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Agents of Change  

Students show initiative and seek out local challenges to address. In a required four-year series of leadership seminars, students discuss issues critical to building a better society. After speaking with local nonprofit leaders, students select their own community service projects and dedicate their time and skills to making a difference.

College for Ama (CofA)

Ashesi students and faculty reach out to teach and inspire adolescent girls from impoverished rural areas.  College for Ama, a Ghanaian nonprofit cofounded by Ashesi’s Dean of Academic

Affairs, Professor Nana Apt, uses education to help break the cycle of poverty among rural women. A CofA summer program brought twenty-eight adolescent girls from rural communities to Ashesi’s campus to live and study for one week.

Several of the girls’ schools have 100% failure rates on high school entry exams. Ashesi faculty volunteered to teach a variety of courses from basic English and math, to nutrition and women’s sexual health. Each CofA student was paired with an Ashesi student mentor who helped guide her through the week. Courses were designed to encourage creativity, social awareness, self-esteem, and self sufficiency. Most of all, students learned that they, too, can one day become college students if they continue their education.

Skills for former child soldiers
Ashesi students teach former child soldiers from Liberia practical skills to scale up their small enterprises and subsistence farms. Ashesi students know that for former child soldiers to earn a living and rebuild their society, they’ll need practical skills.

So Ashesi students traveled to a Liberian refugee camp and, working in partnership with aid organizations, set up a one-week class in simple business fundamentals. The former child soldier participants gave such enthusiastic feedback that Mediators Beyond Borders has offered to help Ashesi seek funding to extend the program.  Ashesi students hope to travel to Liberia to continue working with the same organizations to provide the skills the former child soldiers will need in their difficult resettlement process.

A different career path
Araba Amuasi ‘07, a computer science major, turned down lucrative job offers to become Operations Officer at an orphanage. She plans to use her computer science skills to completely overhaul the orphanage curriculum and to one day lead a transformation of primary education in Ghana.

At Ashesi, Araba chose the Village of Hope Orphanage for her required community service. Now, she wants to challenge the orphanage children to think critically and to gain solid skills for a strong future.

Araba plans to introduce computer education to the orphanage curriculum and even to teach basic programming to help the children develop logical reasoning skills. She is already recruiting Ashesi student volunteers to help.

“If this continent is to be salvaged, we must improve our primary education system. I want to be a part of building a new Ghana, where children look for the basic concepts underlying the things they study, and not how to commit procedures and facts to memory only to pass an exam.”

—Araba Amuasi

 

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