Aspire Young People’s Initiative Ghana (YPI-GHANA) is a registered non-profit organization aimed at tackling issues affecting children living in the rural communities; most importantly the girl child. We invest in rural communities where the girl child faces a lot of challenges. They are disadvantaged and are not empowered and lag behind when it comes to the beautiful things happening in the urban areas like women excelling in education, women taking leadership roles and women driving. It’s a big deal for us because they are exempted from what is happening elsewhere. We empower these children and challenge them to do more for themselves despite their background to succeed in life with integrity and to be responsible in order to contribute to the development of their community and country as a whole. Hence our motto is ‘’ASPIRE TO INSPIRE’’. We realized that mentoring, coaching and educating help in children’s upbringing. We are there as an NGO to mentor, educate and coach these young ones in their choices in life especially where they find it difficult to decide for themselves.
Since its establishment in November 2014, YPI-GHANA has been involved in innovative programs such as the Autism Awareness campaign which took place at the Ghana Institute of Journalism as well as donations to the Autism Awareness Care Centre in Kokomlemle, Accra. We also organised an educational seminar held in Akyem Awisa in the Birim South District in the Eastern part of Ghana for the Senior High School Girls which brought on board the renowned Broadcast Journalist and Gender Activist Oheneyere Gifty Anti as the guest speaker on the topic ‘’WISE UP YOUNG LADY’’.
In 2016, YPI-Ghana with the help of a great team and donations from individuals built the first toilet facility for the Akyem Bomso R/C Primary school, a rural community in the Eastern Region. The toilet facility had one seat each for teachers, boys and girls. This was to solve the problem of students going home during class hours with the excuse of visiting the toilet only to end up following bad friends and sometimes not even returning to class to study. Also, this was to solve the problem the girls had with keeping themselves neat whilst menstruating in order not to go all the way home just to change a sanitary pad.
Currently, we are working on an anti-teenage pregnancy campaign and back-to-school project which was launched in Akyem Atuntumirem in the Eastern Region in March 2017. The anti-teenage pregnancy campaign is to educate children, especially the girls on the dangers of teenage pregnancy and the implications it has on the mother and the child as well. This is because teenage pregnancy is very high especially in the rural areas and also to get the girls who are willing, to go back to school or learn a trade. We encourage the teenage mothers to pick themselves up and face life again one more time since most of them have no support or encouragement from the people around them which forces most of them to put their lives on hold. We believe it is time we moved past the talk on both the radio and television, and get close to them in order to understand them better so we can help them. Unfortunately, most of the people involved do not listen to the radio or watch television and so we believe it is better to get close to them and to their level to understand them.
During the launch, some of the girls opened up to us that the reason for their early pregnancy is due to poverty. During their menstrual period, for example, some of the girls, due to the inconvenience and shame of using rags because of the lack of money to buy sanitary pads end up in the arms of men who promise to buy them sanitary pads but only in exchange for sex. Unfortunately, some men do not even give the girls the pads after having sex with them. Worse, some of the girls end up pregnant. This broke our hearts and we decided to share sanitary pads which will last them for three months and go back to them every three months. The first donation happened on 29th July as part of an educational program was organized for the teenagers in the Birim South District in the Eastern Region. Madam Emma Akyea-Boakye Nee Osei-Duah was the guest speaker for the topic ‘’THE FUTURE IS NOW TO EMBRACE”. The program also brought on board a coach who educated them on self –confidence, and a nurse who tackled menstrual hygiene and how to use the sanitary pad. The boys were not excluded in this education because we believe boys see menstruation differently and need to be enlightened on what exactly it is. The sad part is how most of these girls have not seen sanitary pad before let alone, using it. Together with the girls, we went on a float to educate the community about what we are campaigning and crying for and had fun games after for socialization. We have been able to sign on eight teenage mothers of which one person who is 30years and a mother of three, is willing to continue her education at the senior high school level while the rest are ready to learn a trade.
Under YPI-GHANA is “THE ASPIRE TO INSPIRE NETWORK” where aspiring and successful women, especially those who grew up in rural communities share their stories not excluding their challenges and how they overcame them in order to inspire and empower young people aspiring to be like them in future. We also aim to serve as a network platform to connect with other women striving in their various fields. YPI-GHANA envisions a world where children, especially girls in the rural communities, are empowered, educated and valued and grow up responsible enough to inspire the other generation so collectively we all help in the development of our community and country. Only when they receive education can we meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Our biggest challenge is with finance and transportation to the villages but we hope to get support from donors and individuals to sponsor the girls to school and also provide them sanitary pads. We also want to be well-established enough as an organisation to cater for more children. In future, we want to form an association where young girls in the rural communities supported by YPI-GHANA will complete their various programs to also serve as mentors so they will be connected across Ghana and hopefully Africa and come together at a boot camp to inspire and teach other young beneficiaries using whatever they acquired through our programs.