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18.08.2003 Diaspora News

Student Poised to Make a Difference in the Lives of the Underprivileged

By Fethi Mohammed, Davidson College, NC, U.S.A
Student Poised to Make a Difference in the Lives of the Underprivileged
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At Davidson College in North Carolina, a final year Ghanaian student, Emmanuel Amos-Abanyie, studying Economics and Sociology, designed a service project dubbed EACH - an acronym for Educational Accessibility for Children in Hardship. This summer, EACH provided a three-year financial package to help alleviate the financial burden on parents and guardians to seven hardworking, focused and ambitious underprivileged children in Junior Secondary and Primary Schools in Ghana. The beneficiaries are John Essenyi, Stephanie Hlo, Wonder Kweku Mereku, Roberta Mensah, Simeon Adugbatey, Joseph Tetteh Addico, and George Mensah. The students were chosen from St. Monica’s J.S.S, Community 11 Complex School, Lorenz Wolf J.S.S and Twedaase J.S.S, all in Tema and the A.M.E. Zion Primary School located in Kotokuraba, Cape Coast.

According to Amos-Abanyie, EACH is different from other programs, which merely provide financial assistance to students. In his own words, "with EACH, I would play the role of a mentor to these children and I know that the mentoring relationship would go a long way in shaping the lives of these children to be more appreciative of the struggles and sacrifices their parents and guardians are going through for their very existence." Amos-Abanyie intends to keep in touch through correspondence with the beneficiaries throughout their Primary and J.S.S education and is poised to make a difference in their lives. He said in March 2003 while on a pilgrimage to Assisi, San Giovanni Rotondo and Rome, Italy, studying the significance of Rome in Christianity, he was inspired by the lives of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Padre Pio. These great men renounced the comforts of this world and took to living simple lives to provide assistance to the poor who are vulnerable to ! the evils of society. "I felt the need to do the same and I looked forward to an opportunity through which I could lend a helping hand to underprivileged children in my country, Ghana. I chose education because I believe that it holds the solution to most of Africa’s problems and also partly because my mother, Agnes, and my sister, Roberta, are both teachers in the public school system. They encounter brilliant students who have terrible experiences at school because of the financial constraints of their parents," he says.

Davidson College encourages its students to design and embark on service projects across the globe by providing financial assistance to help defray the cost of their service projects. Amos-Abanyie’s service project was made possible through the generosity of a group of his friends here at Davidson committed to the provision of quality education and a Staley grant from the Office of the Chaplain. He believes that although EACH was designed to be a one-time operation spanning a period of 3 years, it could be transformed into an NGO in the near future to allow more children to benefit from the program. It is his hope that Ghanaian students who find themselves in privileged positions will take advantage of the resources available to them to serve as mentors to underprivileged children in Ghana. He says, "the mere thought of being a mentor to a child many miles away from where you live sounds very challenging. Nevertheless, providing financial assistance and deve! loping a mentoring relationship with disadvantaged children can inspire them to look beyond their predicament."

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