Below is a sneak peek of Barikisu Muntari-Sumara's remarkable journey to Ashesi. You can read more stories about Ashesi students and graduates and the impact partners like you have in our 2013 Community Report.
Written by Barikisu: "I was at the market in Accra assisting my mother who is a petty trader of fruits, when I received the call that I had been accepted to Ashesi and was awarded a full scholarship. I screamed at the top of my lungs in the middle of the market— I was excited and honored. It took me days to be convinced that I was really going to attend Ashesi University.
My mother wept tears of joy. She thought I would never have the opportunity to attend university. I come from a community where most believe that a girl’s place is in the kitchen preparing to be a loyal wife to her future husband.
When I was thirteen, my father abandoned our family, leaving the five of us to live on a meager income. My mother knew I was smart and capable and reached out to my father for help funding my education. He refused my mother’s requests, and said that there is no benefit or need to educate girls. He said that if I were a boy, he might have considered my mother’s plea.
Despite our hardships, the expectations of my community, and often being encouraged by others to drop-out of school, I worked hard on my studies. After high school, I enrolled in a catering course with a local NGO. One of the program’s facilitators, Mr. Asante, saw potential in me and helped facilitate and fund my application to Ashesi. He believed in me and thought Ashesi would provide a scholarship for my good grades and family struggles. His advice and guidance paid off.
Gaining admission and a scholarship to attend Ashesi was a turning point in my life. I have learned to stand up for what I believe is right. I am now thinking about how society was meant to be, and how to be an ethical leader to create positive change. I volunteer as a tutor at the Berekuso Crèche and Nursery and Berekuso Primary and Junior High School helping kids learn English. I am also part a project called Upper Progress that improves education in the upper regions of Ghana.
After graduation, I hope to begin a master’s program in finance or investment banking and follow my passion for social entrepreneurship and giving back to society. With a better understanding of microfinance, I will be able to help women, like my mother, who work in the markets gain easy access to capital to grow their businesses. I also hope to continue my involvement with Upper Progress by funding the project and helping as many girls as possible get an education.
I have long known that women have equal potential as men, and should be given the proper training and education to take up challenges and develop the African continent. Ashesi has given me the skills to work for progress in my community, and helped me develop the confidence and sense of duty to speak up when I see something unjust or wrong. I cannot express in words how grateful I am to attend Ashesi and for the opportunities this scholarship has given me.
* Barikisu is a MasterCard Scholar. Thanks to a global partners and donors, 40% of students receive financial aid. If you, or a group you belong to, are interested in sponsoring a student, please email email@example.com.