Last month, Ashesi University Foundation Donor Trip participants and Trustees had the pleasure of attending the formal launch of the student initiated project called Adesua Ye, meaning, 'education is paramount’ in the Akuapim language. Started by two Ashesi students, Leonard Annan, a Computer Science major, and Sela Kwaku Agbakpe, a Business Administration major, Adesua Ye addresses the problem of illiteracy by tutoring and coaching adults in English literacy, numeracy and personal development.
“We believe that Adesua Ye can empower the whole community to be the change they seek,” said Agbakpe of their work in the small rural town of Berekuso, where Ashesi is located.
The ALP was originally started in response to communication challenges that the Ashesi student community faced when they began engaging with the town of Berekuso to start development projects. Agbakpe notes, “Through interviews and informal discussions, we realized that most adults in Berekuso did not take education seriously. This phenomenon posed a negative effect on their children’s views on education. Among them were cultural beliefs and tradition, poverty, and poor government policies.”
Thanks to a partnership with the Dalai Lama Fellow Program, which encourages a new generation of emerging leaders to address pressing global challenges with effective social change, the team received $10,000 in project funding to scale up Adesua Ye. Ashesi is part of an exclusive list of twelve international campuses that participate in the Dalai Lama Fellows program – along with other schools such as Stanford, Oberlin and Princeton.
The first batch of students to participate in Adesua Ye were between 18 and 36 years old. Adesua Ye’s robust curriculum entails a mindset workshop/seminar, numeracy and the fundamentals in reading and writing in English.
In heartfelt addresses at the opening ceremony, a number of Adesua Ye students shared what learning to read and write in English meant to them. Thanks to the program, these students can more effectively run their local businesses, can communicate with doctors when a family member needs medical attention, and can help their children with their studies.
The second phase of Adesua Ye will be the construction of a bus library. “We hope to acquire Ashesi University’s old bus to carry out this phase. This library will be the first-ever public library in Berekuso. The library will be open to the entire community, including children and adults," noted Agbakpe.
Over the next five years, Adesua Ye hopes to achieve a 100% literacy level among the adults in Berekuso. “We have a big vision for this project – to expand it to all other parts of Ghana that have weak literacy levels," said Sela.
* Photo below courtesy of Ronda Broatch, a 2013 Annual Trip Participant