A Ban Against Neglect (ABAN)

To transform an environmental epidemic into hope by empowering young and impoverished women in Ghana, and providing them with the tools necessary to practice a trade, make a living, and become self-reliant leaders of their community.
Aug 29, 2014

ABAN's Third Graduation

Anita, 2014 graduate
Anita, 2014 graduate

Dear Friends,

We are so pleased to announce that on August 2nd, 2014, eleven young women received certificates stating they had successfully completed A Ban Against Neglect’s Women’s Empowerment Program. This is our THIRD graduating class! The certificate proved that the women received training in a vocational skill and basic business practices. But the certificate means much more than just this. This certificate shows the young woman is transforming her life. It shows she is providing for herself and her child. It shows she is part of a growing community of young women in Ghana that are unleashing their potential through ABAN’s programs!

The following is a speech read by two of our graduates at the ceremony. We think it sums up their journey through our programs well!


QUEEN MOTHERS, FAMILY, INVITED GUESTS, FRIENDS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

God has been good to us in so many ways and today, in the presence of everyone, we want to thank Him. We thank God for the blessings of life he has given us, for the gift of our children He has blessed us with and for the opportunity to have gone through two-year training with ABAN. Today, eleven of us like many before us, graduate from this program. Most of us came here alone without any company. We walked in by ourselves. We came with few dreams and little hope, and yet today, we leave with plenty.

We look around us and see a totally different picture of ourselves today. Our little babies then crawling are now walking and talking. Our knowledge and skills have been developed. Our lives have been transformed and our future is looking bright.

For two years, we brought ourselves to a kind of discipline we thought we could not come under. We accepted the changes that came into our lives because we knew they were for our own good. We welcomed a tradition that was foreign to us but has eventually become a part of our everyday life; a tradition of hope, faith and trust, of hard work and of change. We would like to sum this change up by using our director’s favorite proverb: “Break the rules.’’ We broke the rule that said we were marginalized and so had to be poor. We broke the rule that said our children have to suffer for our mistakes. The rule that said we will not be here today in this celebration of success, like you all can see, is being broken as we speak.

We as a team have shared so many things together. We have lived together while being happy and sad, doubtful and optimistic, fearful and yet very hopeful. We know that this is going to be the beginning of a new life for us. We are going to put into practice all that we have learned over the years. But we know it’s not going to be easy. We are hopeful that we will succeed in life and we ask that you pray for us.

Whilst in ABAN, we were like children. As children, we talked like children, thought like children, dreamt like children, behaved like children. We know we have made mistakes, but we have also grown. Now is the time to make the best of our life and create a legacy that our children will be proud of someday. We will continue to learn until we can also teach and be a blessing to others.

Long live ABAN. God bless you all!

Thank you.

We are so proud of all of our graduates and cannot wait to see them continue to transform their future!

Esther, 2014 graduate
Esther, 2014 graduate
Class of 2014!
Class of 2014!
Jun 5, 2014

Gladys Graduates from ABAN

Gladys Obuo
Gladys Obuo

In August 2014, Gladys Obuo will graduate from ABAN as a trained seamstress. This is no small accomplishment – her hard work of the past two years has equipped and empowered her to break free from a cycle of poverty. Gifts from donors like you have given Gladys the strength and resources to build a stable future for herself.

Soon she will return to Tutu, a city north of Accra where her grandmother and siblings live, and begin a sewing apprenticeship. Before celebrating this important next step, Gladys agreed to share her memories of ABAN with us.

What is your favorite memory of your time spent with ABAN? 
I am happy every day here because all girls in the house get together to chat and do other fun things together. But this place can also be quiet. Everyone is kind of in control of their own life. So I get time to reflect on my life and what I want for my future.

How have the women of ABAN, staff and classmates, empowered and inspired you?
When I entered the program, I had a lot of issues bugging me and I would cry a lot. I learned to open up to people and when I did that, I received advice, support and encouragement. At ABAN, I know I am never alone. I am now able to concentrate on my apprenticeship and not worry so much about everything.

How has ABAN helped you surmount the challenges you face as a woman in your community? 
The skill training has definitely helped me. I know that once I am perfect at dressmaking, I will be financially sound to make good and healthy decisions.

What was your favorite childhood toy?
I had a Barbie doll, the kind that you could braid the hair. I sewed dresses for her and carried her with me everywhere.

What would you do if you won $1,000,000?
I would start up a big business in dressmaking. I would get all the industrial machines I would need for a smooth operation and employ a lot of people to work for me. I would invest in other businesses as well, like selling cloth in a cloth factory.

If you could start your own nonprofit today, what would be its mission?
To take care of young girls from poor homes experiencing abuses of all forms. Just like ABAN does, I would like to give them shelter and the opportunity to make better lives for themselves.

What advice would you give to a new ABAN girl?
I would plead with them to be patient and remain focused on their skill training so that they can take better care of themselves in the near future. I would want them to know that this is just a phase that will pass, but before it does they must take advantage of the programs that ABAN is offering in order to be great.

Mar 18, 2014

Denicia's Journey

Denicia at Graduation
Denicia at Graduation

Denicia told us that when she joined ABAN she was just looking for a place to sleep, stay, and feel safe.

Now, a year and a half after finishing ABAN’s two-year women’s empowerment program, she is back in Secondary School or “SS” (the U.S. equivalent of high school) and her son Desmond has started nursery school.

Denicia had always dreamed of following in her grandfather’s footsteps to become a military officer. But in order to accomplish this goal, she knew she would have to return to school.

A unique donor came forward and offered to sponsor Denicia to return to secondary school after she graduate in 2012. This sponsorship was created as a revolving loan, meaning that Denicia has five years to pay it back after she graduates. Once the loan has been repaid in full, the sponsorship will be granted to another ABAN graduate who shares similar dreams of returning to school!

Denicia is currently in her final term of SS. Her favorite class is social studies because the professor tells entertaining stories that make the whole class laugh. She is on the recreational soccer team and scored the game-winning goal against their biggest rival at the end of last season! She also started a recycling initiative on her school’s campus when she saw them burning the plastic waste. The school now collects the plastic for ABAN to transform into empowering products!

We recently sat down with Denicia to catch up and hear about her plans for the future.

We asked what she saw for herself 10 years from now.

She said, “I pray I’ll be successful, that I can take care of Desmond, be employed as a soldier. I’ll be a role model to other girls and young mothers…young SINGLE mothers!”

When we asked what she defined success as, she explained, “When someone starts out rich, it’s hard to tell if they’ve been successful. But if you struggle in life…then one day you can look back and say yes, I’ve done well. I’m successful. That’s me.”

Denicia Modeling an ABAN Purse
Denicia Modeling an ABAN Purse
Denicia
Denicia's Son, Desmond
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