last most valuable piece of cloth to help fund my formal education. Like Nelson Mandela who will sacrifice about 28years of his life for the liberation of his people.

Favorite Quote:

My favorite quote is - “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
— Etienne de Grellet (1773 – 1855)

How to get involved:

1. You can donate any amount of money to support us through PayPal: clothethenakedus@gmail.com

2. You can become a CTN Ambassador: CTN Ambassadors are registered members of Clothe The Naked. They are people who have passion for charity work, people who subscribe to the mission and vision of CTN Outreach and are willing and able to donate US$10 every month to support our projects.

3. You can become a Sponsor for a year, for one of the children whose education we are funding through the CTN Scholarship Aid. CTN Sponsors are people who are willing and able to donate a one-time US$200.00 to support the CTN Scholarship Aid.
 
For more information on how to Get-Involved please visit:
http://www.ctncharity.org/get-involved.html
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ctnoutreach
Twitter @CTNoutreach
Instagram: @ctn.charity