Owning her Future
This week, President and CEO Reeta Roy of The MasterCard Foundation, will be blogging from Ghana as she travels with Ann Cotton – Camfed International Executive Director, and Deepali Khanna – the Youth Learning Director at The MasterCard Foundation . They are in Ghana this week to launch our partnership with Camfed. This program will provide secondary education, financial literacy and entrepreneurship opportunities to 200,000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and will benefit more than one million people.
Yesterday, Ann, Deepali and I gathered at the British Council with a hundred people and celebrated the expansion of Camfed’s program into the Upper Eastern and Central Regions.
The air was festive and informal, as Cama members escorted friends and guests into the main hall and supporters of girls’ education greeted each other. As the ceremonies began, there were poignant moments as people appreciated this milestone in girls’ education in Ghana. Ann reflected that Camfed was launched in Ghana in that same room at the British Council in 1998.
Rashida and Jerusha, two Cama members, stood poised and confident as they shared personal stories of crippling poverty and how they have transformed their own lives.
Rashida is studying to become a social worker. Her world caved in when her father died when she was 10 years old. After more than a decade of struggles, hunger, and nearly giving up, she encountered Camfed. “Cama is my life and my family.”
Jerusha is studying the violin and will complete a degree in music. She has composed many songs. She told us, “I just need a producer!”
Looking at Jerusha and Rashida, it was hard to imagine them defeated by anything. Other words came to mind. Courage. Ambition. Strength.
Each woman in this program believes in her own ability to achieve her ambitions. This confidence only grows when there’s a supportive network in the community who helps her acquire and apply new skills and knowledge. This is Camfed’s approach to creating grassroots change. The Minister of Education and Sports, Honorable Betty Mould Iddrisu — a champion of girls’ education — noted that Camfed’s holistic approach tackles issues of poverty at a systemic level and enables girls to move beyond school and transition into the workforce.
This event marked the launch of our program. And it was a celebration of the resounding achievements of these young women, and the vibrant futures they own through Camfed’s program. We left the British Council inspired by their stories, and optimistic and eager to meet the next class of Cama members.