Category Archives: Stories

Okponglo, Accra, April 17, 2018.

The Future of Africa team begun a life-transformation on April 17 to free three girls ages 16, 15 and 14 from the brutal realities of living in the streets of Accra.

When these girls were not sleeping in dark mosquito infested shacks at Airport Bush, they slept on the sidewalks of Marina Mall, Opeibea Intersection or the Legion slum. They survived on pocket change from begging and on bad days on food from the trash bins of Kotoka International Airport and Holiday Inn Accra. Out of fear for their safety, these girls befriended boys in the street who often took advantage of their desperation and demanded for sexual favors in exchange for protection, money and food.

The FOA team got to know these girls through their weekly Good Neighbors Program. FOA Leaders engage children in street situations in literacy, arts and craft and other fun activities.  They share meals and engage in conversations to get to know them as well as convince them of a better life off the streets.

These girls were keen to pursue a better life after surviving multiple physical abuse, rape and neglect for 17 years. They are currently enrolled in a boarding school where they have access to safety, quality education, counseling and a hope to realize their full potential.

FOA is committed to helping these children transform their lives. We are making efforts to reunite these children with family. Our plan is to equip them to be responsible young leaders to transform their communities one day.

 

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December 9, 2016 – Members of the Ashesi community gathered at the Archer Cornfield courtyard, one final time this semester, for the Christmas on the Hill concert.

Started four years ago by the Decibels, a student-led music group, the event which has grown into an annual tradition at Ashesi, celebrates the warmth of the holiday season. With performances of music, dance and spoken-word poetry by members of the Ashesi community, students from Berekuso schools and local musicians, Christmas on the Hill in many ways not only brings the Ashesi community together, but also welcomes communities beyond Ashesi to share in the season’s spirit.

“Christmas on the Hill is a shared experience of fun, new beginnings, and also community,” said Torwomenye Azaglo, Assistant Dean of Students.  “It’s exciting to be a part of another event that brings our students, staff and faculty and people beyond the hills of Ashesi together.”

Alongside the usual performances from students, staff and faculty in Ashesi, this year’s concert also featured performances by children from several community engagement initiatives including the Berekuso Music ProjectA New Dawn and Future of Africa.

“It’s not a concert for only the Ashesi community,” said Nadine Majdoub ’18, President of the Decibels. “It’s an opportunity to mix with the kids from our various community engagement projects. Not only does it create a sense of community for all of us, but also we hope the children feel appreciated and gingered up for the season. Ultimately, our goal is to spread Christmas cheer and love in the community and beyond.”

Post Credit- Ashesi University College

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Torwomenye Azaglo’s office is hardly empty. At Ashesi, where TK (as he is called) works as an Assistant Dean of Students and Community Affairs, he is deeply involved in helping students balance their academic and personal lives while providing mentorship and guidance to them. Outside Ashesi, his work is only slightly tweaked. He still works with the same students, though this time, with them also as mentors. Together they form the Future of Africa’s mission to impact the lives of street children in Accra.

“Leadership is about service,” he explains. “We are all leaders and we need to serve. We need to go to the bottom, to the most rejected and neglected people in our society, and serve them. That’s where I feel called to serve.”

About six years ago, while as a student in Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, TK founded Future of Africa to raise awareness and erase misconceptions about Africa. The club gave students the chance to engage and help low-income communities in Africa, while empowering locals to create impact as well. When TK returned to Ghana, he sought ways to extend Future of Africa’s activities to his immediate surrounding. In October 2015, while driving around Accra’s Airport City’s environs, he was struck by the destitution of street children, sleeping out in the open air, and looking frail from hunger. Before long, Future of Africa found it’s new calling, and since then, TK’s Saturdays have been blocked out to help make a difference in the lives of these children. “We’re doing this because we care about individuals, and these children are the future of Africa,” TK says. “At the end of the day, we want to invest in the kids who are vulnerable. Then there’s also something about being around kids who are not expecting anything from you. They’re just happy to see you.”

Slowly TK’s passion has rubbed off some of the students who walk into his office. Many of them now join him every Saturday, and together they have established a literacy and feeding program for the street children. For some of the volunteers, this experience has been life-changing. “Future of Africa has changed the way I think,” said Marilyn Acolatse ’17. “It’s taught me not rush into judging people, because when you hear the backgrounds of these kids and yet you see the smiles on their faces, and talk to them or just give them a little attention, it makes such a difference in their lives.”

In less than six months, the pavements of the Stanbic Heights building at Airport City became a rare sight on Saturday evenings. Close to 80 street children and volunteers from Ashesi learned, played, ate and built strong relationships.

“The point is not just about teaching and feeding,” TK explains. “We are working around a model to provide opportunities, relationships, skills and resources. Those are the essentials for people to be able to do something meaningful with their lives. And right now, we’re focused on building relationships, and when you want to build meaningful relationships with people you need to hang out with them.”

Back at Ashesi, every student who walks into TK’s office faces the same question, “Who are you?” For TK, the need for introspection to find fulfilment is key. “Who we are is what we stand for and what we stand for are our values,” he says. “For me, the biggest thing that brings fulfilment is serving other people; when you put yourself aside and put others ahead.”

Latest Development

The Department of Social Welfare, in recent efforts to get street children off the streets of Accra, has been working with the Ghana Police to relocate the children to the department’s facility in Madina. In early May, a number of the children were relocated to the facility.

Future of Africa now meets with the children at the Social Welfare department’s facility in Madina every Saturday, and still carries out the literacy and feeding programs. TK eventually hopes these children can be placed in homes with dedicated adults to help guide them towards achieving their aims in life. Visit Future of Africa to find out more.

Story credit: Ashesi University College

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Meet TK Azaglo, a Ghanaian who studied and worked in Canada but chose to leave it all behind and return to his country. The elephant question at this point is why? Why would this young intelligent individual leave his stable and comfortable future behind in a first world country to return to live in a struggling developing one? The answer, unlike on a Linear Algebra exam, is simple. He went back to serve people which is in essence what he believes leadership to be. The serving leader some might call him. When asked how he would describe what he is doing, TK humbly said, “Helping young people discover their purpose. This basically speaks to helping people see what they can do to improve the life of others and enhance the standard of living within their community. If you are able to add value to someone’s life that impacts how they live, think, and feel, that is exactly what it all boils down to”.

Additionally, he went on to say something even more potent. A line which challenges the common school of thought when it comes on to making a difference. “We are not called to change the world but rather, we are called to change our worlds”. Quite often we render ourselves useless because we only seeing changing the world as making a difference and not inciting change within our own context. This is fundamentally where change is to begin and that is, within your little world which thus leads to a phenomenon similar to the domino effect. Some social activists say this is the only way we can change our planet for the better.

TK’s work extends even deeper. He, with his organization called ‘Future of Africa’ (FOA); instills belief where there is a lack thereof, improves access to opportunities and resources, makes relationships more meaningful while establishing community support networks. The efforts of FOA focuses a great deal on breaking the destructive poverty cycle which he highlights street children as being the root. He has found ingenious ways of getting university students to invest their time and energies in feeding, caring, supporting and pushing these kids to achieve their full potential which is at the moment is yielding great credible results.

“How does this benefit you?” I asked. “Fulfillment and happiness” was all he had to say. Life is about much more than the tangibles we all strive to achieve in this materialistic society. He went on to state that the reason he is doing this is because he wants to be like the man who transformed the world, Jesus. He wants to be able to transform his own world through a kind of leadership defined only through serving. A long term vision is imperative to the success of any organization, even non-profit ones. TK said his vision for FOA after 10 years is to have a movement established in which young people can join and freely live out their purpose.

In concluding, TK had this advice for youth out there with immense potential, “The biggest thing that made my life different was discovering my purpose. Young people are trapped by expectations of society; school, job, making money. There is more to life than that. Invest and discover your purpose. Pursue opportunities to put people ahead. Do things that will solve the social problems around you and not just things that will solve your problems.”

TK Azaglo, the Ghanaian dedicated to changing his world….

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