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Camfed Alumnae Leader at President Obama’s Summit

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Ruka Yaro De-Liman, a leader of the Camfed Alumnae in Ghana and an Innovation Bursary Scholar, has been awarded $25,000 at the Presidential Summit in Washington DC.

This week’s Summit was the final highlight of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Twenty-seven year old Ruka was one of the 500 Mandela Washington Fellows selected from 50,000 applicants in recognition of her entrepreneurship and community activism, and one of just 36 to receive an Award.

Through Camfed’s partnership with The MasterCard Foundation to support young female entrepreneurs in Ghana, Ruka launched her agriculture and poultry business. Ruka’s vision for Jamilullah Farm Enterprise is in her words, “to become the leading producer of wholesome meat and quality eggs in West Africa and create jobs for thousands of young people on the continent”.

At the Summit, President Obama, Michelle Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry paid tribute to the Fellows and their extraordinary promise as an emerging generation of African leaders. The First Lady spoke to them about major challenges, including girls’ education:

…. across the globe, the statistics on this issue are heartbreaking. Right now, 62 million girls worldwide are not in school, including nearly 30 million girls in Sub-Saharan Africa…. And, as my husband said earlier this week, we know that when girls aren’t educated, that doesn’t just limit their prospects, leaving them more vulnerable to poverty, violence and disease, it limits the prospects of their families and their countries as well.

Camfed has supported girls’ education and young women’s leadership for more than 20 years and we are seeing this investment pay huge dividends in the lives and families of young women like Ruka. She is returning to Ghana to expand her business – opening 20 sales outlets and increasing her poultry stock to 200,000. Millicent Achimboye, Camfed Ghana Enterprise and Leadership Manager, who has mentored Ruka throughout this initiative, telephoned from the Camfed Tamale office to congratulate her. To the question “What next?” Ruka replied:

I will tell young people back home everything, everything I have seen and heard and I know that my experience will inspire them to follow through on their own dreams.

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