Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” At the Days for Girls Ghana Office, this mantra helps us grow and sustain our programming and impact across West Africa, through our team members and Enterprises.
The Days for Girls Tamale Enterprise, working in Ghana's Northern Region, has truly captured the essence of an impactful, forward-thinking operation. After several years of laying the groundwork, increasing awareness and visibility in the community, this Enterprise has now hit the ground running, striking partnerships with several local NGOs.
The Tamale Enterprise's emphasis on inclusion is also inspiring. For the second year now, its staff has distributed DfG Kits and conducted Ambassador of Women's Health trainings at deaf schools, training two deaf ambassadors on the AWH curriculum. Through its involvement with the Wa School of the Deaf and Gbeogo School of the Deaf (photo below), this Enterprise reached 243 deaf girls and their mothers this Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Aside from its amazing inclusive nature, the Tamale Enterprise's organizational structure is also unique and adaptive to the needs of the community. In Ghana's Northern Region, child marriages and early pregnancies are the norm. Rhoda Wedam, Tamale Enterprise's leader, has opened a small school for training young women in the art of sewing. The school currently has nine students and two instructors, who have received training from the Days for Girls Ghana Office. Rhoda dreams of "creating a marketers scheme targeting high school graduates," which would give the Enterprise the capacity to reach more villages.
I had the chance to visit this booming Enterprise earlier this month and sit down with many of the students. My conversation with one of them, Fuseina (photographed at sewing machine, below), stayed with me. At 19 years old, she has already been married for several years — as the second of two wives to an older man — and has a 3-year-old child.
Fuseina told me that she dropped out of high school because her father passed away and her mother couldn't afford to send all six of her children to school. Then, because she was at home doing nothing, her mother arranged for her to get married.
Why did you decide to become a student at Days for Girls Ghana Tamale Enterprise?
I had dropped out of school and was at home doing nothing. I decided that I should learn something that will help me in the future.
How do you feel about being a student?
I'm happy because every day when I wake up, I think about going out to do something for myself.
How do you feel about sewing DfG Kits?
I'm happy because the normal pads the girls use they will buy outside. But because these are washable, they can use them continuously. In this community, many do not have the money to buy disposable pads every month.
Do you use the washable pad?
Yes. I have been using the washable pads for about a year. I started using it after being introduced to it at the school.
How do you envision this schooling will help you in your future?
I want to own my own shop and sew clothes.
Interview is transcribed through a local translator.
Appiah Boakye is Days for Girls International's Ghana Office Director. For more information about volunteer or job opportunities with Days for Girls in West Africa, please email email@example.com.