Supporting Ghana's young in education

27th October 2016

The latest update we have from Action Aid in Ghana includes a letter from 19 year old Mary Banda. Here Mary tells her story of family bereavement and severe financial difficulties for her mother and four siblings but it's also a story of achievement and hopefully a bright future for Mary as she pursues her dreams of becoming a doctor. Mary's story......

“I recently completed secondary school, an achievement I am extremely proud of. I am only the third person in my family to reach this level of education. I am positive I wouldn’t have done it without the support I received from The Next Step programme Action Aid run here in Ghana.

My father died when I was quite young, leaving my mother struggling to bring me, my sister and three brothers up alone. When I was just seven, things got very difficult for us all, my aunt died suddenly so my mum found herself looking after my two cousins as well.    Overnight, we found ourselves a big family with both the fun and struggles that brought with it. My mum grew peppers which she sold at market to earn a living, she also reared pigs when she could – you can make a lot of money from rearing pigs you know. During the summer holidays my brothers would find jobs working on other farms and my older sister would travel 4km to work in Nsawkaw market, the biggest in our area, finding whatever work she could to earn some money for the family.

Life was tough, but somehow we survived. Things changed for me in 2005, when Action Aid began working in our community. I was in grade four at the local primary school. Action Aid provided me and the other children in my school with books and pens. I was so pleased I no longer had to bother mum to buy this stuff, I knew she was worried about finding the money to buy the things I needed for school. Action Aid’s support was such a great help for me because it meant I could continue my education.

That wasn’t the only way that Action Aid helped improve schools in my area, they also constructed a kindergarten classroom, and provided schools with desks. However, my fondest memory from school came in 2011, when I was chosen to participate in Action Aid’s Girls Camp. It was my first and only time to travel to Accra (Ghana’s capital city). I’ll never forget the interesting places that I visited. But what I remember the most is the day that I met a lady doctor, she came to talk to me and the other girls at the camp about our futures. She told us stories of how at our age she had focused on getting good grades at school so that she could achieve her dream job. She also told us that if, as children, we do not like the hardships we are experiencing then we owe it to ourselves to rise above it and help improve the situation, not just for ourselves but for those who come after us.

Her talk really touched me and I thought over what she had said for many weeks. I studied as hard as I could, putting in extra effort in all of my lessons. I successfully passed my Basic Education Certificate              Examinations. And then, along with 30 other children, I was chosen to receive a full scholarship from the Asutifi District Assembly (the local governing council). I have just completed my secondary education and I am eagerly awaiting the results of my final exams. But I am confident of passing and securing a place at university to study medicine. My dream is to become a doctor and provide medical care in my village or perhaps even set up the first clinic there, if one hasn’t been established by the time I have finished my training.”

Warren wish Mary every success and hope she realises her dreams.

If you would like to consider supporting ActionAid, visit their website -    

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