CAMFED Association member & entrepreneur, Ghana
When Vida tragically lost her father at a young age, her family fell into financial hardship, and the prospect of her going to school hung in the balance. Between missing school to help her mother work the fields and sell firewood to provide for the family, and struggling to turn enough profit to pay for her school fees, it seemed as though Vida would never complete her education. When CAMFED stepped in, everything changed.
Vida was in Senior High School at this time, and once relieved of the financial burden of her tuition and basic needs, she thrived in her studies. After graduating from High School, Vida joined the CAMFED Association (CAMA) – the network of female leaders educated with CAMFED support – who are passionate about turning the tide of poverty across Africa. Through the CAMFED Association, Vida had the opportunity to access interest-free loans, as well as financial literacy and entrepreneurship training, which gave her the skills and resources she needed to start her own business.
My community now sees me as a role model. Without education, I would not have my own business. I am independent, I’m not dependent on anybody else, others depend on me!
Having grown up in a community predominantly dependent on subsistence farming, Vida recognized the need for more sustainable and large-scale agricultural projects. Vida produces rice, beans and Tom Brown (a nutritious blend of wheat, maize, millet, groundnuts, and soya beans widely used to make porridge for young children), which she then sells to local stores for a profit. Vida’s business has flourished and she is now financially independent, supporting her family beyond their means and injecting prosperity into her community.
Education helps me to tackle poverty. I can now feed myself and my family, I can buy everything for myself. If I was not educated I would not be able to educate my juniors, and train them on how to live their lives to be successful.
Becoming a CAMFED Association member has changed Vida’s life in more ways than one. As well as providing her with a network of support, it has improved her confidence and self esteem. Alongside other CAMFED Association members, Vida has taken it upon herself to ensure that the next generation of girls in her community stay in school and work hard for their futures. The pastoral support that role models like Vida provide is an invaluable resource to students, as they are able to see that the challenges they are facing can be overcome.
Vida’s business continues to go from strength to strength. Last year, she built a processing centre for her supplies. This year, she plans to build a shop to sell her products to her community and increase trade in her village. Vida’s mother is her proudest supporter and marvels at how an education has transformed their small farm into a thriving enterprise. She says, “In all my years as a farmer, I hadn’t made a profit like I did last year working with my daughter. She is a role model.”
CAMFED Association members like Vida understand better than anyone how hunger and poverty can be a major barrier to education. It is this first-hand experience that makes them perfectly placed to unlock opportunities for the next generation of girls, turning the tide of poverty across Africa.