The journey to Ghana was a tremendous experience. Sandee, president and founding mother of Leah’s Dream, and I, Lynne, secretary of the Executive Board, found the experience so varied and intense that one blog can’t begin to describe it. This is the first installment.
Our first full day in Accra, Ghana, started at 8:30 with a knock on the door of our room in Nee Nee Cottage. Emelia, president of Leah’s Dream in Ghana, introduced us to her sister-in-law, Fulera Seidu. This was to be the first of many unexpected gifts during our 2 weeks. Fulera said she was there to volunteer to lead a 2-week training workshop for the Afafanto Scholarship graduates during the summer after they take their tests for university . This capacity building program, which we later called Bridge Training, has three goals: teach marketable craft skills, provide direct experience in marketing and networking, and teach assertiveness. At the end, we want each student to have a plan for her future livelihood and the confidence to carry it out.
As we drove through the Northern Region, the need for this program was only reinforced. We passed small village after small village where the Afafanto Scholarship girls come from: red mud, one room huts, 3-room school houses, no easy access to water, sanitation, internet or electricity. Girls are taught to help out their mothers in whatever way is needed, even if it means missing school. Modesty, no eye contact, soft voice, and obedience are built into the culture, and these qualities were displayed again and again as we met the shy, young scholars with lovely, timid smiles.
Fulera shared, on camera for Sandee, her life experience, how she left Tamale in the Northern Region with a scant $5 and worked at various jobs till she created Winamzua Enterprise. She calls herself a social entrepreneur and not only designs African jewelry, clothes, and bags, she empowers young women with an entrepreneurial spirit to help them make the transition from boarding school to an adult world of vocational and educational opportunities. What a role model and contribution to the mission of Leah’s Dream!
And there were many more. Stay tuned. Lynne McMahon, Secretary of Leah’s Dream US
PS View the film Sandee made of Fulera talking about our new Bridge Program which is up and running as we speak in our new office! https://www.facebook.com/Afafanto