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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This quote by Nelson Mandela guides three Mastercard Foundation Scholars in their work towards arming low-income youths with technological knowledge in rural communities.
After growing up in Ghana, Africa, Douglas Amoo-Sargon, Golda Okai Afoakwa and Richard Sewor all understand the struggles that their fellow Ghanaians face on a daily basis. Amoo-Sargon, a master’s student studying biomedical engineering, recalls the lack of technological and medical resources available in the rural communities of Ghana. He says, “We could not go to the hospital for a normal checkup unless the situation became life threatening,” and even then, they needed to go to the urban cities for treatment.
While studying at Arizona State University and growing through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, Amoo-Sargon, Okai Afoakwa and Sewor felt inspired to use their knowledge to improve the quality of life in their hometowns. This led them to create Sua IT, which seeks to advance computer literacy for low-income youth in rural communities.
Undergraduate Paige Weisman speaks with investor professionals during the fall 2017 SIM Fund session. Photo by Asael Jimenez/Enterprise Partners
Earning the team first place in the Resolution Social Venture Challenge at the Baobab Summit in Rwanda, Sua IT uses mobile learning units powered by generators to bring technology education to communities with limited or no access to electricity. In these rural communities, “information communication technology education is limited to your imagination or what you read in a book,” says Amoo-Sargon. . Their mission: to teach at least 1,000 children every year.
Sewor, a master’s student studying global logistics and business administration, sees the potential of the youth in Ghana and hopes that through Sua IT he can “nurture and encourage them to utilize their incredible talents and new knowledge of information technology to create innovative solutions for themselves and their country as a whole.”
Okai Afoakwa, a master’s student studying global logistics and business administration, credits the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program with changing her perspective of herself and the world around her. The program provides resources for young people from Africa to complete their education, equipping them to enact social and economic change in their communities.
[The Scholars Progam] made me realize that I am not only living for myself, but I am living to make a positive impact on my community,” she says. Okai Afoakwa dreams of starting her own foundation in hopes of paying forward what she has been given.