CAMFED Association member and journalist, Ghana
Bervelyn comes from a small community in Ghana’s Central Region. When she was young, her father became ill and could no longer work to support the family. Daily life became more difficult and they had to move to live with Bervelyn’s grandmother. The family rallied to support Bervelyn to continue in her education despite their straitened circumstances.
However, by the end of junior high school, Bervelyn feared her school days had come to an end. The increasing costs of senior high school were out of reach. Her uncle, who worked as a teacher, helped Bervelyn to enrol at his school and paid for her uniform and shoes. She was happy to continue in her education and achieved excellent grades in her exams.
Bervelyn’s uncle had heard from a parent at the school about the opportunity to apply for a Mastercard Foundation Scholarship through CAMFED Ghana. Bervelyn eagerly submitted her details and was successful in securing a scholarship to attend the Ghana Institute of Journalism. She also became a CAMFED Association member.
My desire to be a journalist had been from childhood. My mom said I used to collect stones and read the newspaper to them as though I was a broadcast journalist. I just went for it!
As a Tertiary Scholar, Bervelyn was actively engaged with the other Scholars and was elected the President of the Scholars’ Community at the Ghana Institute of Journalism from 2015 to 2017. During her degree she also acted as a facilitator for the Secondary Scholar Leadership Camps organized by the Mastercard Foundation. She greatly enjoyed the chance to mentor her younger peers and advise them on applying to university — something she continues to do. In 2018, Bervelyn graduated with a degree in Communication Studies with a major in Journalism.
I really love mentorship. I freely and openly give it to whoever asks for it. I feel if I had had a mentor earlier in my life I wouldn’t have faced such challenges.
National service is a mandatory requirement for all university graduates in Ghana and Bervelyn completed hers with one of the country’s leading radio and television stations, Citi FM and Citi TV.
Having demonstrated her passion and ability, she then landed a full time job with the company as a broadcast journalist. This is Bervelyn’s proudest achievement to date, in view of how competitive the media industry is.
At Citi FM and TV, Bervelyn is a co-producer of the station’s flagship evening news program, Eyewitness News. She also co-produces the satirical news show, BackPage. This is in addition to other roles in reporting and features production at the station.
A number of articles she has written have been published on the news website of the organization.
It’s not so easy for anyone to get the chance to chase their dream and have their dream come to life. I’m thankful to be one of them.
After filing a television report on the Oncology Department of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, which focused on childhood cancers and the high cost of treatment for daily chemotherapy, Bervelyn mobilized former Mastercard Foundation Scholars at CAMFED Ghana to support affected families. In October 2019 the young women made a donation of GHC 10,000 to the Oncology Department to support the cost of treatment of some of the patients. On receiving the donation, the consultant in charge of the department, Professor Awo Renner, said: “I am really overwhelmed by the magnitude of what you have done. It is actually going to give life to several children and came just in time.”
In March 2020, daily life in Ghana was significantly impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. As well as her own job being disrupted, Bervelyn observed that other young women and girls faced increasing challenges, due to small enterprises — including tailoring and hairdressing shops — being unable to operate, and schools being closed. Without their usual sources of income or support structures, young women became more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
When girls are home but their parents have to work, they need guidance to ensure they do not make certain mistakes, leave their studies behind, and cannot reintegrate back into school. We really need to look out for our girls.
As a member of the CAMFED Association, a network of young women leaders active across five countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Bervelyn and her peers are well-placed to mobilize communities to protect and support girls and women, during and beyond this crisis. She served as the Association’s elected National Secretary from 2017 to 2020 and stays actively involved with this group as well as with the Scholars’ alumni community.
In future, Bervelyn looks forward to developing her career, building a solid foundation as a journalist and embracing new challenges.