Esther Ayensu Esi is a brilliantly talented 19 year old Ghanaian, hailing from Dzogadze, a small agricultural town in Ghana's Volta Region, near the district capital of Akatsi.
Dzogadze is a poor village, but one that is famous for its many drumming and dancing groups, a place where the traditional lifeways of the Ewe people of the southern Volta remain vibrantly alive.
However as agriculture no longer provides a decent income for small-scale farmers, and since education is very expensive, far too many of Dzogadze's gifted youth are idling, their dreams blocked by realities of the developing world.
Esther's hurdles have been even higher than those of her peers. Tragically orphaned when she was just 9 years old, Esther nevertheless completed her high school education with high marks, thanks to sheer talent and determination, along with support from her uncle, Torgbi Agbla, chief of Dzogadze, a high school teacher who studied performing arts at the University of Ghana.
While in school, she not only excelled in academic subjects, but in dance, music, and drama as well, winning several awards and prizes for her performances.
High school education is insufficient to guarantee employment in Ghana. After graduating, with no career prospects in view, she came to live with her aunt in the shantytown community of Ashaiman, near Accra, where she earns a meager living selling bags of drinking water to passersby.
Esther has long dreamed of attending university to study business, in order to find solid employment, support herself and her extended family, and the people and performing arts of her home community.
However, it is not easy for rural youth to gain entry to Ghana's universities. Underdevelopment makes learning difficult - many villages do not have electricity, meaning students cannot easily study after sunset (electrical lines only recently came to Dzogadze). Moreover, tuition and living expenses are prohibitively expensive even for middle class Ghanaians, and more so for rural youth, who need to travel far from home and pay for room and board.
In Esther's financially straitened circumstances, realizing her dream of university education was exceedingly difficult.
Yet she remained always full of hope, determination and good cheer. Thanks to generous contributions enabling her to afford application fees ($75 each) for four Ghanaian universities, she dedicated herself to the application process in winter 2014.
Then we received wonderful news in July 2014: Esther has been admitted to the prestigious University of Professional Studies in Accra.
The only remaining obstacle is financial: University fees alone are 2,832 GHS per year (around $900 CAD), not including living expenses. Anticipating inflation, we estimate that the full cost of university tuition, room, and board for four years will be about 25,000 GHC, or $8000 CAD, amounting to $2000 per year.
We're trying to raise money to help Esther to realize her enormous potential - for herself, for her family, for her community, and for Ghana as a whole, not only for what she will contribute to society directly as a productive citizen, but equally as a shining example of what can be achieved through a persevering, positive spirit.
It would be very helpful to consider a yearly amount considering that your donation will be split among four years. $100 per year is ideal.
So far I've received generous donations from three former students in Ghana of $100/year each, and another $100/year from philanthropist in Ottawa. This is $400/year, which I will match with another $400/year. So we have $800 per year so far.
But we need $2000 per year to enable Esther to attend University. Any amount, no matter how small, is most welcome.
Thank you so much for your support, helping one of Ghana's most gifted youths realize her aspirations, towards the betterment of all. This is a tremendous opportunity to make a difference by sending funding directly to where it is needed.
--Michael Frishkopf, Professor of Music, University of Alberta
ps: To learn more about Esther and her many accomplishments, and to watch her in performance, check out this website.
DonationsSee top donations
- Amy Rosenbaum
- steve gamburg
- Justina Watt
- Kathleen Danser
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more