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All across the world students are receiving exam results, graduating from school and embarking upon the next chapter of their lives.

Recently in Ghana, 1,500 Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Camfed celebrated this milestone by gathering for a graduation ceremony on the theme of ‘Shaping the future of young women’. The following blog is the valedictorian speech delivered by one such graduate, Adamu, who reflects on the importance of education and the responsibility she and her peers feel to give back to their communities as the newest members of Camfed’s 84,675-strong CAMA alumnae network .

Valedictorian Adamu addresses fellow Senior High School graduates at their ‘Shaping the future of young women’ graduation ceremony (Photo: Assah Mills/Camfed).

I feel honored to be accorded the privilege of delivering this speech on life in school and our expectations after school.

Before I proceed, I would like to share this message from Helen Kuffer, who said “optimism is the only faith that can lead to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Senior High School is a time of increased independence for young people, both academically and socially. As teenagers, we may think finally, I am an adult and independent. Indeed, but maturity is achieved with the help of guidance and counseling from parents and others. Life is full of transitions and after all the experiences in Senior High School, we have finally graduated. Looking so energetic and determined to start a new life as we do here today, I wonder why some of us are preparing to get married, why our society sees us as brides and why we are betrothed even in our current world. Finishing Senior High School is the juncture where real life starts, where education starts and serves as the basis for our career.

Fellow young women, it is up to us to define a vision for our futures. Whatever it may be, it should shape our nation. It is therefore time for us to take charge. We must invest in ourselves and stand up for ourselves and each other. When we have the opportunity to help other girls realize their potential, let’s do it! Let’s take care of each other. We must believe deep down that we are capable of being as successful as our male peers. It is time for our voices to be heard.

1,500 Camfed Senior High School graduates in Ghana commit to plowing back the benefits of their eduction into their communities as members of the CAMA alumnae network (Photo: Assah Mills/Camfed).

So, let’s arise and shine as bright as we can, for the world awaits the outcome of our noble actions. The mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste. Whatever it is that you find yourself so passionate about, do not leave it untapped, make noise about it until you are heard. I can imagine what Ghana will be like 10 to 30 years from now, when we are leaders in business, government and civil society. It will be a better and stronger nation.

I would like to end with some thoughts from the former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate Mrs Hillary Clinton:

I believe that the rights of women and girls are the unfinished business of the 21st century. We see women and girls across the world who are oppressed and violated, demeaned and degraded and denied so much of what they are entitled to as fellow human beings. It is past time for girls to take their rightful place, side by side, with men, in the rooms where the fates of their children and grandchildren are decided.

As CAMA members, let’s keep in mind that ‘qui mutum datum sum mutum dataum expectatum’, which means ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’

As a proud Dagomba person, ‘N Pulinya’: thank you.

 


 

At Camfed partner schools in Ghana, and across sub-Saharan Africa, thousands of girls like Adamu are celebrating being the first in their families to finish school. Driven by empathy and the desire to plow back the benefits of their education into their communities, these young women pioneers see the world through a lens of opportunity — the opportunity to facilitate sustainable change by breaking down the barriers that keep too many girls out of school. Role models and trailblazers, they are showing what is possible when girls get the education they need.

If you believe in the work Camfed is doing, please lend your support.

CAMA members from Mfantseman District, Ghana — young women leading change (Photo: Eliza Powell/Camfed).

 

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