Leadership through service: Students volunteer in communities around Ghana

November 3, 2019
Afriyie Attafuah ‘21’s mid-semester break wasn’t the typical one. Unlike other breaks, she didn’t make plans for a road trip or time at home getting rest from school work.

Instead, along with some friends at Ashesi, she spent her mid-semester week teaching English to middle school students in Berekuso.

Working on a nearby farm in Berekuso, a group of students repair a rain harvesting and irrigation system.

“When you’re in a position where you have a lot at your disposal, blessed always to receive, you sometimes forget to give back,” Afriyie shared. “For me, this is an opportunity to show generosity and care; and it is satisfying.”

While volunteering their time and resources is not exactly what most people expect to be doing during a mid-semester break, spending the recess this way is becoming commonplace for most students in their junior year at Ashesi.

Michael Ansah ‘21 worked in Afienya, on the outskirts of Tema, assisting nurses to weigh babies and perform a range of post-natal services for mothers within the neighborhood.

At Ashesi, community service and engagement is an integral part of the student learning experience; a mechanism for helping students see how they can use what they learn to solve meaningful problems in communities around them. The fourth of the university’s Leadership Classes, helps students define a method for this and bring structure to how to they volunteer.

“When students learn to give off themselves this way, it fosters citizenship and collaborative development even in their individual careers,” shared Rose Dodd, Leadership Seminar IV Faculty. “Students learn to see themselves as members of a larger society and develop a sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of all. They also learn to consider more deeply the impact of their careers on society.”

A group of students built teaching aids for the Peer Educators Network program, which is focused on using ‘every-day’ materials to help make teaching and learning of science and math more effective.

And for Afriyie and her friends and other students in the class, spending time teaching, or helping renovate a playground, or helping nurses weigh babies, the lessons driven home are beyond merely serving people or a community.

“When supporting the work of others, you have to come from a place of love and care because that’s when you’d be able to make the most impact in their lives,” she added. “It’s hard to serve others well when you don’t care.”

Ohemaa Yirenkyi and team lead students of St. Joseph’s Anglican school in a session on social etiquette.

Ohemaa Yirenkyi and team lead students of St. Joseph’s Anglican school in a session on social etiquette. 


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