The Akua Kuenyehia Foundation has embarked on a programme to support girl-child education through the provision of a scholarship programme for needy girls.
The locally-based non-profit organisation, which is founded by the children of Justice Akua Kuenyehia, the first Vice President of the International Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague, the Netherlands, supports the education of brilliant but needy girls after they have gone through successful screening and registered to benefit from the scholarship scheme.
Over the years, negative perceptions about some people towards the education of the girl child have fuelled gender stereotypes and supported deep-rooted norms and traditions and beliefs that the girl’s role should be confined to the kitchen and for that reason, preference should be given to the education of boys as against the girl child.
But the performance of some female students who have made remarkable progress and climbed the educational ladder to the top, tends to give credence to the saying by the late Dr Kwegyir Aggrey, a renowned Ghanaian educationist, that “if you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.
As part of the scholarship package, the beneficiaries are also groomed and trained to be confident, time conscious, ensure personal hygiene and are exposed to other activities to enhance their skills through summer school programmes.
Operators of the foundation, who support their activities through local fund-raising programmes, have over the years, supported 27 girls who have been enrolled in SHS. The foundation has also supported about 10 girls to obtain sponsorship to the university.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic during an event to raise funds for the foundation, the Board Chairman of the foundation, Madam Joana Foster, said funds raised in a year depended on the number of girls that were offered the scholarship.
She explained that the beneficiaries were given the opportunity to develop their skills through craftwork and other handiworks such as bead-making, to fetch them some income while they were in school.
Despite the financial constraints, she said the foundation was committed to educating at least one girl child, who after her education, would make a difference in her family and community.
Mentoring young women
Justice Kuenyehia said taking into consideration the fact that women constituted 51 per cent of the country’s population, there was the need to educate women alongside men in order to develop the country.
Although most girls acquired basic level education, she expressed worry over the trend of more girls dropping out of school after the basic and junior high levels, stressing that “We need to educate more young women beyond the basic level so that we can get more women taking up leadership positions in the near future”.
She urged well endowed, professional and well educated women to mentor young girls and women, especially the less privileged ones, to also climb the ladder of education and success.
Sharing her experiences and how the foundation has helped her, Ms Beatrice Twum, who is currently preparing to go to the university, expressed her gratitude to the foundation.
“The foundation has indeed transformed my life and given me hope. When my dad lost his investment in a cocoa farm, the foundation paid my fees and took over my upkeep and ensured that I was doing my best in school”.
“I also had the opportunity to do an internship with 37 Military Hospital for six months as a nursing assistant which exposed me to the medical course I wanted to do at the university,” she said.