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Our Guiding Principles

Our Guiding Principles are represented by five Adinkra symbols. Adinkra symbols were created by the Akan people in the regions of West Africa now known as Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Each symbol represents a philosophical concept from the Akan’s rich cultural heritage. The following Adinkra symbols represent the values that guide all our work at Maggie’s Village while also paying homage to our ancestral connections to West Africa.

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We Learn from the Past

Sankofa means “Go back and get it.” It comes from the Akan proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenkyi”, which means “it is not taboo to go back for what was left behind”. We are guided by the wisdom of learning from the past to help us build a strong future. As we move forward, we will build upon the legacy that was passed down to us. In this way, we ensure that the past, present and future remain connected.

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Akoma Ntoaso:

We Achieve Our Goals via

Collective Work &  Responsibility

The literal translation of Akoma Ntoaso is “linked hearts”. It represents unity and harmony within communities. We recognize that we are all connected. “It takes a village” is more than just a saying, it is a call to action. Within the village, we have everything we need…and everyone in the village is needed. Through collective work and responsibility, we can build thriving villages together. This work is not about centering ourselves, but about joining with others to ensure that liberation is a reality for our youth, families, and communities.

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Nea Onnim:

We are Lifelong Learners

Nea Onnim means “He who does not know”. It comes from the Akan proverb, “Nea onnim no sua a ohu”, which translates to “he who does not know can know from learning”. We believe that learning is living, and it is a pathway liberation. Knowledge of self, of history, and of systems empowers us to make change and create the thriving villages we deserve. While all youth should have access to high quality liberating education in schools, school isn’t the only place where learning happens. It starts at birth and continues throughout life. Our lifelong quest for knowledge includes both learning and the unlearning that happens as we heal.

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We Are Resilient & Resourceful

Aya means “fern”. The fern is a sturdy plant that can grow in difficult places. It is a symbol of endurance, defiance against difficulties (including oppression), and resourcefulness. It signifies someone who has faced many adversities and overcome obstacles. At Maggie’s Village, we summon the strength of our ancestors who overcame countless obstacles to forge a path towards liberation for us to follow and continue. We will use every resource available to us, or create our own, to ensure our youth live in liberated communities where Black families are thriving together.

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We Find Safety in Our Solidarity

Fihankra is a secured compound or house. It symbolizes security/safety, brother/sisterhood and solidarity within the compound (village). Communal living is customary for the Akan, and both the physical and relational structures of the village provide collective safety. We are accountable to and for each other and there is safety in the solidarity of our brother/sisterhood. When we choose to work together, remembering that we are all connected, we are protected by the strength of the village.

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