April 22, 2016
In line with their mission to empower young girls in Berekuso, A New Dawn held “Yewo Mmaasima,” translated from the local parlance as “We have cultured ladies.” The aim of this event was not only to celebrate and empower girls, but also to highlight the role of stakeholders, including parents, brothers and close relations, in the raising of girls.
“There is the perception that there are too many initiatives targeted just at women and girls,” said MasterCard Scholar Grace Amponsah ’16, founder of A New Dawn. “However, Yewo Mmaasima is a program that sought to help us understand the importance of empowering girls and the role and benefit to stakeholders in making this work.”
Speaking at the event was Phyllis Kuenyehia, a Cisco Certified Inter-network expert who also serves as the Director of Events for the North American Women’s Association (NAWA) Ghana. She encouraged the stakeholders in attendance to support the empowerment of girls. “Girls are not weak; we empower girls so they can show strength,” she said. “From the word go, we naturally take care of others. And people who take care of others need to be equipped and empowered to take care of themselves.”
For the event, there was a mix of dance performances, sketches and spoken word pieces by the girls of A New Dawn, boys from the Berekuso high school and students of Ashesi. Gifty Mensah, co-founder and Executive Director of Global Alliance for Development Foundation (GADef) also urged the girls and stakeholders to take advantage of their education.
“Empowering women is just affirming their basic rights as human beings,” she said. “Every young girl can be empowered, starting from providing education. Once the issues the young ones faced are tackled, it has a trickle down effect to the rest of society.”
Since its inception, A New Dawn, a Dalai Lama funded-initiative, aimed to tackle barriers to education faced by girls in Berekuso, and help them develop stronger potential for success, has groomed a number of girls from Berekuso in various growth related programs. While a number of the girls have set up social enterprises aimed at solving some of the pressing social issues in Berekuso, a few have taken up prefectural positions in high school.
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