Welcome to the Journey So Far, a platform where young people from diverse background share their life stories and achievements. My guest for today is Freda Nyame.
As a student at 21, Freda is so passionate to be part of the societal change going on across the globe. She currently leads a team of other young people and their simple aim is to send school dropouts back into the classroom.
Below is the conversation I had with the young enthusiastic Freda Nyame.
PRINCE: As Freda Nyame, when and where were you born?
FREDA:I was born on the 23rd of February 1993 at Breman Asentem in the Central Region of Ghana
PRINCE: When did you start schooling? FREDA: I started schooling in 1995 at Emmanuel Preparatory School, went to Rect Academy, Pentecost School, Englebert School, Accra Girls' Senior High School and presently in the University of Ghana, Legon
PRINCE: Which course did you offer in SHS and what are you offering in University of Ghana now?
FREDA: I offered General Arts with elective courses of Literature, Government, History and French. I'm currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Archaeology at the University of Ghana (UG) and in my final year.
PRINCE: Any special memories on how you started schooling?
FREDA: Well, I don't really remember when I started schooling but I quite remember a speech and prize giving day back at Rect Academy when my twin brother was awarded with a certificate for being hardworking and I did not receive any so I felt sad but my parents comforted me, we were 3 or 4 years old back then,
PRINCE: What are some of the amazing achievements you've chalked so far in your education?
FREDA: Well, I'm happy to say I won an award back in Accra Girls' Senior High School for being the best Government Student during my Second year and the best Literature Student during my final year in Accra Girls Senior High School.
PRINCE: What inspired you to study psychology and archaeology in UG?
FREDA: Well, I have always loved watching CSI Miami and all Movies related to Crime Scene Investigation so I was excited when I was given these courses to pursue in the University.
PRINCE: As a student, you are also practising as a Social Entrepreneur?
FREDA: Yes I am. I am a member of the largest Student run organisation in the world (AIESEC) on my campus and a Project Director for Inspiring Youth Achievement-Inspya Project
PRINCE: What's the inspiration behind the passion? FREDA: I have always believed in making a societal impact and I realised that in Ghana for instance most children do not get the opportunity to be inspired, guided and mentored whilst in school to develop their talents and skills needed to survive in our Global Environment. Due to this most individuals drop out of school because they feel they do not belong there and others do not also have the means to support their education.
I met a young girl of Age 16 who dropped out of school earlier this year because her caretaker died and her mum whose finance is unstable cannot support her education
After I listened to her story, I realised that I could do something to help make a difference in the life of this young girl and other individuals who are going through the same situation and with the support of my energetic and passionate Team members we are doing everything possible to make this a reality.
PRINCE: After this revelation, what have you being doing?
FREDA: We have been trying our best to secure enough funds to send the young school dropout back to school and an identification of several individuals in the targeted Area for the first phase of the project which is the Adentan Municipality. We would like to identify 20 individuals who have no means to support their education but are inspired to go back to school to develop their talents and then mentor, guide and assist them to make their dreams come true.
Since AIESEC as an organisation runs Exchange programs where interns from our 124 entities participate in voluntary and professional internships we are looking forward to receive some interns who will be trained to inspire, motivate, guide and mentor these young individuals in the schools we have partnered with through One on One sessions, General Sessions and Other activities to engage these kids and help them integrate with each other and to also build their self-esteem.
PRINCE: How long have you being doing this? FREDA: The inception of the project began in June but it was officially launched on the 2nd of November 2014, so I can say it has been 5 months and few weeks now since we began to build upon our ideas.
PRINCE: And how is the journey so far? FREDA: It has not been an easy Journey. We have been facing difficulties in terms of getting financial support and other issues but we hope to overcome these difficulties very soon
PRINCE: But how are you coping with the financial problems in delivering your service?
FREDA: As I said earlier we are still in the process of securing partnerships and sponsorship from Individuals and corporate organisations as well as following up on pledges of support made by Individuals. We have received some personal donations from friends which will be used to cater for the needs of the first dropout who has been identified.
We hope to receive more funds and support from individual and corporate organisations so that our vision of sending and supporting 20 individuals (School Dropouts) back to school in January will be a reality.
PRINCE: Share a little about sending dropouts to school?
FREDA: Well, it's not an easy feat to be able to send one dropout back to school not to talk of 20 individuals. It involves speaking with the individual and getting to know their reason for dropping out of school. Some might not want to go back to school because they might not believe in education, some might not also be in school because they have to help their parents at home or make a living and yet some might be out of school because they have no means to support their education. This is where Inspiring Youth Achievement Project under AIESEC Legon comes in. We work with our international interns and scout for these dropouts by speaking with leaders in the community , teachers in the various schools who are familiar with such individuals and also youth groups in these communities which consists of individuals who have dropped out.After being trained by a counsellor as to how to deal with the educational and behavioural issues of children as well as enlisting the help of the counsellor, we identify these individuals,speak with them and get to know them, their lives and reason for not going to school then mentor and inspire them to go back to school and support their education. Now, we don't just take the child back to school and pay their tuition: we track them down by placing these trained interns in the schools who will continue to inspire, mentor, guide and help them then we measure the success of this mentorship and guidance through check-ups with the head teachers or teachers of the various schools who know these children and might notice changes in their lives as well as leaders and families of these children.
We would also like to create partnerships which can support their education until they have completed their tertiary institution and this is something that cannot be made possible by my Team leaders, Team members and myself alone.
PRINCE: What has being the response with people you've shared this dream with so far?
Well, most of them comment on the fact that it's a great initiative or idea and that's it. Others also pledge their support but tend to be infuriated anytime you ask for the support they pledged. Yet still others are very supportive and are still helpful in terms of advice,guidance and helping us create more partnerships as well as supporting us with funds.
PRINCE: Can we acknowledge the Doers? Mr. Livingstone Richards who is in the UK , The CEO of Inspiring Youth Achievement UK -Vida Simpeh, The Representative of the Adentan Municipality MP - Mr. Lokko , Albert and Patrick Banahene of African Business Center for Developing Education, Mr. Samuel Moses Opoku from Unilever Ghana , The Director of Royal Rising Star School-Mr. Wisdom Amaglo , Salim Barry and his boss at Enterprise insurance (Spintex Branch ) , Emmanuel Anyorekeya , Ms .Elsie ,Ms. YaaFrempong in the USA and Mr. Charles who is a member of the Board of Advisors for AIESEC Ghana and friends who wish to remain anonymous as well as my Team leaders and Members who remain the Best.
Not forgetting Pastor Marcus Oppong and Charles Kyei of Above All Horizons on University of Ghana campus,
PRINCE: What are the bigger visions you've laid out for this initiative?
Our greatest vision is to make a great societal impact to be able to send these 20 school dropouts back to school who in turn will impact their societies with their talents and to go on to support more than a hundred school dropouts back to school by the end of 2015.We hope to Inspire, mentor and support an orphanage at Dodowa in terms of renovating their classroom block as well as providing them with a library and other infrastructure. Since children are the future leaders of every nation, we hope to help these children who will also grow up and help others to build a better nation for us all.
PRINCE: What's your bigger vision for the African Continent?
FREDA: To be able to create an awareness for children to receive inspiration, guidance and direction from parents , teachers and community leaders in the African continent as well as to join hands with Directors and Managers of all African Organisations to see the need to inspire our children and take measures necessary to send all school dropouts back to school, support their education and continue to mentor them since children are the only ones who can help make Africa a better place to live in.
PRINCE: Lots of young people are churning out project believe to be rebuilding Africa, is it achievable and how?
FREDA: Yes I believe these projects can help rebuild Africa. With each individual's talent bringing together a pool of such expensive individual ideas will go a long way to help Africa. This is because each individual idea is well thought of and its consequences and impact clearly laid out. If all these ideas are made possible and the youth with such ideas receive the support they need, it will help in rebuilding Africa. The United States of America is what it is today because many people's ideas were supported and not opposed from the beginning. The development of the United States of America and other developed nations did not just rise up one day and develop but the individual talents of the youth brought together in unity and one thought of developing their nations has made them what are today and I believe Africa can do same if we believe and are supportive of the ideas of the youth and constructively criticising these ideas.
PRINCE: Apart from the social entrepreneurial activities, what different things will we be seeing you do in the near future or after school?
FREDA: Well I hope establish a center in Ghana to inspire and motivate young individuals to aim high and achieve their dreams and also to become a Forensic Pathologist in the future and serve my country through the Ghana Police service by helping solve crime in our country
PRINCE: You mean becoming a police officer too? FREDA: Yeah but with the Crime Scene department which is the CID
PRINCE: What's your favourite TV show? FREDA: Airtel Touching Lives. PRINCE: What strategies/principles have you applied in life so far that you can share to make to improve on our lifestyle?
FREDA: Well, I believe in never giving up, always making the best out of bad situations and always reaching for my dream even when the circumstances prove otherwise. I believe that even if you fail, you have to get up and carefully analyse why you failed and think about finding a solution because there is always light at the end of every tunnel.
PRINCE: If Forbes and Times Magazine should approach you to honour you today, what recognition would you deserve?
FREDA: Wow…, Best Youth Entrepreneur -For making insightful societal impact
PRINCE: Do you believe you will be reaching that height?
FREDA: Yes I believe I can and will reach that height
PRINCE: You've inspired me personally on this show and what are your final words you would want to share with our readers especially the young ones?
FREDA: Thank you very much for the opportunity. It has been a pleasure of mine. I would like to tell every young individual that no matter their circumstances, they should always reach out for their dreams and believe that they can always make it no matter what their circumstances at a given moment might say. I would also like to encourage everyone to make an impact in their society if it is in their means to do so because it is only then that we can have a sense of fulfillment and the Africa that we all want and desire.
Akpah Prince [email protected]
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