Born 21 years ago, Marcus Love Anafu, a native of Tongo in the Upper West Region of Ghana, has moved from having a torrid childhood to impacting the lives of the vulnerable in society.
This venture, known as philanthropy, was hitherto reserved for only the educated and affluent, but Marcus, breaking that chain, started Love Foundation Club at just 17 years.
According to Marcus, “my father, then a mason, had to rely on menial jobs to survive after his growing interest in politics caused him to lose most of the contracts he had won”.
“My mother also sold porridge to earn some income because she had five kids to cater for with my father,” he indicated.
Marcus revealed that when he realised how tough things were for his family, he decided to help, as little as he was then, though his parents would not agree.
“For almost four years, I joined my friends on the streets to sell kerosene after school, though sometimes I had to skip school,” he narrated.
He said he became exposed to so many things, including spending the night on the streets for days.
“Most of my friends on the streets abused drugs, but my Christian upbringing deterred me from following their lead,” he stated.
Marcus said he was privileged to be a bright kid in school and was fortunate to have a scholarship from primary five to Junior High School (JHS) Form 1.
He gained admission to the Navrongo Senior High School (NAVASCO) in 2013, where he held the position of the school’s senior prefect despite his diminutive stature.
“My creativity and adventurous nature played a key role in my initial position as class prefect before subsequently being elected as the youngest school prefect of NAVASCO at only 15 years of age,” he stated.
Marcus said in 2015, he completed his SHS education, but unfortunately had a “D7” in Mathematics, which got him frustrated and made him ask himself, ‘What next?’
“Thereupon, thoughts to start a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) came to mind, with flashbacks of my previous experience on the streets haunting me for days,” he noted.
He stated that his mum’s shop folded and he had to pick the only items left on the shelves, which were envelopes that he addressed in his own handwriting, and distributed to raise some funds to start the NGO.
“I received cold reception from all I approached because they thought I was a fraud,” he indicated.
“Nevertheless, I gathered my old clothes and made donations by myself with my parents’ blessing.
“I also shared that on social media, after which people started showing interest,” Marcus said.
He said “Jesus Ekura”, a village in the Eastern Region, benefited from Love Foundation’s first donation, after which everyone got fired up to do more.
Marcus noted that the foundation’s main objective was to address streetism since he had lived on the streets before and knew its repercussions.
He said street children were determined and brave and should be given the chance to live their dreams and reach their full potential.
According to the CEO of Love Foundation, he had embarked on more than 20 projects and touched more than 100,000 lives in almost all the 10 regions in the country.
“In each region, not less than five towns have benefited, not forgetting four streets in Accra, namely Jamestown, Darkuman, Agbogbloshie and Graphic Road,” he added.
He also distributes sanitary pads to street girls yearly on April 12 – the International Day for Street Children – including blankets, nets and food, which other vulnerable children also benefit from.
“Last year, we donated over 5,600 stationeries to about four regions and same will be repeated this year,” he indicated.
Marcus said in 2017, some news agencies, including Ultimate Radio In Lesotho, YEN.com and Pulse in Ghana, came together to give him the Youngest Philanthropist in Africa Award, at the age of 17.
“Also in September 2018, Universal Peace Federation, in consultancy with the UN Headquarters in New York, awarded me the Ambassador for Peace 2018.
“That made me the Face of Guns Down Project in Africa,” he noted.
Love Community Project
Marcus said finally, he had gained admission to the University of Ghana to further his education, with a vision to set up “Love Community” which will house orphans and street children.
“This project has already received a 50-acre land from a chief in the Eastern Region and will have a vocational training centre to train its inhabitants.
“We thank all our donors and continue to call on everybody to support this worthy cause,” he concluded.