Today we welcome Grace Amponsah, of A New Dawn, as our Guest Blogger. Grace, a graduate of Ashesi University, is also a member of Board of Directors. In 2014, she founded A New Dawn, a nonprofit whose goal is to nurture underprivileged teenage girls to build them into problem-solvers and agents of change in their communities.
"As a little girl living with my parents and siblings, life seemed great. I had food and toffee and was happy. However, in high school I realized that my parents were having difficulties providing for my basic needs. They were low-income earners and one of my siblings had special needs. As such, my sister and I often had to save our own money for food and clothing which we sometimes paid in bits. When I got kicked out of school because we could not afford to pay the school fees, my father borrowed money to settle the debt so I could return to class. Additionally, there were times when we only ate once or twice a day. We still sometimes do this, mainly to help us cater to our other pressing needs. The challenges I faced were numerous, but through them I developed the desire and hope to one day give my family a comfortable life.
My Christian faith was my source of energy in sailing through these situations. For instance, some of the Bible verses I always said to myself were “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “Count it all joy when ye fall into diverse trials and temptations knowing that that the trying of your faith worketh patience but let patience have its perfect work.”
Even though my parents did not go far in their own education, they were champions of excellence and encouraged me to aim higher in school and not settle for less. They always celebrated my accomplishments in school, which boosted my confidence. In addition I had mentors and friends who supported through advice, visits in school, food, clothing etc.
I successfully got into Ashesi University College on a MasterCard Foundation Scholarship and in my sophomore year I started selling airtime and snacks to provide for my personal needs. While in school, I founded the non-profit A New Dawn mainly because I believe there are thousands of girls out there like me who need support and mentorship to rise up with the grace and work hard in school despite their difficult challenges.
One of the many problems that young girls may face are numerous young and old men around who are doing everything possible to get us into intimate relationships in exchange for gifts and to catering to our needs. I personally had a fair share of these advances made at me several times. Luckily, I was abIe to boldly stop them. It takes strong values and mentorship to fight off all these temptations and challenges while still concentrating on school. Ultimately our focus is to build girls to be resilient and entrepreneurial so they can come up with innovative ideas to take care of themselves so they can realize their dreams.
Life does not stop throwing stones at us; however, we can learn to run for help and protection. We hope that this initiative that we have started will touch and impact young girls in Ghana and beyond in the years to come."