My name is Ernest Sammed Bawa and I am currently a student at the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. I am originally Ghanaian and grew up in the slums of Ashaiman, Ghana. I am the youngest of 3; I have an older brother and an older sister and only a mother. Unlike many kids from where I grew up, I got lucky when I was offered a scholarship out of over 500 - 600 youngsters that tried out for Right to Dream Academy. I am a Junior at the Taft School and I am verbally committed to play Division I soccer at the University of North Carolina.
Growing up, I shared the same dream with almost every child my age in Ashaiman; to be a professional soccer player. Every day we battled it out on the dirt fields of Kofi Nimo Park with the sun beating down on our barebacks with sweating dripping down like we were fighting a war. In a way were because we all wanted the same thing and it was only after you defeated the other guys were you able to tell yourself that you were worth it and not just wasting your time. I and a few other kids played without cleats. This goes without having to tell you how many cuts and injuries I got on my feet. I made it out! I made it to Right to Dream and Taft. But, what about the others? My friends, my rivals, other kids who had and still have it worse than I did? Some of these kids are in prison because they have no other means of making a life for themselves since most of them did not go to school. Some are still chasing the same dream even though it is clear that they are not going to make it.
After 3 years, I have decided to go back to Ghana in June; it's been too long and I miss it. I don't want to go back home and feel helpless and not be able to make a difference. My plan is to organize a one-day tournament where I grew up for 8 teams. I will hold a session before the tournament to educate the kids about the importance of education in order to convince them to go to school. Not everybody thinks that it is possible to combine soccer and education and I hope I can use the tournament to lure these kids into the classroom.
What the money will be used for
1. I will need to hire the soccer field that we will be using
2. I will need to hire some canopies since it will be really hot
3. Drinks for refreshment
4. Jerseys to give away with the name of my project at the back to leave a mark and serve as a reminder for the importance of education
5. Money to pay officials
6. Money to pay for security
7. Sound system
8. Trophies for winning team and if possible some medals
9. Jerseys for my local team
10. Cleats and shin guards
12. Customized T-shirt with the name of the project on it
On a personal note, I want to buy electric fans for my family. My village, Portor, is in the Northern part of Ghana. It is so small that it cannot be found on the map; at least it used to be. It gets so hot up north so much so that families do not sleep inside their rooms. I have slept outside in front of our house because it was too hot to sleep inside. I once thought I peed on the bed only to realize it was all sweat. Most of you may not know this but we have mosquito nets that we put up outside before we sleep in order to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes. It does not work effectively! Unlike some families, mine doesn't own an electric fan or tv. I hope I can raise enough money to help provide these things for my family and help reduce the risk of malaria and encounter with other wild animals. Every year, more than a handful of people get bit by a snake for sleeping outside.
I am going to Ghana in June so I have about a month to raise money for my plans. I have thought about this for a really long time and I have hesitated for far too long. Helping me make this possible will help save and change lives. I am still working with people back home to find the best weekend for the tournament. Look out for updates!
you can follow me on Instagram for updates about the project when I get [email redacted]a.10
I will need to have reached my goal by the end of May, because I will be flying home on June 6, 2019.