CAMFED Association member, Ghana
As a young single parent in northern Ghana, Saviour’s mother could not afford even the basic items required for her daughter to go to school. Left in the care of her grandparents while her mother looked for work, Saviour longed to go to school. Day after day she witnessed her neighbourhood friends going to school and wept. Distraught at seeing his granddaughter so unhappy, eventually Saviour’s grandfather asked her aunt if she could help. At age of eight, Saviour finally started school.
Initially enrolled in kindergarten, Saviour flourished and by the end of term one she had been moved up to primary 2. However, the cost of her schooling was still a major challenge for Saviour’s family. When it came to senior high school and the introduction of fees, it seemed that all was lost. Seeing her plight, a Teacher Mentor at Saviour’s school put her forward for a CAMFED bursary. Finally, her education was assured.
Being a Learner Guide was one of the biggest opportunities of my life. I saw that, as long as I live, there is so much I can do to support myself and the people around me.
When she completed school, Saviour was determined to give back to her community what she had gained from the support received. For this reason she trained as a CAMFED Learner Guide, returning to her school to lead students through the My Better World life skills program and establishing a study group to help her learners prepare for exams. Through the program, she says, she underwent a transformation: “I gained so much courage and confidence that opportunities opened up as a result.”
At the same time, through the program she was able to access a loan that enabled her to start a cassava, plantain and yam distribution business. Working in partnership with her mother, Saviour has built up the business and now employs 10 people who sell produce to restaurants across the district. With the profits, she supports her siblings to go to school and works with other CAMFED Association (CAMA) members to raise funds to provide the educational needs of vulnerable girls in the community who might otherwise be compelled to drop out of school and into an early marriage.
I’m proud of where I am today. I’m proud that I am a radio presenter and that I am teaching – putting smiles on the faces of young ones is the greatest joy.
As a Learner Guide, Saviour also discovered a passion for teaching, and today teaches at a pre-school. As well as continuing to expand her business, in her free time she hosts two radio programs at a local station. She chose to work in radio because it’s a platform through which she can engage the youth in her community directly, using her airtime to discuss social issues and their solutions. Her most important message? Making her listeners understand that: “In life you don’t need to give up. It only takes time and hard work, and then you can get to wherever you want to get to.”
Over the next 10 years, Saviour’s mission is to help reduce school dropout rates and teenage pregnancy in her community, encouraging more girls, and their families, to put education first. Her vision for her community is that every child should receive the education they need and, in this way, reach their full potential. With the support of fellow CAMFED Association members, she is confident that they will achieve their goal.
When you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation. Women are able to change the world. We are able to start the change now. Beginning with ourselves.
On a personal level, Saviour has long dreamed of becoming a nurse. Recently she took steps towards realizing this dream by applying to a nurses’ training college. “I want to be a nurse because I love supporting people, especially the less privileged or sick people in society,” she says. “And definitely this year I will make it happen.”