A Jewish aid worker has been honoured by the Prime Minister for setting up a Ghana-based charity tackling poor education and unemployment.
Anita Lowenstein Dent, 53, was recognised this week by Boris Johnson, receiving the prestigious ‘Points of Light award’.
The Westminster synagogue member founded the charity Teach2Teach International in 2017, with the aim of supporting young Ghanaians in deprived communities to become volunteer teachers.
Supported by UK aid through the Department for International Development’s (DFID) Small Charities Challenge Fund, it hopes to train at least 30 aspiring educators by July 2020.
Points of Light Awards recognises outstanding individual volunteers across the UK.
Speaking to Jewish News, she said “I really don’t see this as an honour for myself. I see it as an honour for the people that I work with.”
“If this could have been an award for an organisation rather than an individual it would sit very much more comfortably on my shoulders. I am of course very proud to accept this on behalf of Teach2Teach International.”
Having visited Ghana three times in the past year, the mum-of-three divides her time between the role, and a number of Jewish charities, including PJ Library UK and New Israel Fund UK.
“I am a Jewish girl working with a mixed religion organisation, and at the moment we work with an organisation in Ghana which is principally Muslim, and we all work together in any community that has a need.”
She added: “There is something quite special about working in this way, with huge respect”, adding that “we stop for prayers early on Friday and continue after they’ve been to the mosque in order to cater for each other’s religious needs.”
“This only adds to the level of engagement and understanding that it brings to this sort of work”.
In a personal letter to Anita, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how ‘Teach2Teach International’ is training the teachers of the future, giving young people across Ghana the education they need to succeed in their own lives and communities.”
International Development Minister Baroness Sugg paid tribute to Anita’s “tireless commitment to train talented young people”, saying her work is “transformational”.