Achee began as a vision, a means to further human peace and evolution. In 1992, Achee acquired a 30-acre site in the village of Doissa in the Republic of Benin via the help of Atchade Assongba for the creation of Achee Light Center. Achee applied for New York State nonprofit status in 1996 and was awarded this accreditation in 1997. Federal 501 (c) (3) status was granted in May 1998. In that one-year interim, Achee was under the umbrella of New York CitiWorks, a community based organization (CBO).
In 1997, Achee co-Founder/Chair Audre-y Arbe traveled to Benin to gain full legal title to the Achee land. In addition, she traveled to Ghana, where she was invited to begin an Achee center also. Ms. Arbe chose to keep Benin as the site for this first Achee center.
At an NGO meeting at the United Nations in 1999, the Achee Chair became acquainted with Ms. Julia Acquaah, Vice President of the Mothers Social Club, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Ghana that works with women and children. This led to an affiliation between the two organizations, finalized when Ms. Arbe went to both Benin and Ghana in 2000. In Benin, the purpose was to create an NGO, which was achieved on March 24, 2000 with the creation of Achee-Benin ONG.
In Ghana, Achee and the Mothers Social Club signed an affiliation agreement, and thanks to Ms. Joana Adjei, president of the Mothers Social Club, Ms. Acquaah, and Mr. Louis Donkor, the public relations manager of the Mothers Social Club, the Achee Chair was instooled (correct spelling) as Queen Mother of Progress for Young Women and Girls (Nana Aboagye-Antwi I, "Nkosuohemaah"-- Queen of Development) at Akim Anyinase, where Mr. Donkor was instooled as new chief. Akim Anyinase became Achee's adopted village in Ghana. Achee and the Achee Chair are now part of the Akim Anyinase community, responsible for supporting appropriate development in our village, which includes building a School for Women, an Herbal Clinic, and bringing forth appropriate conveniences such as electricity and drainage.
The First Achee Honors Gala Benefit was held in December 1999. It honored Harlem School of the Arts (HSA), and benefited HSA as well as Achee. We had delicious vegetarian African and American cuisine, artists, photographers, poets, dancers, musicians, spiritualists, ceremony and Special Speakers, including Mr. Samuel Amehou, the Charge D-Affairs from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations; Mr. Benoit Sognonvi, the President of the Benin Association of NY, NJ, and CT (Alliances Beninois de NY, NJ et CT); and Ms. Kim Greer, Director of Dance for Harlem School of the Arts. Ms. Greer accepted the Achee Honors Plaque, and an Honorarium was mailed to HSA in January 2000.
Achee has created collaborations with people and organizations that are aligned with and supportive of our mission, whose mission we also support. These include our affiliation with the Mothers Social Club in Ghana, our participation with A Culture for Peace, We the People, the Foundation for Ethics and Meaning. We have been active in the Harlem Renaissance 5-Mile Classic, a race that created scholarships for the youth of Harlem, Artists for Peace and Nonviolence, sponsored by the Guinea Development Foundation and New Artists Millennium, which took place at the UN Church and the Guinea Embassy; the New York Jazz Coalition's Tribute to Betty Carter; the All Nations Gathering, as well as our friendship with the Benin Association of NY, NJ and CT. We have collaborated with New Futures Foundation, through which the Achee Chair attended the first United Nations Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms, where many linkages with African NGO's was made possible.
In New York, Achee Activities started with our Manifesting Miracles Funshop, and our Wonderful Woods Walks in the native forest of uptown Manhattan. We have been teaching and creating peace and multicultural harmony via monthly Manifesting Visions Dinners for three years, with amazing speakers of all backgrounds and cultures, including Juliet Gumps, fund raiser, "Women, Money and Power"; Pamela Kraft, executive director, Tribal Link Foundation, "How to Be Effective in the World and Incorporate The Vital Message of Indigenous Peoples"; Dr. Delois Blakely, president, New Future Foundation, "Cultures of Peace in the World," and Ryphon G. Gray, founder/president, Forces in Nature, LLC, "21st Century Energy Living -- Free of the Toxic Grid." Our dinners have been held at African, Asian, Italian and other restaurants. Everyone gets to speak and share his or her vision and talent. Delicious vegetarian cuisine is served. The Special Speaker enlightens, and extraordinary community via open communication ensues. People leave satisfied and well fed mentally, gastronomically, emotionally and spiritually.
Our web site, http://www.achee.org aptly describes our ventures. It is ever-expanding. We will be initiating the Achee Lending Library (the ALL) of books, tapes, disks, and starting a newsletter, "POP-Up!" ("Pockets of Peace-Up"). We collaborate with cultural, peace, musical, healing, transformative, spiritual, Light, artistic, AIDS, environmental organizations, centers, and individuals around the world. We propose an organic vegetarian lifestyle as a choice for personal and planetary health and well-being. We espouse environmentally compatible products and services as a means of ecological sustainability. Achee promotes population awareness and wisdom in fertility. We stand for and take actions supporting womenís and menís empowerment and enlightenment as well as childrenís rights. We promote beauty and nature as an experience and expression of Spirit. Achee provides an awareness and reality of peace and transformation on a local and global scale.
2002: Achee Light Center
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