Udmelding fra Right to Dream

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Kofi Annan sammen med alle de studerende på Right to Dream fodboldakademiet i Ghana tilbage i 2016.

FC Nordsjælland lægger her igen platform til en udmelding fra vores søsterakademi, som vi støtter 100% I deres forsvar på nye anklager fra få tidligere elever gennem dagbladet Politiken. (English version below)

I morgen, søndag, bringer dagbladet Politiken nye artikler med meget grove anklager om dårlig behandling af elever på Right to Dream (RTD) akademiet I Ghana. Disse ændrer ikke på RTD’s allerede beskrevne holdning. At der findes en mindre gruppe af tidligere elever, som alle er endt i en uheldig karriereudvikling og derfor er sårbare overfor manipulering fra et ghanesisk netværk, der gennem flere år har haft og har det erklærede mål at få lukket RTD ned, for at få fat på de talentfulde spillere for egen økonomisk vindings skyld. Et netværk bestående af hovedsageligt fire personer, der alle på 14. måned er en del af en politiefterforskning i Ghana for bl.a. ”trafficking of African players”. Et netværk, der tidligere uden held har forsøgt at sprede lignende anklager i Ghana samt f.eks. at forsøge at bestikke unge pigeelevers forældre til at komme med falske anklager om seksuel mishandling, hvilket RTD kan dokumentere. Adskillige ansatte, og deres familier, på akademiet er blevet truet på livet af de fire hovedpersoner i dette netværk.
RTD vurderer, at denne gruppe af sårbare elever, som kontrolleres via løfter om belønninger eller trusler, består af mellem 10-15 spillere, hvoraf Politiken nu har bragt artikler med fem af disse. Alle fem kan direkte forbindes til de fire individer i agentnetværket.

RTD vil gerne endnu engang slå fast, at den slags anklager er noget, vi tager ekstremt seriøst og som ligger langt uden for vores politik på området, der klart tager afstand fra enhver form for psykisk eller fysisk afstraffelse af elever. Og som vi derfor har undersøgt grundigt og vil blive ved med at undersøge, ved at kontakte adskillige tidligere elever, forældre til elever, myndigheder og eksterne eksperter. Samtlige af disse har direkte adspurgt ikke kunne genkende anklagerne fra Politikens kilder. Tværtimod tegner de det modsatte billede af deres egen tid og fra deres egne erfaringer på og fra RTD akademiet. Ligesom denne research gav RTD dokumentation til direkte at kunne afsløre og afvise flere af Politikens kilders oprindelige påstande som falske. Resten må vi, på baggrund af statements fra tidligere elever, forældre, myndigheder og eksperter, konkludere som værende overdrevne i høj grad og/eller taget ud af sammenhæng.

RTD mener derfor stadig, at det billede Politiken forsøger at tegne af akademiet, der kan være dybt skadeligt for hundreder af unge afrikanske børns fremtid, på ingen måde er retvisende eller retfærdigt. Og RTD er især ærgrelige over, at Politikens journalister tilsyneladende fortsat ikke har ønsket at kontakte eller snakke med en eneste af de mange kilder i form af tidligere elever, eksterne eksperter eller myndigheder, der har en helt anden holdning til, hvordan virkeligheden ser ud på vores akademi i Ghana, end de få tidligere elever under agentnetværkets kontrol og indflydelse.

Vi har tillader os at bringe et uddrag af disse talrige statements, fra de tidligere elever, forældre, myndigheder og eksperter som Politiken ikke ønsker at kontakte og høre fra, under denne udmelding.

Fakta om Right to Dream akademiet i Ghana:
Oprettet for 20 år siden i Accra, og er i dag stadig en not-for-profit organisation, så alle indtægter føres direkte tilbage til at kunne tilbyde flere muligheder til flere børn i Vestafrika og Danmark.
Blev i 2012 det første afrikanske fodboldakademi, hvor piger også har adgang. 250 børn fra fattige kår har gået på RTD siden starten. Ud af de 170, som har forladt akademiet, har 70 fået tildelt scholarships på de bedste skoler og universiteter i USA og England (samlet værdi over $40 mio), 48 har en professionel karriere som fodboldspiller. Og over 20 er i dag ansat i organisationen. Der er i dag 85 elever, både drenge og piger, på akademiet.

English version
RTD again refutes the newspaper Politiken’s new accusations from former students. This is not a true picture of the Academy from Ghana.

Tomorrow, Sunday, the newspaper Politiken brings new articles with accusations of poor treatment of students at Right to Dream (RTD) academy in Ghana. These do not change the already stated position of RTD. There is a small group of former students who have all ended up in an unfortunate position of being vulnerable to manipulation from a Ghanaian network that has for several years tried to shut down RTD, in order to get hold of the talented players for their own financial gain. A network consisting mainly of four people, all of whom are part of a police investigation in Ghana that has been ongoing for 14 months on “trafficking of African players”. A network that has previously unsuccessfully tried to spread similar charges in Ghana as well as trying to bribe young female students to make false allegations of sexual abuse, which RTD can document. Several employees, and their families, at RTD have been threatened by the four main characters of this network.

RTD estimates that this group of vulnerable students, who are controlled by promises of rewards or threats, consists of between 10-15 players, of which Politiken has now brought articles with five of these. All five can be directly linked to the four individuals in the agent network.

RTD would like to reiterate that this kind of accusation is something we take extremely seriously, and which is far from our policy, which clearly does not permit any kind of mental or physical punishment of students.

We have thoroughly investigated, and will continue to investigate by contacting several previous students, parents of students, authorities and external experts, the allegations. All of those directly questioned could not recognize the accusations from Politiken’s sources. On the contrary, they draw the opposite picture of their own time and from their own experiences at RTD.

RTD provided documentation to be able to detect and reject several of Politiken’s original claims as false. The remainder, based on statements from previous students, parents, authorities and experts, we must conclude as being exaggerated to a great extent and / or taken completely out of context.

RTD therefore still believes that the image Politiken is trying to draw of the academy, which can be deeply detrimental to hundreds of young African children’s future, is in no way fair or accurate. And RTD is especially disappointed that Politiken’s journalists apparently still did not want to contact or speak to any of the many sources in the form of past students, external experts or authorities who have a completely different attitude to how reality looks at RTD compared to the few former students under the control and influence of others.

We have placed extracts from these numerous statements, from the former students, parents, authorities and experts that Politiken does not want to contact and hear from, below this statement.

Facts about Right to Dream Academy in Ghana:
Created 20 years ago in Accra, today it is still a not-for-profit organization, so all revenue is returned directly to being able to offer more opportunities to more children in West Africa and Denmark. The first residential girls academy in Africa.
250 children from underprivileged backgrounds have received completely free education at RTD since its inception. Out of the 170 who have so far left the academy, 70 have been awarded scholarships at the best schools and universities in the US and England (total value over $ 40 million), 48 have a professional career as a football player, and over 20 are currently employed by the organization. There are currently 85 students, both boys and girls, at the academy.

STATEMENT FROM JONES ADJIE (RTD Academy 2014-2018)
I have heard a lot about the accusations against RTD, and I am not happy about them. The interview with the few former players are not true in the way they describe the academy. I never recognize their description during my development and time at the academy.

RTD is all about giving you the tools you need in life. To wake and go to sleep at the right time, to be ready to train and study and all the things that makes it easier for us wherever we will find ourselves. That is such a great thing to have.
The character sessions, which has done so much for me, doing my duties, eating proper meals every day and several times a day, and the good facilities to live and train in. But most importantly giving everybody a better education, so you can add that to your potential career in football or after football.

RTD is the best place to be as a kid. For me RTD is the best place for any kid. What I have heard said about RTD in the media is simply not true.
RTD has done a lot for me both on and off the field, and I am so grateful for that. For me RTD is a big family and will remain that way forever. They have done so much for so many, and they are still doing a lot, so people should stop saying those things about them. I will be forever grateful.

What the few guys are saying about the academy is never true. And it’s not what the academy is about.
I give RTD my consent to use this.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM MOHAMMED ZAKYI (RTD ACADEMY 2009 – 2015)
I come from Tamale in the Northern part of Ghana. I joined the at the age 9, the same year that I lost my mom. My dad wanted me to go to school so when right to dream gave me both football and education, my dad was happy for me to stay at the academy. My dad is not a highly educated man but he has always known the importance of education. Going to Right to Dream Academy took a lot of burden off my dad because he didn’t have to pay anything for me and he didn’t need to worry about my health and safety.

There was an incident at the academy where we were asked to put some food in a big bowl to give away to the people in the village near the academy but we made it very messy so we were asked to eat out of the big bowl as a lesson of respect of human dignity, that if we were going to give this messy food to the village people we should be able to eat from the big bowl as well. I don’t see this as any abuse because the food was in a big bowl not a bin and I learned an important life lesson from the situation. In my point of view, Right to Dream Academy is like a family and throughout my six years at the academy no staff member ever laid hands on me and I haven’t seen any other student being mistreated in any way. They put structures in place that young people don’t see the importance but for me a good example is the badge system which is a wonderful way to get young talented boys and girls like me to reach their full potential.

Personally when I was at the academy I wanted to go the US but Mr. Tom Vernon told to me to work for all the options. I got to develop my football talent with great facilities and European tours, become a better student and pass my exams. I was also one of the first students to be part of the robotics team and I feel very proud that now Robotics at the academy is doing very well and competing at the world stage. Everyone at the academy was treated equally, we wore the same clothes and got the same football and education development. When the right time came I chose to go to high school in America and the brand of Right to Dream gave me a lot of support when I went to high school because of how well other Right to Dream graduates have done so now I’m a student-athlete at the University of Michigan. Right to dream is fighting poverty, inequality, providing quality education and even creating jobs in the community. That’s why every child wants to come to the academy and my dad wants my brother to come as well because of what Right to Dream has done for me and Ghana.

I give my hundred percent consent to use my statement, my thoughts and experience of my time at Right to Dream Academy to whoever that is relevant to hear about this because Right to Dream Academy is the hope of Ghana and I want every child in Ghana to get the opportunity.

December 2nd 2018

STATEMENT FROM BUKARI NICOLAS ANYAGRI (FATHER OF RTD STUDENT SAVIOUR ADELWIN ANYAGRI)

My name is Bukari Nicolas Anyagri and Saviour Adelwin Anyagri is my son. When he started schooling with Right to Dream Academy, I was very grateful. He stayed there for almost four years. Currently he is not in the country, but where he is now, I am very very happy, because he is in school. I have no problem with the academy. I am happy where my son has gotten up to so may the Almighty father bless Right to Dream Academy always and always.
I give RTD my consent to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM JAMES C. NORTEY (RTD ACADEMY 2002-2007)
I grew up in the borough of Bokum in Accra, Ghana. I joined the RTD academy at the age of 10. When I was 12 years old, there was a day, where one of the coaches slapped me in the head after a training session. The day after the same coach was dismissed by Tom Vernon, and we never saw him again.

I would like to state, that Right to Dream changed my life, as it has done for hundreds of other kids from rough environments in Ghana and West Africa. Many of us came from backgrounds, where food every day was not to be taken granted and physical abuse or punishment a regular thing. At the academy we experienced to be respected and taken care of and this was an integral part of us learning, that there was another way. A better way. For ourselves, our families, our communities and our country. The day I saw the coach get dismissed, because he laid his hand on me, that was the day, I knew, that Right to Dream was for me. That there was another way.

Later RTD gave me the opportunity to go to the US and study a world class education at world class facilities. First at Hotchkiss School and later at Marquette University, where I took my degree in Social Welfare & Justice. Today, I can support myself, and the ones closest to me. This I owe to RTD. The education I received there, and the tools they gave me to develop my character and individual growth. For this I will always be grateful. As the hundreds of other kids, who were fortunate to be part of RTD.

I left the academy in 2007, but I still consider myself as part of the Right to Dream family.

I give Right to Dream my consent to use this statement to whoever that is relevant to hear about this.

November 30th 2018

STATEMENT FROM MARY NYARKO LEON (MOTHER OF RTD STUDENT MICHAEL LEON)

My son has been to the academy for 4 years, and what the academy is doing for my son is very fine. I don’t know how to thank them, because since my son started the school, he hasn’t complain to me about anything. Every time my son return to me he just tells good things about the school, and now my son is in the US playing football and education as well.

I was very very grateful to the school because what the school done to me is a lot, and I don’t know how to thank the school.
I give RTD my consent to use this statement.

December 10th 2018

STATEMENT FROM IBRAHIM SADIQ (RTD ACADEMY 2010-2018)

When I was at the academy, we all faced obstacles, but where I am from not many gets a chance to develop their talent. RTD gave me the opportunity to reach out for my dreams, and RTD support the kids at the academy and all the unborn talent in Africa. An African coming to RTD will leave with the potential to give something back to the community he or she comes from. The potential to bring change.
Our culture is different and can’t be compared to the European culture. And it doesn’t make sense to do it. People should be aware of this. Some of the accusations around the staff are just lies. In all my time at the academy I didn’t face any of the things described. Some of the people saying the bad things about the academy, I was with them through many of the years. And I never saw any of them facing the things, they say about their time at RTD. Never ever.
Now I am living my dream as a footballer because of the years I spent at RTD.
I give my consent for RTD to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM NANA OBOHEMA NIMAKO (FATHER OF RTD STUDENT ISAAC ABROKWA NIMAKO)

I want to talk about Right to Dream to the whole world or anybody who knows where this school is or where there are some various places which we have Right to Dream. I am a retired assistant commissioner of Police and also a traditional ruler in Ghana, in other words, a chief in my area.

Right to Dream is a father of needy people the way I saw it. Why am I saying this? My son Isaac Abrokwa Nimako, who is my last born, have a talent of football and this boy was very good before by the grace of God as I’m sitting down where could I help this my boy? But Right to Dream came round looking for talented people who are poor which don’t have people to help. There are some children you see them plugging mangoes and using it as ball but Right to Dream was able to detect all these boys who are talented just to help them and my son Isaac Aboko Nimako was picked and in fact, my family have been visiting the school. We went there and we were shocked to see children, talented people, that this school is lifting them up.

Right to Dream I compare it to be the Good Samaritan. Right to dream is rescuing children, who were supposed to destroy their lives, but right to Dream is gaining all they need by helping them. When we visited the school, we saw a lot of children and at times since then my family decided that we shall be at the school every month because when we go to the school, we see a great things that the school is doing taking good care of these. Their food and the way all these children are behaving in the school our heart we love the school so much at times we have to send food and they share, my child would share with some of them.

Right to dream have come to stay in Ghana and we know where is my son Isaac Abroko Nimako. If my son is now in California in a school sponsored by Right to Dream, what should I say to Right to Dream? What I have to say is may God bless this school to expand the school to the whole world. I’m one of the big beneficiary, and I’m saying in front of them I’m standing on behalf of all the people in Ghana who have gained admission to various countries to say we thank Right to Dream to say “Ayeko”.

Right to Dream I’m praying will never die. If one would think the spiritual aspect of Right to Dream, how the creator of the world selected some group of people and they thought of forming the school. Is somebody thinking about this? The one who created this universe help some group with a little substance to share what they have among needy people what do we want Right to Dream to do again? Good Samaritan that is Right to Dream and I am telling the whole world, everybody, about the love I have for the school, at times I have to host some of the students in my house during vacation, the foreigners, so that they would feel at home. My family also thought by doing that, we are also helping the school. We don’t have much, we don’t have any but what we do when we also host them then the school would feel a little relief.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM KEANIN AYER (RTD ACADEMY 2011-2018)
My opinion of RTD is, that RTD save lives. They saved my life. I didn’t have a good education, but now I do, because RTD taught me. And I’m a professional player now, because of RTD and all the football skills they taught me. I had a talent, but it’s nothing without the education and help. RTD truly saved my life, and I will always be thankful and grateful for that. They mean the world to me.

What I’ve seen the few guys say about the RTD and the life there is never true. Look at how many people have been through RTD, who now have good lives, because of their time at RTD. Some of the best football players Ghana has seen. It’s not true, what these guys are saying. It’s really not true. RTD is a caring foundation.
I give RTD my consent to use my statement for anything, they should see fit.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM SAMUEL MENSIRO (RTD ACADEMY 1999-2007)
I’ve seen the discussion on what some of the former students has been saying, and for me it is unfortunate, that people forget where they come from and who helped them to be, where they are right now.

I have a huge opinion on RTD, because RTD has done a lot, and is still doing so much, for the most underprivileged kids in West Africa. Including myself. If it was not because of RTD, I would not be, where I am right now. And I will never forget, or be ungrateful, for what RTD has done for me and my family. And I know, RTD will continue to do good and help kids achieve their goals and make their families proud and the academy proud. I want to thank everyone at RTD, who helped developing me and my friends. Good luck in the future and keep developing young African talent.
I give RTD my consent to use this statement

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM ENOCH ADU (RTD ACADEMY 2008-2016)
I don’t agree with what has been said about RTD by a few former students. I’ve never experienced anything like that at the academy. It is false statements being spread about life at the academy. RTD is a great organisation, that helps kids achieve their aims and has given a lot to African kids through football and education and changing the lives of African kids.
I got my education through RTD. I became a professional footballer through RTD. Without RTD I wouldn’t be, where I am today.
I give my consent to RTD to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM FOFANA TIEMOKO (RTD ACADEMY 2011-2017)
I’m a graduate from RTD from Ivory Coast. I’ve seen the interview with one of the other former graduates, who is trying to speak bad about RTD. With all the respect I had for him, and that I still have for him, I was not expecting him to speak in such a way about the academy, because he mentions physical punishment at RTD. And to be honest, it does not happen.

He even asks, what if the academy was in Ivory Coast or Nigeria? And if so, the academy wouldn’t have been there at all. As an Ivorian, I take that as insult. The way this person has been ungrateful in your interview, I promise him, that if the RTD academy was in Ivory Coast, none of us would have talked bad about it like this, because we would have been forever grateful for all RTD has done for us. The training, the food, all the things they have provided us with.

I seriously cannot put into words, what RTD has done for me, and what it means to me. The love, the kindness, the humility, and the peace that they showed me. Not just me, but also to all my brothers and sisters at the academy. And the love they continue to show me, even if I am now far away from them, is huge. I can talk forever about all the good things, RTD has done for me. But the short version is, that I am forever grateful, and god bless this family.
I give RTD my full permission to use this statement against anyone talking bad about them or trying to bring the academy down.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM EMMANUEL ISAAKA (RTD ACADEMY 2012-2017)
I think the things I hear being said about RTD is ungrateful and from people who don’t appreciate what has been done for them. RTD is a family, which has helped me a lot. Especially with my educational skills, and the way they helped me become a better person.
I am giving my permission to RTD to use my statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM MUSA MUMUNI (FATHER OF RTD STUDENT JALIA MUMUNI)
Since my child Jalia has gone to Right to Dream school for 4 years now, I have been visiting her there, and not any mistakes. The teachers have been teaching them very well in the school, she has never brought any bad report, always good report, and all the teachers and the children there are very happy.

I am also very happy about how they are treating her, so I feel very happy with how Right to Dream is handling my child. They handle her very fine and now where she is in the USA, I’m feeling happy. I wish such a thing happening in Ghana with her it should also happen there in America, so I’m very happy with Right to Dream of how they are handling my child.

There is no mistake, she is always giving me good reports, and I went there myself to see how they move in the school so I see things happen. I trust Right to Dream and I like their way of moving with these Ghanaian children. We are very very happy about it.
I give RTD my consent to use this statement.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM ISAAC ADDO (RTD ACADEMY 2009-2018)
A few former students has said a lot, but as a former graduate from RTD, I totally disagree with what they say, and I am very disappointed with the accusations. My opinion on, what RTD has done for me is, that they have made me into what I am today. They made me into a professional player, and they helped me become a coach. I honestly love RTD, and I will always be part of the family. RTD help people and care for people. Not just in Ghana but in all of West Africa, and I am very proud to be involved with RTD.
I give RTD my consent to use this statement.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM RAZAK NUHU (RTD ACADEMY 2003-2011)
I do not agree with the things stated in the interview made with a few former students. None of what they say about RTD is true, because I have never experienced such things in the academy. RTD is a great organisation, a great academy in Africa, which help young kids achieve their aims and their goals. Without RTD I wouldn’t be, where I am
I give my consent to RTD to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM SARDICK ADJEI GRANT (RTD ACADEMY 2007-2014)
It’s just sad to see people describing RTD like it has been done in some media lately. I’ve been part of the academy for the most of my life, and I have nothing but positive experiences from RTD. I’ve never been hit, slapped, mistreated, or any of the other things mentioned in the accusations.
To me RTD is a family and an organisation, who has helped a lot of people including myself. They gave me the opportunity to go study abroad and gain a degree, that only very few people in Ghana has. I will always be part of RTD no matter what, and I am very proud to say, that I grew up at the RTD academy, and that it will always be family to me. What RTD has done for me, helping kids who don’t have anything, they are still doing for others, and for this they have my total support.
I give RTD my permission to use this statement.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM MICHAEL KINGSTON (FATHER OF RTD STUDENT PERRY KINGSTON)

My son Perry attended Right to Dream Academy for over 4 years, and I have been to the Right to Dream Academy on several occasions. There was no form of maltreatment as people reported in the academy. As I’m talking to you now my son is in the USA playing his education and career. I have confidence in them. No matter what I have confidence with Right to Dream Academy.

My son Perry is comfortable over there, and there is no form of mistreatment as people perceived so right now. I really thank Right to Dream academy. No wonder their motto is ”nurturing talent in Africa”. They have really done well. I really thank Right to Dream Academy. I thank you.
I give RTD the permission to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM ENOCK KWAKWA (RTD ACADEMY 2006-2012)

I do not agree with what the few former graduates have said. They may have their reasons to why they said those things. RTD is an organisation that helps little kids, someone like me. RTD brings a lot of talent from Ghana and all over Africa. That’s what it’s about.
I’m giving my consent for RTD to use this statement.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM EMA TWUMASI (RTD ACADEMY 2008-2012)

RTD has done a lot for me. They’ve made me the man I am today. They gave me an opportunity as a young kid, and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am. So I am thankful for all they have done for me.

I give RTD my consent to use this statement.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM ISAAC GYAN (RTD ACADEMY 2004-)

I do not agree with what is being said about the academy. These things never happened. RTD is there to help young kids to achieve their dream through education and football, and they have done a lot for me. They helped me to achieve my goals and dreams.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM ADALAIDE ARMAH (RTD ACADEMY 2013-2015)
I grew up in a hospital in Accra because my father was working there. So when he passed away we were given a few years to move out. We moved into a new house when I was 13 years old and it was the same year, I joined the Right to Dream academy.
I remember a time when I went back home during the academy break, and I was attacked in my community. When I returned to the academy and to staff member Harry, he reacted very well and gave me the support I needed, and also set up a host family for me, so that I didn’t need to go back to my dangerous community. This incident, and the fact that no staff member ever laid hands on me or any other student, made me really trust and believe that the academy truly cares for their students. How RTD educated the students is one thing that really helped me. When I misbehaved, I was asked to sweep the classroom or clean the dining table. This is normal in Ghana, and I don’t see this as abuse. I definitely think, that all the students were supported at RTD academy. Even students who come from very bad family situations.

When I joined the academy, I didn’t know much about the world and the staff at RTD sharing their experiences, together with attending the character program, was really helpful in building my social intelligence and confidence. This made me believe that there is more out there, and I can become anything I want to become. Now I’m at a great school in the US and there is a very high chance that I will get into my first-choice college from here.

I think that Ghanaians should actually really appreciate what RTD is doing. My mom once told me, that she is very grateful that RTD came at the right time, because that was when my dad had passed away and RTD took the burden off my single mom and she was able to support my other siblings. This is what RTD means to me, my family and Ghana, and that’s why RTD should be rewarded for changing lives in Ghana and the government should support.

I give RTD my absolute consent to use this statement and information to whoever they find relevant.

2nd of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM DAVID ACCAM (RTD ACADEMY 2003-2008)
From my personal experience at RTD, I haven’t seen anything odd or unusual at the RTD academy.
I think RTD is the best academy in Ghana. I’m not going to say RTD is perfect, because no organisation in the world is perfect. But RTD has done a lot for young and underprivileged kids to have opportunities and chances to dream towards anything they would like to be.
That’s what they gave me. They didn’t breastfeed me to get where I am, they gave me chances to make a decision for myself to get a comfortable life, and I’ll always be grateful for what they did for me. They gave me the chance, and I worked so hard to get to where I am now. So I’m always grateful for what they’ve done for me.
RTD is looking at the grassroots of football in Ghana, and I’ve always preferred people who are looking after the grassroots instead of the finished product. My opinion is, that RTD is doing something great for young kids in Ghana.
I give my consent for RTD to use this statement.
11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM BERNARD ABAGALI (RTD ACADEMY 2001-2008)
I am happy and grateful for what RTD has done for me and I’m glad to be part of the RTD alumne. RTD has done more for me than I can even count, and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me and for the people and communities of Ghana. I will always give my support to RTD, and I will always look after the younger generations.
I give RTD the consent to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM GODSWAY DONYOH (RTD ACADEMY 2007-2013)
To me Right To Dream is a family. I consider them as I consider my mom and dad. RTD has done more for me, than my parents would ever be able to do. They played a big role not only in my life, but in the life of every graduate, who were fortunate enough to get into the academy. Without RTD none of us would be, where we are today whether it is in the US studying or in Europe playing professional football.

RTD wants to help young kids achieve their dreams and lead them on the right path. My time at the academy was tough in the beginning, because we were different boys from different places brought together, but I remember the staff and the coaches helped us, and we came together as a family and learned important things together. How we could live our lives and got the best education available in all of Ghana. The opportunities offered through RTD are unbelievable. To get to the US studying on scholarships or sign contracts with Manchester City or FCN. And the guys who didn’t succeed in any of the two are offered opportunities elsewhere by RTD. Some are employed within the organisation today, and that makes me proud and happy.

When I was offered the Manchester City contract through RTD, it was the best day of my life. RTD provided me with everything I needed, and I was so happy at the time. It was a dream come true, and my family was happy for me.
When I left RTD and went on loan from Manchester City it was hard, because I was without my RTD friends and staff to guide me. Being loaned out in Sweden and injured wasn’t the best life, when you are so young. I spoke to Tom Vernon, and he invited me home to his house, when I was on vacation back home, and he told me the truth about my career. That he wasn’t happy with the situation I was in, and that he wanted me to improve and get on the right track again. He wanted me to come to FCN, so they could help me one more time. I didn’t think twice about it. The fact that he was still there for me, and still could create an opportunity for me. He didn’t force me, he gave me the option. FCN was the best place for me and I got reunited with RTD people and to experience the Danish culture before getting to the next level. Since then I have experienced the best time of my career. The staff at FCN never gave up on me. They helped me to have a great season in 2016/2017.

I was called up by the black stars after that season, because I played so well. There I met this guy, who is part of a network of agents, club-owners and others trying to bring RTD down. He called me when I was in Sweden a few years before, because he wanted me to use an certain agent. At the time I didn’t have an agent. So I talked to them. But it was only about money for them. Always about money. And when I didn’t play in FCN, in the beginning after moving to Denmark, they stopped contacting me. So I stopped contacting them. In FCN I improved and started to score goals. When I went to the national team, I the same guy again. He told me, that no one in RTD had anything to do with me being in national team. I agreed, since it was because of my own performances. But he meant it was because of him.
At the time FCN and I was negotiating to sign a new contract. The guy told me, that I shouldn’t renew with FCN, because he would take me to a bigger league and bigger money, with the agent he works with. When I came back, I renewed my contract with FCN anyway.
I was called up to the national team again the next time Black Stars had a match, but I was injured. The guy then called me and told me he was angry with me. Because I signed a new contract with FCN/RTD, and because some of the younger RTD-players – which he was also working on getting out of RTD – had told him, I had encouraged them to go to FCN and start their career there.
The guy told me, that I should know, he could make sure, my career and future could be ruined if I did not leave RTD/FCN and stopped talking positive about them.
And so it was, but I do not regret a single thing in this.

These guys in the network trying to destroy RTD are influencing all the young players with skills at RTD. I decided not to kneel for them. And I actively fight them now by informing the younger players. RTD is the best place for any young Ghanaian. That is my core believe.

I give Right to Dream my consent to use this statement to whoever that is relevant to hear about this.

Copenhagen December 3rd 2018

STATEMENT FROM KUSI GODWIN DANQUAH (RTD ACADEMY 2008-2018)
I don’t recognize the description giving by the few former students of RTD. RTD gives a better future to kids across Africa. It is a fantastic place for kids like me who has the ambition to achieve a high level of education, football, and character and also be a role model for their communities and Africa as a whole. RTD gives an opportunity for every student to become a better person and also the chance to change other people’s lives.
RTD has given me a good platform to showcase my talent and the dream I have always had. The academy has provided me with a lot of opportunities my family could not provide for. Everything from getting a good meal every day to playing some of the best academies and teams on the pitch. And RTD embraces all cultural differences and also show humility to every kid at the academy. They wish everyone well and teaches every student how to become a better and stronger character in our communities and in our daily lives. I am grateful for this.
I give RTD my consent to use this statement.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM KING BAIDOO (RTD ACADEMY 2011-2017)
Every parent in this world want the best for their children and always make sure, they are on the right path. That is what every single member of staff at RTD does.
Personally, I don’t recognize any of the things described in the accusations brought against RTD. During my time at the academy, I didn’t see anyone kneel under the sun, never saw anyone rolling down a hill in the dark while being chased by others, and that is my honest opinion.
RTD is an institution, that gives young talent in Africa an opportunity to nurture that talent and offers quality education as well, and that does not happen often in this world. Without RTD a lot of talent in Africa would be wasted because of the lack of opportunities. Every single person in Africa can testify to this.
RTD has done a lot for me personally because they gave me the platform to improve myself as a footballer and also to combine it with my education, and that is why I am now studying at a college in the UK. I never had to pay for books, food or the travels. RTD took care of all of that. They took care of me, they were my family, and I will be forever grateful for that. Every person in the staff at RTD work extremely hard every day to help us improving. One of them always told me the truth, when I wasn’t being at my best or when I messed up, and that was the headmaster Harry. This man is important to me and I see him as a dad because I feel secure whenever I am around him, and I trust him. He works so hard to make sure every single student is safe, and instead of taking vacation, he is constantly looking for ways to help us, develop us, and make sure we grow up to be responsible adults. Any honest student will tell you this, and I respect him a lot for that.
I give my consent for RTD to use this statement.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM KELVIN OWUSU (RTD ACADEMY 2014-2018)
My honest opinion is, that the name of RTD explains itself. You have the right to make your dream come true. They are trying to help young African talent to be able to make their dreams come true. They have done a lot for me personally. When I look at myself, my football career, my life they helped me a lot. I am grateful and appreciative of RTD and everything they have put into me. They deserve only the best.
I give RTD my consent to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM THEOPHILUS QUARTEY (RTD ACADEMY 2008-2014)
Through RTD I had the opportunity to attend high school in the U.S for four years, and I am now currently in my second year at one of the best universities here.
My life before RTD was different. Growing up in Accra, my day started for me at six, my mom would wake me up, I would do house chores including fetching water. This would mean that I would walk a mile or two to fill up a container and walk back carrying it on my head. Each morning, I did this twice. Sometimes I would also do the dishes by hand using sponge and soap. Then I would take a shower by getting a bucket of water, I would sponge myself clean and then fill a cup with the water from the bucket to rinse off. My mom was always up at 5:30 to get ready for her day and to make breakfast, a hot porridge made out of corn with bread. She mainly used corn because this was a part of our income. She sold Kenkey. Kenkey is, made out of fermented corn with dough added to it and rolled into a ball-ate with hot sauce and fish. My mom would make this and sell it on the street.

After breakfast I would walk three minutes to school. I did not like it, mainly because I didn’t see the importance of education. The first thing they do in school is take attendance in a class of fifty students. After the attendance is taken, the school day is over for me. There was a soccer field right next to the school. I would make an excuse to leave the classroom, I was gone. I wouldn’t need to show up until the next day. I faked going to school because education was very important to my mom, this was an easy way to trick her.

Most of my friends didn’t have to go to school because their parents wouldn’t force them to, so they would be waiting for me with a soccer ball. We’d spend the morning playing. School would be dismissed at 12:30. I could then go back home to change out of my school uniform. Once I was done with chores, I would go back with my friends and either play more soccer or fish. We’d sometimes go around plucking mangos in the neighbourhood, and the angry owners of the trees would chase us.

3:30 is when club soccer starts. We’d practice until six. Then I would go back home and my mom had leftover kenkey for me from what she didn’t sell on the street. After that, I would go back and hangout with my friends playing foosball. People watching would place a bet on who they think would win. It is best out of 5 games. Sometimes it would end well, and I would win money. Sometimes it didn’t and people who bet on me would end up fighting with me. Either way, I’d be back home to bed at ten.

My school realized what I was doing because I never turn in any assignments and my grades were really bad. The school spoke to my mom. She was going to make me quit soccer, so I told her I would do a little better, but I would still cut corners to play soccer when I could.
I was pretty good at soccer, and I began to progress through the ranks to a regional team. Then Right to Dream came into the picture. RTD hosted a soccer trial for about 200 kids, out of that 200, 30 of us were selected and we all took the entrance exam, which consisted of math and English grammar questions. I did not do very well on the exam. The founder of the academy (Tom Vernon) believed in my potential, so he still accepted me even though I scored low on the exam.

It was at RTD that I started to appreciate and understand the importance of education and how I can use education as tool to help create more ambassadors for the continent of Africa in general. I was able to realize this because of the relationships I established during my time at the academy especially with Tom and the headmaster Harry. I was constantly encouraged and remembered to work harder and focus on school and football. I was also put in leadership positions at the academy. To be completely honest Harry and Tom were the first strong male role models in my life because I grow up with a single mom and my father was never in my life because he passed away when I was really young, so having harry and Tom as father figures was very important for me. My gut immediately told me to trust them.

My time at RTD really help changed my view on education. Right to Dream had something called the Effort League- a measure of your daily schoolwork. If you worked hard, you make the ranked board. You were ranked against everyone in the school – not for soccer but for effort in school. My name started appearing on the effort board next to seniors. This drove me to work extremely hard in school. I started to get extra help from my teachers when I needed to. I stay after school to do extra math problems. I started waking up early to study. The result was that I started to achieve the first good grades of my life. My focus was still on soccer because I always want to play, but I noticed that more of my energy was channelled towards education. At the end, I was given the opportunity to continue with my education in the U.S.
This is only a small part of my long journey. It’s the part when I realize the importance of education. Right to Dream continually emphasized on “giving back.” I realized that education was the path to give back. I know the power of a good education. I know the weakness of a poor one. I am going to capitalize on the opportunities that have been given to me by RTD to ensure that the future of my community, my country (Ghana), and Africa is in a better place for future generations to come.

I give RTD my consent to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM CLINTON BANNERMAN (RTD ACADEMY 2011-2016)
It’s so disappointing to hear these accusations from a few former graduates of RTD, and how they describe RTD to be like. My time at the academy was not always an easy ride. I had ups and downs, but that is how life is. RTD is a place where you get to learn what is right and what is wrong. So hearing these things from a few guys, who were at the academy together with me is disappointing. It’s false. I have never witnessed such things at the academy. What they say about the punishment, no, I never witnessed that. I never witnessed that at the academy.

Sometimes people ask me, what my opinion of the RTD academy is. I can confidently tell them, that RTD is a place, where you find your dreams. Where your dreams are being pushed to become reality. I will bet you that if RTD, as an institution, was built in every country in Africa our continent would be much better. Because RTD does not only put dreams into the students and footballers but also develop them to become great leaders, and that is what we lack in Africa. People have gone on from RTD to do great things and I will allow myself to be an example of this.

I grew up in a very tight area in Accra. In a place where it is is very rare for someone to stand up and say, “I have been to school in the UK”. But RTD gave me that. They provided that for me for free, and I will always be grateful for what they did. RTD is the right people to stand by, because of what they did for me and what they are doing for the younger kids. Our country and our nation need these children, and that is what RTD is preparing them for. So the negative things anyone is saying about RTD is not true. Because people have witnessed what RTD does here, and have praised RTD, for what they have already done. I am proud to say, that I am a member of the RTD family.
I consent for RTD to use this statement.

10th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM FIRAS KORA (RTD ACADEMY 2011-2015)
I am writing this to let you all know of my journey, from the moment I decided to attend the Right to Dream academy, to now, a few months until I write new pages of my journey at the University of Pennsylvania.

11 years old, with big dreams and aspirations, I decided to leave Benin, my home country, to attend the Right to Dream academy in Ghana. And let me tell you, the excitement of being a step closer to achieving my life goals, made me oblivious to the fact that French was not spoken at the academy. When I was first hit with that “Hello, how are you?” reality suddenly caught up with me. I immediately realized that English was spoken here, and I can say learning to speak the language is one thing I’ll forever be grateful for. Thank you Right to Dream for getting me that English tutor for my first few months at the academy. From learning how to do the little things, including doing my laundry, cleaning up after myself, while playing the sport I love and getting educated was the best combination any parent would want their kids to acclimate themselves to. Thank you Right to Dream for proving to my once concerned Mom that combining sports, education and character was possible.

After my four years at the academy, I was awarded a scholarship to attend the Hotchkiss school in Connecticut, one of the most elite boarding schools in the country. While the wonderful faculty and staff at the Hotchkiss school have helped me adjust to the school and culture, I can confidently say that Right to Dream played a massive part in preparing me for the outside world. As I am about to embark on a new journey at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the best universities in the world, I am realizing that none of all this would have been possible without Right to Dream. Thank you for that again. This is my story but trust me when I say that Right to Dream has done the same for dozens of other kids with dreams and ambitions.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FROM MOHAMMED TALL (RTD ACADEMY 2012-2015)
When I was 11, I was recruited and was offered a scholarship by RTD. Saying that this opportunity completely changed my life is an understatement. At Right to Dream I did the thing that I loved the most, playing soccer, having access to world class facilities and playing against the best young footballers from Africa. Sometimes I stopped, and I felt like all this was too good to be real as if I was in a dream. I also had access to outstanding academics and teachers, amazing food and most importantly I was happy because at that moment I realized I could be, and do, anything I wanted in life and I mean anything. I had all this without paying a penny. Right to Dream never asked me for anything, all they wanted was for me to work hard. From there I got the opportunity to come to the US and now will be going to a great university. RTD created an environment that allowed me to prosper and be the best I could be, and I will be forever grateful. The crazy thing is, I’m not the only one. There are hundreds of us. RTD changed my life.

11th of December 2018

STATEMENT FRA JOSEPH ADU (INSPEKTØR HOS DE SOCIALE MYNDIGHEDER I GHANA)
Min vurdering er, og jeg er ikke det mindste i tvivl, at der ikke foregår nogen form for mishandling af børn der (RTD), for jeg er kommet der hver eneste gang med det ene mål at undersøge grundigt, hvordan tingenes tilstand virkelig er. Jeg har haft mulighed for gå gennem alle former for registrerede arbejdsmetoder og akademiets egne dokumenter, jeg har haft mulighed for at observere samtlige mennesker på akademiet, gennemgå samtlige faciliteter og områder. Gennemført personlige interviews med børn i alle aldre og snakket med deres forældre. Alt. Ganske enkelt. Og derfor kan jeg konkludere, at der ikke finder nogen form for overtrædelser af børns rettigheder på RTD akademiet. Ingen mishandling. Ingen diskrimination. Jeg mener ikke, der er det mindste der opfordrer til videre undersøgelser.
Jeg giver min tilladelse til, at RTD kan bruge dette statement.

28th of November 2018

OTI-AKATENG (TEKNISK DIREKTØR HOS GHANAS FODBOLDFORBUND)
Jeg fordømmer hvert et ord som disse unge mænd siger, og jeg vil bede dem om at stoppe med at sprede løgne. Jeg kender de her fyre, jeg har delt mange oplevelser med dem, jeg har sågar tilbragt en hel uge med dem på RTD akademiet engang, jeg besøgte dem. Jeg kender de her unge mænd, og jeg kender deres karakter. Nu er de begyndt at fordreje tingene og skulle deres karakter virkelig have ændret sig, så vil jeg ikke tøve med at mene, at det er fordi agenter har haft indflydelse på dem.
Jeg giver RTD min tilladelse til at benytte dette statement.

28th of November 2018