Priscilla Akwagu is a single mother of two who has overcome many challenges to achieve her dream of becoming a graduate. She recently completed her four-year Bachelor of Arts in Twi Education at the Faculty of Ghanaian Languages Education, Ajumako Campus of the UEW, and graduated with first-class honours during the first session of the 26th Congregation of the University.
Priscilla’s journey was not easy. She had to balance her studies with her work as a food hawker, selling buffloaf (also known as bofrot), a popular snack in Ghana. She also had to take care of her children and pay for their education. Despite the hardships, she never gave up on her ambition.
After finishing junior high school in 2008 and having her daughter, Ms. Priscilla Akwagu began selling “bofrot” with GH 50. After earning a living for four years and accumulating savings, she enrolled at Atebubu Senior High School (SHS) in 2012. She struggled during her time at Atebubu SHS to balance academic and entrepreneurial endeavours in order to support herself and her younger brother’s educational expenses. She eventually finished SHS in 2015 and started working full-time on her “bofrot” company.
“I always wanted to further my education but I did not have the financial support. I had to work hard to save money for my fees and other expenses. I also had to study at night after selling bofrot during the day. It was not easy but I was determined to make it,” she said.
Priscilla’s story is inspiring because it shows that nothing is impossible with hard work, perseverance and faith. She is one of the few women in Ghana who have attained higher education despite their socio-economic background. According to the World Bank, only 18% of women in Ghana have completed secondary education or higher, compared to 28% of men.
Priscilla is also a role model for other single mothers who face similar challenges. She encourages them to pursue their dreams and not let their circumstances limit them. “Being a single mother is not a curse. It is a blessing. You can still achieve your goals if you believe in yourself and work hard. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,” she said.
Priscilla hopes to further her education and become an entrepreneur. She also wants to help other less privileged people in her community. “I want to use my knowledge and skills to create opportunities for myself and others. I also want to give back to society and support other people who are going through what I went through,” she said.
One of the people who supported Priscilla during her studies was Dr. Benedict Arko, a lecturer at the Department of Geography Education at UEW. He met Priscilla when she was selling bofrot on campus and decided to mentor her and pay for some of her fees.
“I saw something special in her. She was very humble and hardworking. She always came to class on time and participated actively. She was also very respectful and eager to learn. I decided to help her because I knew she had a bright future ahead of her,” he said.
Dr. Arko also praised Priscilla for her academic performance, saying that she was one of the best students he ever taught. He said that Priscilla’s success story should motivate other students to strive for excellence regardless of their background.
“Priscilla has shown that from food hawker to first-class graduate, anything is possible. She has made us proud as a university and as a nation. She has proven that education is the key to unlocking one’s potential and transforming one’s life,” he said.
Priscilla Akwagu is a testament to the power of education and the human spirit. She has shown that from food hawker to first-class graduate, anything is possible.
Another fascinating story is that of Dr. Adeola Olubamiji, Few amazing success tales can compare to Dr. Adeola Olubamiji’s motivational journey. She overcame all odds to become the first black person to receive a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the esteemed University of Saskatchewan in Canada, starting out in obscurity as a pepper vendor on the streets of Ibadan, Nigeria. Dr. Olubamiji’s journey to success, which was fueled by tenacity, fortitude, and an unwavering spirit, is proof of the strength of aspirations and the ability of people for development and success.
In Ibadan, Dr. Olubamiji started her career by selling pepper to help her family. She frequently had to wait her turn as the fifth of five children and dealt with the difficulties of being a girl in a community with little chances. She persisted in her resolve and dedication to her study in the face of these challenges. Dr. Olubamiji attended Ibadan public elementary and high schools before graduating with a 2:1 in Physics from Olabisi Onabanjo University. Read more on Dr. Adeola life story here.
Priscilla and Dr. Adeola’s story is a testament to the power of education and the human spirit. They have shown that with determination and hard work everything is possible. We want to celebrate these two amazing African ladies. Keep Rising!