A British soldier who served at Blandford Camp in Dorset has been awarded the rare Deputy Commander’s Commendation, which was announced in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
Ghana-born Lance Corporal Nyame Ayeh Assuon – known as Sony – joined the army a decade ago barely able to read or write.
Through his hard work and the opportunities he received in the army he is now studying for a degree.
But he was determined not to forget his rural, poverty-stricken community in his home country and launched a charity to help them.
As he serves with the Royal Corps of Signals, Sony decided to raise £35,000 to build an IT suite in his home town of Nsuaem in the Wasa West district in the western region of Ghana.
And it was for launching and running his Assuon Foundation Trust (AFT) that he received the commendation.
Matt Horan of Dorset-based cyber-security company C3IA Solutions is supporting Sony’s charity and said the award was most deserved.
A former Royal Signaller himself, Matt said: “When Sony presented to us his enthusiasm, energy and passion for his charity shone through and we agreed to help him there and then.”
The citation read: “Lance Corporal Assuon’s upbringing in the remote village of Nsueam epitomises the paucity of Ghanaian education: his involved reading and writing on scraps of paper beneath the shade of a large tree, and where school was cancelled in adverse weather due to a lack of any shelter.
“It was not until he arrived in the UK to join the British Army and walked into a computer retail outlet that he first saw a laptop and the ease of access to IT.
“Amazed, he immediately dedicated himself to providing similar facilities to his home.
“His charity’s mission is to provide an Information Library, or learning hub, in the centre of the Wasa West District for the use of the surrounding schools’ 3,500 students.
“… This is an ambitious project for anyone let alone a young soldier.
“… The energy, drive and selfless nature that this soldier possesses have already seen impressive collective reward. Despite an immense academic commitment to his course, he has been instrumental in catalysing the aims of the Assuon Foundation Trust, a charity in its relative infancy.
“Having set an ambitious initial fundraising target of £35,000, Lance Corporal Assuon has delivered several exceptionally thoughtful and well-executed charity endeavours.
“Embodying the Values and Standards of the British Army, Lance Corporal Assuon is an inspiration not just to his peers but to everyone he meets.
“He epitomises what someone with passion and drive can do to improve the lives of others. This effort, albeit still in progress, fully deserved recognition.”
Sony, who is now at Bulford Camp near Salisbury, said: “It was a huge surprise and a great honour to receive this commendation.
“All I wanted to do was provide IT opportunities to people from my part of Ghana. The children learn computer theory in school, but there are no computers for them to use.
“With the generosity of people and businesses such as C3IA Solutions we’re well on the way to providing IT facilities in Nsuaem.”
The certificate was presented by the RAF because the commander at Blandford Camp at the time of the award was from the RAF.