It is in view of this that individuals, groups and organisations are coming out with the little they can offer to bring out the girl child to the level where they could meaningfully participate and contribute to the development of the communities in which they live and the nation as a whole.
In Ghana one of such institutions is the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana, (GEIG) an educational
non-governmental organization founded on the premise to provide academic and financial support for girls, and applicants with special needs to enable them access higher education and professional opportunities.
GEIG says because girls and women are the most vulnerable victims of poverty due to unemployment and poor opportunities for survival as well as marginalisation and low social status, it is important to provide the needed assistance to prop and help them go through the required education that would bring them to the lime light in future.
In its small beginning, Elizabeth Patterson, Founder & Executive Director, says GEIG has supported 12 students in the Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions in the past two years. Two of these girls, Hamdalatu Mustapha and Barbara Gyasi, who are from the Ashanti Region have become pioneers of the first class in reaching some of its goals.
Seventeen year old Hamdalatu Mustapha is a graduate of St. Augustine’s Anglican Junior High School,(JHS) where for three years she served as girls prefect and the senior girls prefect in her final year.
Hamdalatu comes from a modest upbringing; her grandmother sells charcoal in the market and her aunt, whom she lives with, is a trader as well. A very charismatic girl, Hamdalatu hopes to become a nurse in the future. She has gained admission to Fumena Ahmadidya Senior High School (SSS) as a general arts student.
Hamdalatu says “I am looking forward to enter the SSS. I know it will be challenging at first being so far away from home but the GEIG vacation classes in Accra last August has really prepared me to be independent and I’m very excited for this chapter of my education…
If it was not for GEIG’s support I would probably not be thinking of SSS and university.”
An equally gifted student, Barbara Gyasi informed GEIG of her decision to take the Basic Education Certificate Examinations, BECE, as a rising third year JHS student.
With guidance and support from her family and GEIG, Barbara made her family and GEIG proud when she
scored well enough to skip her third year of JHS and will begin studies at Asanteman Senior High School.
The Gyasi family lost their father four years ago in an automobile accident; Georgina Gyasi, her mother was left without ample support. She is underemployed as she is afflicted with polio and has limited mobility.
Barbara has been admitted as a science student with an aspiration to be a doctor. She is therefore excited about the journey ahead and says “I understand how great this opportunity is. ‘’Not only am I a GEIG pioneer, I’m also setting an example for my younger sister Tracy”.
GEIG is proud of Hamdalatu and Barbara and looking forward to next year, when our third year of operations would see our remaining 10 girls progress as well as enroll into higher institutions of learning, says Madam Patterson.
The Clarion call is for all Ghanaians to join hands with those already on the ground such as GEIG to help bring our girls to the level where they can equally rub shoulders with their men counterparts to go through the needed education, build their capacity and thereafter contribute meaningfully to the development of Mother Ghana.