The YHFG Story
The boy who ran away from home to get an education…
Imagine a 12-year-old boy who wants to go to school. But he can’t, because his parents need him in the farming field. One day he decides to run away from home, in search of a place where he can go to school.
He is coming from the north of Ghana, but he ends up in the far south. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any money so, for the time being, he cannot enter any school. He is hungry.
He starts working on a cocoa farm as a labourer. It has to be at least for a full year, simply because the salary only comes after one year. After having received his first wage, he enrolls in a local school, and for the years to come, he manages to alternate his school days with working days.
He finishes secondary school. And he succeeds in taking the next step, enrolling in university. It is the start of a successful academic learning cycle.
In the meantime, his parents at home are struggling. Too little income and no labour help from their son. They decide that their daughter will have to marry at a young age. So they will at least be able to collect the dowry.
A few years later the boy comes back home for the first time. He hears of what has happened to his sister. Was that because of him? Did it happen because he ran away from home? When he left home he was hungry. When he came back, he got angry.
Hungry and Angry
These were the ingredients that led the student to start thinking of a foundation. He did not want to accept any longer that any child from his home region would not have access to school. Or that any girl would have to marry at a very young age, simply because of economic reasons.
When John Krugu (the boy from our story) finished his bachelor’s studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi in May 2001, he wrote the concept of the YHFG on a piece of paper. He discussed the idea with some friends who bought into it and the organization was formally registered in November 2002.
Developing our Youth
Ever since developing our youth has been our business. Because there are still way too many children facing similar risks as the boy and his sister from our story.
We are delivering many successful projects by way of seminars, discussions, surveys, and youth activities. We help children to stay in school and achieve better learning outcomes. We involve many schools and teachers in improving the understanding of the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents.
Youth who understand their sexual and reproductive health and rights are less likely to drop out of school as a result of sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), teenage pregnancies, or unsafe abortions.
We are running various projects that are focused on youth skill-building. Giving them a first step up in a practical working environment will make them self-reliant and open job opportunities. Our agri-business and market access programmes are focused on involving and training peasant farmers that makeup 90 percent of the population in northern Ghana.
If the farmers improve their economic situation, they are more likely to educate their children and there will be less cause for child marriage for economic reasons.
Cooperation and support
As an NGO we know that the challenges faced by the youth in the northern region cannot depend on one way of thinking to find lasting solutions, so we value the open collaboration between board members, volunteers, and students, as well as individuals and organizations from the communities that we work in.
In addition, we would not be able to run our projects without the cooperation of other key supportive partners in development practice. They make it happen!