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As nine and ten year olds here in America head off to school on a daily basis, many girls and boys that same age across the Atlantic Ocean in Ghana have already dropped out of school. In a country with over 23 million people, only 57 percent of the population over 15 years old can read and write. One man from Ghana is coming to Missouri State University to speak about life in the African country and how MSU students can help educate the kids there. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.
Just off the Atlantic coast in Western Africa sits the hot, dry and dusty country of Ghana.
In 1957, Ghana gained its independence and is listed as one of the poorest countries in West Africa by the CIA World Factbook.
Education and healthcare facilities are few and far between, which means a lot of the citizens there are uneducated and dying from disease.
Japhet Aryiku, who was born and raised in Ghana, is trying to change the lives of his country folk by building schools and doctors’ offices.
Aryiku created a non-profit organization called “Adakum Educational Foundation” to get schools built in his home country.
“Right now we are running a school. We have a school in Accra, which is a capsule of Ghana that has about 360 students from very poor neighborhoods or poor families. And we are providing them with some very good quality education as well as support in three other institutions in Ghana,” Aryiku said.
Aryiku runs the foundation from the U.S., and visits Ghana to see how the schools are doing.
He says the last time he visited Ghana, he noticed that the kids we coming to school hungry because they didn’t have enough money for breakfast.
He says he then started a free breakfast program for the students.
Aryiku says he also noticed that many of the kids were suffering from malaria, so he thought of a new program.
“This year we launch a program where we actually are going to the homes of the school children to install mosquito nets for them to help them fight the malaria epidemic, which is killing 2,000 children every day in Africa,” Aryiku said.
Aryiku’s foundation has also built medical centers.
He travels around the U.S. talking to people about life in Ghana and how Americans can help improve the education and healthcare there.
When he comes to speak at MSU, he will urge local students to actually travel to Ghana and use their education and skills to make a difference firsthand. “The need for the American public, not to simply give money away, but to actually become active and the young people to become active in going there and making sure that they participate in development projects that are taking place in Africa,” Aryiku said.
Aryiku says he wants to see all the people in Ghana become self-sufficient and stay as healthy as possible.
Japhet Aryiku will be speaking Monday, September 21st at 7 pm in the Plaster Student Union Ballroom West.
For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.