How a determined young woman started her education at age 14. Born in 1986, Faustina Ahiamadzi was given away as a baby. Her father, a polygamous man, paid more attention to the offspring of his other wives.
Faustina’s mother, Rose Darrah, needed to make a living and was left with little choice but to move to Okyeso in the Central Region, leaving her daughter in the care of a friend in the Volta Region. Rose’s friend promised to look after her and provide her with an education. Sadly, this friend passed away soon after and Faustina was handed to another lady, who prioritized short term gain over long term investments: Faustina was made to work instead of being sent to school. For years, Faustina was sent out every day to sell things – gari and cloth – at Kotokuraba in the Central Region and never stepped inside a classroom. Things changed when she was 14: Faustina’s mother came back for her and brought her back to Okyeso. Having seen the poverty cycle that her friends and neighbours were trapped in, Faustina told her mother she wanted to go to school. At her age, many naysayers – mainly her mother’s friends – thought she was too old to start schooling. In fact, they thought her time would be better spent earning a living by helping her mother sell gari (a Ghanaian staple made from cassava). Besides, what was the point of studying? She would soon be back in the kitchen as a housewife, wouldn’t she? Well, Faustina is in the kitchen indeed, but for an altogether different reason. “My life story was unremarkable and I wanted to change that. I want to be the author of my life story.” This fiercely determined young woman, in spite of taunts from her younger classmates, started her formal education in Class 2 at the age of 14. Given the financial constraints mother and daughter faced, Faustina was on several occasions, forced to stop school to work, selling fabrics in the market. Once she had earned enough for her school fees, she went back to class. This repeated over the next few years and was, of course, a challenging situation. She eventually had a chat with her headmistress who directed her to CRAN, who started sponsoring her. She was in Class 6 then. Faustina has gone from strength to strength. Today, at 25, she is a student at Social Welfare Girls Vocational School in Cape Coast, where she is training to be a professional caterer. During an industrial attachment at the Sanaa Lodge, she performed so well that the employers offered her a job, but Faustina declined because she was, and still is, focused on completing her education. Faustina dreams of opening her own restaurant some day. She says, “I wouldn’t have made it this far without CRAN’s financial support.” CRAN continues to sponsor her today.