On this week’s episode of MTN Heroes of Change 2019, the MTN Foundation highlights the works of Daniel Owusu Asiamah, a missionary whose passion to offer practical education and skills to the most deprived in society has impacted more a 1,000 lives.
Daniel Owusu Asiamah’s upbringing and education was so tough from the beginning that had it not been for the benevolence of others, he wouldn’t be where he is today. That has led the man to personally finance a mission to educate the most deprived in society for free.
In the community of Whindo, Takoradi, one can easily find the Outreach Africa Vocational Institute (OAVI), that trains JHS graduates who through no fault of theirs are unable to continue their education due to poverty at home or death of parents.
Since 2008, OAVI has trained and continues to train young people in vocational disciplines such as Fashion Design, Food and nutrition, Hair & Beauty as well as architectural draughtsmanship as the core subjects. Besides, the school also teach the English Language, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship and Basic Computer at the school.
Absolutely free education
Apart from being a tuition-free institute, the school has free daily bus service for students and workers and a discounted shop where students buy stuff at the very cost it is sourced from the wholesale shops without any profit attached.
“I have a limited financial aid for the ‘poorest among the poor’ especially those who have lost both parents. At graduations we give as many students as possible ‘startup tools’ like sewing machines, hair dryers, stoves and gas cylinders and monies to go home with to begin something,” Mr. Asiamah says.
Asked why he is doing this at such personal cost, Mr. Asiamah explained that his belief in the Bible, his past and interest in the development of mother Ghana are the three cardinal reasons.
“Being a missionary and preacher I see Jesus in the Gospels helping the poor at all times. I am the only child for my mother. I never saw my father because he died while I was still a baby. I witnessed the struggles my mother, (as a single mother) went through before getting me some education, that is, the middle school.
The rest of my education was made possible through the benevolence of people of good will. This included having the chance to study at one of the most prestigious training schools in faraway Hawaii, USA under 100percent scholarship. I therefore vowed to make all the needed sacrifices to help others when life smiles at me,” he notes.
As a missionary, Mr. Asiamah’s personal income is what sustains the school. Also, in his travels, some well-meaning Christians give him cash gifts to support his ministry and on graduation days, others make voluntary contributions.
Over the last decade, 945 young people have graduated from the school including foreigners. Currently, over 95percent are happily working at various working places across Ghana including hotels, restaurants, district assemblies, Ghana Army and Police. Others have their own hairdressing salons and sewing centers.
Again, at least, 12 adults are also being paid monthly to take care of their families. The school’s campus is considered one of the best in the Sekondi/Takoradi metropolis as far as vocational schools go. The classrooms are neat and spacious. As far as he knows, OAVI is the only free Vocational school in the Western Region where we also provide all the tools for their practical training for free.
The biggest challenge has always been finance. With more financial support, he says the school will be able to expand thereby admitting more and graduating more.
“We have had to turned down a number of qualified applicants due to lack of space. Our school Bus has now broken down and is at the mechanic’s shop now thus forcing a number of our students to walk several kilometers a day to and from school. We need a school bus so badly. Every year we lose not less than 10 female students to unwanted pregnancies even though we try as much as possible to teach and preach to them from the Bible,” he says.
In the next 5 years he intends to expand to admit 500 applicants at a time. In the long term, he intends to add more courses and workers and to make OAVI a degree awarding institute.
Heroes of Change background
Commenting on Daniel’s project, the Corporate Services Executive of MTN Ghana Samuel Koranteng said “we initiated the MTN Heroes of Change to identify and reward projects such as the Science Set.”
Mr. Asiamah was nominated for the MTN Heroes of Change Season 5 by Kweku Eshun, because he has and continues to see a lot of good in him. “Looking at the previous nominees of the MTN heroes of change who were able to make it through to the finals, I believe Mr. Asiamah has what it takes and more and perhaps the world need to hear of him, encourage him and motivate him.”
The other nine nominees are Diana Adjei, David Hagan, Louisa Enyonam Ansah, Rev Fr. Akologo Dominic Alale Azumah, Justin Yelevielbayire, Mawusi Awity, Charles Ofori Antipem, Frank Abeku Adams and Benjamin Akinkang. Their projects which range from health, education and economic empowerment have benefited members of their communities over the years.
MTN Heroes of Change Season 5 was launched in November 2018 and submission of entries ended on 25th January 2019. Since the inception of MTN Heroes of Change in July 2013, a total of 40 people have been identified and recognized on MTN Heroes of Change platform for committing their personal resources to improve their communities and brightening lives.
Four out of the total number emerged ultimate winners. They are Dr. Abrokwa-Yenkyera, a plastic surgeon and founder of Grafts Foundation; Madam Paulina Opei, founder of Save our Lives Orphanage; Genevieve Basigha founder of Research Utilization School for the Deaf; and Naomi Esi Amoah of Blessed Home Orphanage.
Heroes of Change Season 5 is airing on:
Friday: 6:00 pm
Saturday: 5:50 pm
Sunday: 5:50 pm
Saturday: 4:50 pm