OUR STORY SO FAR
BASICS was established in 2000 by American-born Patricia Wilkins. Following a calling from God, Pat left her fashion-career in the USA to seek out work in international development. Upon arriving in Ghana, she witnessed the lack of education and resources that many children in Ghana experience, and knew this was where she would fulfil her calling.
In the early days, BASICS was a simple school sponsorship program, sustained by Pat organizing financial sponsorship through family and friends back home in the USA. BASICS looked after hundreds of children, from urban areas in Accra all the way to rural areas across the country. As BASICS evolved, it became clear that simply providing financial support for the children wasn’t enough to keep them in school. A child needed tutoring to compensate for the over-crowded and under-resourced education system in Ghana, and a place to do their homework. They needed nurturing, support, and a full stomach to learn on!
Pat saw she needed to move from quantity to quality. She learned that each village had its own story and its own challenges, so decided that BASICS would need to become entrenched in a community in order to be a part of change. The answer was clear, and the seaside community of Chorkor was chosen. A slum-like area that had no help from other NGOs, that was somewhat forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the capital.
And so in 2005 the Break the Cycle program was born. BASICS opened an Intervention Centre; a small refuge in the heart of Chorkor that provided holistic care to the children of the community. BASICS began to witness, and contribute to a culture shift. Children were staying in school, they were healthier, motivated and they were learning. In 2010 BASICS outgrew its first facility and built a three-storey building nearby to keep up with demand. BASICS now continues to serve Chorkor and surrounding areas through school sponsorship, intervention and community outreach.
Founder and Managing Director
Patricia Wilkins was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens County New York. She attended NYC public school, which included Fashion Industry High School. She furthered her education at Queens Borough Community College and Fashion Institute of Technology.
Her career spans from working in New York’s illustrious fashion industry, to serving as a legislative assistant for a District Assemblyman and as an volunteer campaign coordinator for former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
She left a lucrative 17-year career in NYC renowned fashion industry and turned her attention to social work and missionary projects.
BASICS is a faith based organization, because it was just that which motivated, inspired and sustained founder, Patricia Wilkins. Ms Wilkins relied on the advice of her Pastor, Reverend Cecil B. Stone (Springfield Gardens United Methodist Church) whom advised her to lean on her own faith to answer the question “Does GOD really want me to do this?” Pastor Stone advised Pat “If this is of GOD, HE will open doors for you.
Pat received this advice one morning at 5:30, when she called Pastor Stone on the phone to make an appointment to discuss what she felt GOD was telling her to do. Stone, invited Pat to come into the office right then, which she did. Pat recalls “babbling” on for an hour about how she had been praying and praying to find a way to HELP those less privileged full time, after spending her time (part time) on weekends, helping at welfare shelters, shelters for abused children and at hospitals.Wanting more in life than producing fabric in NY, Pat searched for answers on how to sustain her high maintenance life, which included credit cards bills, car notes, rent, and frequent trips to the Caribbean or South of France. One morning awoken by what she thought was the voice of GOD telling her to, “Give it up”. Pat was not convinced that she was supposed to give up her lavish lifestyle and SERVE!
Taking his advice, Pat did just that. Selling all of her belongings, including clothes, her BMW and even a $10,000 bedroom set she had just purchased impulsively. She often jokes with friends, that this must be GOD, “because who would buy a bedroom set so expensive”.
Early 2000, she embarked on a mission trip to Pavlovsk, Russia. Here Pat worked with physically and mentally challenged children, under the auspices of the United Methodist Church Volunteer In Mission program. There in Russia, she was now convinced and ready to dedicate her life to serving others.
Ready to take on more, Pat independently made plans to travel to Ghana, a country she knew very little about. On her arrival and being taken in by a local family, it was right away that she saw first hand, the tremendous needs of the children of Africa. Wanting desperately to make a difference, Pat started sponsoring children to attend school out of her pocket and cashed in her retirement plan.
Friends and family inspired by her journey were eager to help and joined Pat in her quest to give the children of Africa, equal opportunity to be educated. BASICS was thence founded and continues to grow, with the FAITH that first brought Pat to Ghana.