• Social Innovation Fellowship

Award Year 

Self-Sustainability for Profesa

The Professional Secretarial Academy of Ghana (PROFESA) is a non-profit vocational training school for the women and girls of Abeka, Ghana who cannot afford to attend high school. By providing these women with computer skills they are able to attain jobs that allow them to achieve economic stability and open the door to options other than selling goods on the streets of Accra. Currently, Longitude, a Providence-based non-profit, is financially supporting PROFESA and both organizations would like to move the Academy toward self-sufficiency. With Longitude's support, I will be doing field research in Ghana, networking with the community, and working closely with the school's founder to create a model of self-sustainability for the Academy in order to ensure its continued work to better the lives of Abeka's impoverished women.

Personal Statement

I have been volunteering with Longitude since my freshman year, working on an array of projects including the launch of the organization's new website. During this time I have begun to understand the difference an education makes in a life as I contrast my own studies at Brown University with the experience of the students who are fighting to receive an education by attending PROFESA. I have witnessed the reality of one manwith a vision, to help young women break from the structural poverty that, once immersed in it, seems inescapable. This man, Meshach Bondzie, founded the Academy and provides these girls with a leg to stand on and a chance to move beyond the conditions they were born into, something that everyone deserves. This is what inspires me about PROFESA, the idea that inexpensive training and education can alter the course of a human life dramatically, and it is this understanding that motivates me to want to help ensure that Meshach's school remains a permanent fixture in Abeka.