As a family of six living in a single roomed house in the Central Region of Ghana, Ruth’s parents struggled to make ends meet, let alone pay for their children’s education. When Ruth’s father lost his job, the family found themselves in desperate straits. Ruth yearned to be in school but often had to miss whole terms to work with her mother, selling charcoal, breaking stones at the quarry, washing clothes and fetching water just to scrape enough money together to stay alive.
“These were really difficult times as I imagined my friends learning in class while I sat at the roadside selling.”
In spite of this, and although she had never been to school herself, Ruth’s mother was determined that her daughter would get an education. When financial constraints made it impossible to pay school fees, her mother begged others to help her daughter stay in school. Seeing her plight, Ruth’s Headmaster took pity and allowed her to take her junior high school exams free of charge. When an opportunity arose for her to continue to senior high school on a scholarship, she grasped it and moved in with an aunt in order to take up her place.
After finishing secondary school, Ruth was eager to continue to university but lacked the funds even to pay for application forms. Eventually, she was accepted to a course in Education, Economics and Political Science, but the cost of tuition fees now stood in her way. For a time, she feared her dream of becoming a teacher was over. However, a chance encounter with a stranger opened a new chapter. Following directions, Ruth visited the CAMFED Ghana office where she shared her story and applied for support. That very same day she was accepted to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at CAMFED. All of a sudden, the future was bright!
“It's been two years since I started my journey with CAMFED. With every step, I’m growing.”
Ruth (left) is a trainee teacher, alongside fellow CAMA members, Ayisha (middle) and Fransisca (right) (Photo: Eliza Powell/CAMFED).
Today, as well as being an undergraduate, Ruth is an active member of CAMFED’s CAMA alumnae network, plowing back the benefits of her education into her community. Together with fellow CAMA members, she advocates for the importance of education and provides critical educational materials to students in local schools. Teachers note that their efforts have been rewarded with decreasing levels of school dropout and absenteeism in the community.
“Meeting with my CAMA sisters just keeps me moving and motivated. And now I just want to give back, to empower others as I have been empowered.”
Two years ago Ruth established the Rising Youth Mentorship Program, which she runs with fellow CAMA member Francisca at a local secondary school. They meet regularly with students to help them develop their study skills and overcome personal challenges. Ruth also represents her department on the Local Assembly of Students' Representative Council at her university and is a board member of her senior high school.
Ruth provides guidance to secondary students through her Rising Youth Mentorship Program (Photo: Eliza Powell/CAMFED).
Ruth, Francisca and Ayisha are all CAMA members and teacher trainees in Central Region, Ghana (Photo: Eliza Powell/CAMFED).
Ruth’s vision is to live in a society where all women are financially independent. Her passion for women's empowerment has driven her to set up a club called ‘Watchout Ghana’, where members meet periodically to share ideas on financial literacy, health and leadership. A role model and change maker, Ruth is a living testimony to the transformational power of education. Her zeal and dedication to giving back to her community is an endless source of inspiration to so many.
Read Ruth’s blog: “When you know how it feels to be rescued, you just want to rescue others”