Dr Ophelia Ohenewa Mefful: Tale of determination, triumph
Dr Ophelia Ohenewa Mefful, an example of resilience and hard work, stands as a testament to both human determination and divine providence.
Despite encountering numerous obstacles throughout her life, she managed to surmount them and recently graduated from the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Fashion.
Dr Mefful currently serves as a lecturer at the Takoradi Technical University, where she continues to inspire others with her journey.
She was born at the Burma Camp in Accra, to the late Ex WO1 Henry Ohene and Beatrice Kumiwa, both from Kpalime Duga near Anum Boso in the Volta Region.
Dr Mefful's early years were marked by the need to take on responsibility at a tender age. While her peers engaged in carefree childhood pursuits, she had to support herself and navigate through school to reach her present position.
Her educational path began at Burma Camp Primary School before relocating to her hometown when her father retired.
“There I continued my primary and junior secondary school education and later attended Anum Secondary School in the Eastern Region. However, my educational journey was far from smooth sailing,” she stated.
Despite her exceptional intellect, challenging economic conditions at home hindered her progress. Furthermore, her parents' divorce added to the difficulties she faced. Nonetheless, she chose to reside with her father and stepmother, displaying strength and determination in the face of adversity.
Awaiting her results after completing JHS, Dr Mefful travelled to Accra to sell ice-water and save money to purchase school supplies for senior high school. She used the funds from her sales to acquire essential items, seeking advice from friends who resided in boarding houses whenever they returned home.
While her ultimate aspiration was to become a pilot, fate intervened when she did not achieve the desired results in her Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSSCE), failing two of her elective subjects.
After two unsuccessful attempts to rewrite the exams, she resolved to wait for her elder brother, who was attending university, to complete his studies and secure a job to support her education.
As her peers embarked on their tertiary education journeys, Dr Mefful faced mounting frustration and desolation due to her academic setbacks, even contemplating suicide.
“Concerned about my well-being, my mother encouraged me to enrol in a sewing apprenticeship.”
Dr Mefful heeded her mother's advice, joining an apprenticeship programme in Boso near her hometown. She spent one and a half years there before continuing her training in Accra for another one and a half years. After completing her apprenticeship, she opened her own shop and subsequently enrolled in a vocational school at Abokobi, a suburb of Accra to further hone her skills as a seamstress.
Journey to Takoradi
Dr Mefful's journey to Takoradi Technical University can only be described as a fairy tale, as it deviated from her original plan. While attending the vocational school at Abokobi, she registered for a remedial class to better her grades.
The headmistress of the school generously paid her fees and procured the necessary forms for her to pursue an Intermediate Certificate in Fashion at what was then known as Takoradi Polytechnic.
Despite her dire financial circumstances, with her mother even discouraging her from attending Takoradi Technical University due to the lack of funds for tuition, accommodation and sustenance, Dr Mefful remained resolute, trusting in the Lord to make a way where there seemed to be none.
Miraculously, a chance encounter with a kind stranger in a car journeying to Takoradi resulted in the stranger offering to pay half of her fees.
To support herself financially, she undertook menial jobs such as assisting lecturers at home, cooking and cleaning. Her determination to persevere was unwavering, leading her to spend vacations on campus, performing tasks assigned by the generous benefactor who had initially paid her fees.
Dr Mefful faced innumerable struggles throughout her educational journey, yet she triumphed. She completed her studies, enrolled in a Higher National Diploma course, and during her second year, she got married.
Initially, she had reservations about entering a relationship, as her focus was firmly fixed on her studies, but after prayerful consideration and consultation with her pastor, she agreed to marry.
Her husband assumed her financial responsibilities, paying her fees while she pursued a Bachelor of Technology in Fashion. Subsequently, she secured a position as a Senior Instructor at the Fashion Department of TTU.
Married to Reverend John Mefful, the couple is blessed with two children, a boy and a girl. Reflecting on her journey, Dr Mefful acknowledges that her achievements are a result of divine grace.
She encourages everyone facing challenges to never lose hope, regardless of their humble beginnings. With unwavering trust in God and steadfast obedience, one can surmount any obstacle and ultimately realise their dreams.