I started teaching as a Peer Educator in youth empowerment programs when I was 15 years old. Since that moment, I have always believed that interactive teaching and knowledge sharing is the best direct way to empower an individual. I grew up in a developing country, Serbia, located in the Western Balkans. My childhood was very similar to the environment in Humjibre, the rural Velika Plana, located 100 km from the capital of Belgrade, but in terms of opportunities and development, very different from the capital. That is one of the reasons why, from the first day, I felt that Humjibre was my second home.
The first and probably the biggest impression is that there are lot of similarities in mentality, culture and cuisine between Serbian and Ghanaian people. For example, one of my favourite traditional dishes in Ghana is abomu (vegetable stew), in which is the same in Serbia although we call it sataras. Furthermore, the cuisines both include lot of beans and potatoes – and I love it!
Regarding the mentality, main social norms are based on collectivism and the role and importance of family. Furthermore, most of the time when it comes to teaching, art or professions related to humanity, the case is that creativeness plays a huge role. Serbians and Ghanaians are capable of creating pleasant and innovative environment with minimum resources – which can often lead to innovative and different approaches in thinking outside of the box and being flexible enough to adjust. Every day they must innovate in order to survive. Every day they persistently try to turn their creativity into sustainable development.
The fact is that, in every developing country the needs are similar. Youth and children need more opportunities for growth and development, and most of the time those needs are covered by community efforts and great, generous people.
That is why, I am absolutely delighted, inspired and enthusiastic about joining the GHEI team and working on such important projects such as Girls Empowerment, Tutoring Centre, and Early Learning Literacy programs which empower children and youth to become independent, brave, responsible for their own future and to make their own choice while becoming the best version of themselves.
Probably one of the best things about living in Humjibre is the opportunity to live in the source of Ghanaian culture, being daily immersed in habits and mentality of the people. From my own perspective, it is the realisation and experience that we have so many things in common: from day to day mentality, social norms, cuisine…
By using teaching as a direct tool to guide youth and children through their own development, we continue to make an impact in the community, but even beyond, once the youth become older they can scale their impact by empowering other youth and that is how in the long term we are building bridges.
While writing this, the most empowering thought is that people have one main purpose in life, and that it is to build bridges between people, nationalities, countries and continents. I hope I will be able to bring at least half of this cultural experience to my country, Serbia, and to connect more Serbian, Balkan people with Ghanaians and West Africa