Carrie Brown (Founder and Director in Ghana)
Carrie Brown is a photographer and Director of Kekeli Ghana in Ghana, West Africa. Her interest in photography began at Bethlehem Central High School in New York, where she first studied the field. She received her MFA in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design, and her BFA in Photography and painting from Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2002 she traveled to Ghana for a six-month internship that resulted in self- publishing Born on a Monday, a book of photographs documenting daily life in Woe, a fishing and farming village in Ghana. After completing her degree, she returned to Ghana in 2005 to work as a photographer and teach photography in the local schools.
In 2007 she registered Kekeli, Inc. as a non-profit organization in the USA to raise money for arts education in Ghana. Kekeli Foundation is the African component and was registered in Ghana in 2008 to work with marginalized groups in the Volta Region.
Carrie Brown also works as a photographer for the Volta Region House of Chiefs, documenting traditional programs, festivals, funerals, chieftaincy meetings, etc. She currently maintains residency in Ho, Ghana and Glenmont, NY, USA.
BRANDFORD K. TAY (PROJECT MANAGER)
Brandford K. Tay is 55 years old and brings on his plate 29 years of experience as an engineer and a trade union leader. Tay holds Masters and Postgraduate degrees in Organization Development from the University of Cape Coast with extensive experience and expertise in field work, rural and community development. He has been a consultant for over 5 years in his special field as well as in management consulting. He is versatile and great at making insightful contributions during training sessions.
His area of expertise includes change management, capacity building, project/program management, dynamics team building, strategic planning, organizational team effectiveness and culture assessment. Some of his skills are communication, facilitation, ability to coordinate multiple tasks, and the interpersonal skills needed to build relationship with people, interfaces and other stakeholders.
His wide experience with Emotional Intelligence; and the additional skills in using most ICT tools, plus his excellent people’s skills makes him an invaluable team player.
His commitment to working in the field that promotes quality of life for persons with disabilities as a human right activist cannot be over emphasized. He is currently the project manager for Kekeli Foundation, the Vice Chair of New Horizon Foundation of the Blind; both NGOs advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities in Ghana and the Chairman of the Post and Telecom Workers Credit Union.
BETTY GHARBIN (OFFICE ASSISTANT)
A medical injection at the age of five left Madam Betty paralyzed from the waist down. Fortunately, her parents taught her to stand up for her rights and encouraged her to become an active member of society. She refused to let her mobility challenges stop her and could often be found climbing trees with her friends while wearing her leg braces.
Her experiences traveling around Ghana and to Denmark have given her a passion to see people with disabilities take an active part in challenging society’s limitations. In 2002 she joined the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) and in 2006 became the Regional Youth Secretary. In 2007 she was appointed to the position of GSPD Regional Sports Wing Vice Chair. In 2015 she came on staff at Kekeli Foundation, where she assists with interpretation, physiotherapy appointments, self-advocacy group meetings, and secretarial assignments.
In her spare time, Betty enjoys making new friends, helping others, and with the support of the Ho Municipal Assembly, has begun a soap-making project to empower women with disabilities to become self-reliant.
MARY JANE BROWN (PRESIDENT)
Mary Jane Brown (President) taught special education for 26 years at Bethlehem Central High School, Delmar, NY. Now retired, she hopes to spread knowledge about the work of Kekeli in Ghana and expand its fundraising efforts in order to support the work being done there. Her knowledge of children with special needs is helpful in promoting Kekeli’s work with persons with disabilities in Ghana. She has traveled to Ghana twice.
CONNIE FRISBEE HOUDE (SECRETARY)
Connie Frisbee Houde (Secretary) is a photographer from Albany, NY with years of experience photographing people who live in various parts of the world including Afghanistan, Vietnam, Bogata, Peru and West Africa. Her most extensive humanitarian journalism has been in Afghanistan, but she has also visited Ghana twice and photographed the people living there. globalphotographer.wordpress.com
SHARON D. SIEGEL
Sharon D. Siegel (Treasurer) is an artist, illustrator, and art educator. Her work has been published in magazines, books, and on items such as CD covers and Christmas ornaments. She has taught all levels from elementary children to college students and adults and has been a teacher and mentor to Carrie (founder of Kekeli) for many years. She worked as Arts Coordinator at Capital Region BOCES and is currently teaching private art classes in her studio and is an adjunct professor at The College of St. Rose, Albany, NY. http://www.sdsiegelart.biz
Sarah Hafensteiner was one of the original Kekeli board members who helped “dream the dream” of reaching out to people in West Africa. As the first treasurer, she was instrumental in early fundraising and grant writing efforts. She continues to serve on the Kekeli board and support Kekeli’s work.
Kwadwo Sarfoh is a professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University at Albany. He came to Albany from Ghana, West Africa, and his knowledge of the people and culture has been extremely valuable to the Kekeli Board as they develop the program in Ghana. He has been a member of the board from its beginnings.
Todd Lent is Kekeli’s newest board member and is becoming instrumental in developing a website and FaceBook page to help promote the work being done in Ghana. He works as an educator, substituting in two school districts. He has a strong background in music and teaches privately. He and Carrie (founder of Kekeli) graduated the same year from Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, NY.