Kayayo’s (head potters) are the least society expects to be Senior High School leavers and not to talk of Universities.
18year old Teni Agana who was a kayayo graduated among rich children with a breakthrough from the 2018 class of Ashesi University in Berekuso. Nobody would have been encouraged with a friend’s picture from her graduation day but Teni’s source of inspiration to strive hard in life came from a photo.
“I found the picture as a child, and I kept it on me at all times”.
The young head potters father died very early in her life, and she had no hopes from her family but was really determined to be a better person in future and her only option was to find a way to fund herself through school.
Her fight to become a better person and to become a college graduate pushed her to make a tough choice in life. While in high school, anytime she was on vacations she refused to spend time home with her family in bolgatanga but finds her way to Kumasi Bantama Market to work for her future which is where she started as a Kayayo to get money for boarding fees while in high school.
Hard work and perseverance saw her through high school and landed herself a spot at Ashesi University, as a MasterCard foundation scholar. With her intelligence she won the best award every student can ever receive which was the Presidential Award when her badge was graduating from Ashesi.
“During my first semester, I failed a couple of courses, including programming because I had was never used a computer before and I was then learning to type in coding class.”
According to her, staff and faculty especially her academic adviser by then were really supportive. They guided her to resources on campus including math and writing resource centers.
That made improve her grade point from 1.25 to 3.0 out of 4 in her second semester exam and in other subsequent semesters she made it to their dean’s list.
With all these, she began raising funds to see four girls through their secondary school education and also led fundraising efforts to sponsor 15 brilliant students from the Berekuso Township, where she is also a mathematics teacher.
While a student, she severed as a math tutor with Berekuso Maths project and class tutor for Kaya care, an initiative that provides safe space for children of female porters in Accra’s market places.
Her main aim is to help people with her kind of background and making leaving better for them. She created awareness of the motivation and circumstances of kayaei in Ghana, and was passionate about minimizing the increasing number of girls from Northern Ghana who migrate to the streets of Accra to become head porters due to poverty.
“It is hard when you have worked so hard to earn some money and then you have to give up for a long- term investments such as school. The reward isn’t evident in the short- term and for many of us, it becomes an unrealistic goal and too much of a sacrifice. So it’s easy to give up”.
Teni is a true definition of determination and her main aim is to build a school where she will put females on the streets together and make them know the importance of education and avoid the risks associated such as rape.
She had already got some help and support from faculty and staff as well as peers to help her archive some of these main goals.
She has planned to continue teaching and coordinate activities for the children at the Berekuso Math project for the next year as her national service. The young adult believes it is better to give back to society and there has dedicated herself to the community in which she had her college education.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it and to be bold to take decisions will help you get to the one day”.