Afi Antonio: impacting lives with Solar4Girls project
Afi Antonio is the producer of the popular television show, Celebrity Delivery Show; she is also an acclaimed photo model who has worked with some of Ghana’s biggest celebrities and Club 100 companies; and she is also a television presenter.
But it is her latest addition to her growing portfolio of activities that is making quite the wave in the country: she is the Founder of Solar4Girls, a project which sees her provide girls and boys in primary and junior high schools in very remotes parts of the country with lamps powered by solar.
So far Afi has visited three villages in the country: Hobor and Likpe, all in the Volta Region and, very recently, Bomba in the Western Region, thus aiding almost 70 pupils to study at night, which they couldn’t do due to the unavailability of electricity.
In a recent interview, Afi notes that her hope is to eradicate kerosene lanterns, candles, bobo, touch lights and replace them with a solar lamp for students to be able to learn extra hours at night and improve in their academic performances in all villages.
“There was news that students failed their BECE exams, a particular year, and most of the failed students were from villages that lacked electricity to study in the evening.” This news, she says, made her sad and she resolved to find a solution to that.
“It is disheartening to think these students, in these deprived areas, write the same exams as those in better environments like the city who get the best when education is concerned,” she adds.
Thus her journey to finding a solution to this challenge began. It didn’t take long before she came into contact with Solar People, a small company that markets and install solar panels.
There she helped created Solar4Girls as a subset of Solar People. “My team leader, Gideon Marcel, and I had a discussion on it and we came up with the idea and name Solar4girls,” she adds.
With the establishment of the project, she reaches out to well meaning individuals, corporate executives and the general public to purchase these solar lamps and then proceed to distribute them to the pupils in the villages.
With a lamp valued at GH¢80, she faces a myriad of challenges but the biggest among them is funding. “The journey has been rough but adventurous and fun. Rough, because we have no one supporting us aside a few friends who give us something small through my campaigns on my social media platforms.
The little money we make is used as transportation to the villages and out of same money, we pay for accommodation to pass the night since we visit students who benefit from the project to find out how they use the lamps at night,” she says.
Apart from a few friends who have contributed to her project, she has received support from Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng, President of the UT Group, who supported her first donation with GH¢1,000. She also got satire king, KSM, to interview her on her KSM Show.
But, according to her, that is not enough. “Challenges are transportation to the villages. We go by public transport which causes a lot of inconvenience.”
Afi is not just distributing solar lamps to aid children study in the evening. She believes she is also empowering girls to be responsible women when they grow up. “We will love to have medical doctors on board to check them up and educate them as well as we provide the lamps,” she says.
Afi is doing great things and her hope is that non-governmental organisations and corporate bodies will come to lend their support to her project in order to impact more and more lives since there are many villages in the country that are still not connected to the national grid.