Christiana Fosu is 15 years old, enjoys chatting with her friends, and attends junior high school. Based on this description, she could live anywhere in the world. The following information might narrow it down somewhat: Christiana does not have running water in her home, shares a small room with her three sisters, has to wash all her clothes by hand, and goes to school at 6.30 am every morning.
Christiana lives in Humjibre, Ghana. And what does life in Humjibre look like? Read about a typical day in Christiana’s life and find out.
Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
In the morning, Christiana gets up at 5.30 am, as she always does. She bathes, changes into her brown-yellow school uniform, and leaves for school. She is one of the firsts to arrive at the public District Assembly school. After opening her classroom’s doors and windows, which offer an amazing view over the surrounding green hills, she sits in her usual seat and reads until it is time for school to start at eight o’clock. “I prefer to read here at school, rather than at home”, explains Christiana. Her favorite subject is social science, which touches upon many historical and political events in Ghana. “I also like math a lot, although I don’t think I am very good at it”, she laughs.
The Fosu family: Christiana (3rd from the right) and her father James, her mother Regina, and her three sisters: Nancy, Catherine and Charlotte
Christiana’s school starts at 8 am and ends at 3.30 pm. But then she is not done studying for the day. As one of the brightest students in her class, Christiana joined the Youth Education Program (YEP) two years ago. This means that from Monday through Thursday, Christiana spends an additional hour-and-a-half every day in class studying, to prepare herself for senior high school. It seems like a lot. YEP for four days a week on top of five days of school. Doesn’t she get tired of studying? “No, I don’t. I like both”, Christiana’s answers.
Christiana talking to her classmates before school starts
When the bell rings at 3.30 pm, Christiana walks home and changes into her regular clothes. Within an hour she has to be at her YEP class. One of the things the YEP program focuses on is preparing the Form 3 students, those who are in their last year of junior high school, which includes Christiana, to take the BECE test. The BECE stands for Basic Education Certificate Examination and has to be passed in order for a student to attend senior high school. Something Christiana is certainly planning to do.
In her YEP class, Christiana studies alongside fifteen other students – a number that is very different from the seventy that marks the amount of students that join her in class in public school during the day. Today in YEP class, the students study information and communication technology. Teacher Eric Yeboah asks questions the kids can expect on their BECE. To make it more exciting, they are divided in two teams. The team that gets most questions right, wins. Generally, one would picture an ICT lesson taking place behind a computer or laptop. However, these are not widely available or affordable in Ghana. The kids study ICT like they would study for any other subject: from books. Occasionally, the teacher draws something on the whiteboard to clarify an issue, like what a pop-up looks like. Christiana receives a motivational round of applause from her classmates after she gave a correct answer to the question: “What is the difference between a file and a folder?”.
Christiana (r) in her YEP class
When her YEP class finishes at 6pm, Christiana heads home to have dinner with her parents and her sisters. Tonight on the menu is fufu – a dish that is not only popular with the Fosu family, but among Ghanaians in general. After dinner, there is not a lot left to do except to get some rest. After all, Christiana rises early again tomorrow.
The YEP program is provided by GHEI to encourage talented junior high school students to pursue higher education. At GHEI, there is a strong focus on female empowerment, resulting in a minimum of 60% girls’ enrollment in YEP. By sharing Christiana’s story with you, we aim to reduce prevalent stereotypes of Africa and African youth, and hope to show you how hard the students of Humjibre work to excel in school. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, GHEI is able to help girls like Christiana perform well in school and attend senior high school. When we enable students to become educated individuals, we can realize a future where these empowered young people will lead their communities out of poverty. Christiana will take the BECE in June and – with a 100% passing rate last year – we have no doubt that she will succeed.