Angela Djabatey …the student who is already touching lives in a big way
In all my interviews, I have profiled several young men and women who have very creative and innovative ideas and have created jobs for others as a result. But this lady is different. She chose a humanitarian venture. Her passion to see everybody educated, especially the girl child, moved her to set up a foundation that will help her realise her goal of touching and transforming the lives of the underprivileged in the society. Read about how it all began as she shares her story with B&FT’s Inspiring Start-Ups.
Angela Efua Larko Djabatey, the founder of Community Raid Project—a social enterprise, is a native of Krobo in the Eastern Region of Ghana. She grew up in Adabraka, a suburb of Accra and is a past student of Krobo Girls Senior High School. She is currently studying Psychology and Sociology at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Her passion to help others springs from what she observed while growing up. She recalls there were a lot of young people in her community who did not go to school because they were not motivated to do so, for different reasons. She kept thinking about this untill she grew up and decided to take action, not in the future, but now, to address the situation in her own small way. Following this, she set up her own charitable organisation and named it Community Raid Project. She explains that the name ‘raid’ means she wants to spread her tentacles across many rural communities in the country.
Community Raid takes off
As noted earlier, Angela is still a student, so obviously, funding the initiative gave her some headache. But, it is said that ‘where there is a will, there is a way; and charity begins at home’. She communicated her idea to her family and they were all supportive and assisted her with some money to begin.
But it is common knowledge that social enterprises can only thrive if there is a sustainable means of funding. So, she introduced another game plan to raise more funds.
“I appeal to the public to help achieve this course by organising food fairs. What happens is that, I get a place and organise a food fair where people buy the foods at a slightly higher price. Then, I use the proceeds I get to fund the charity.”
Another strategy she will soon use is the car wash approach. She plans to secure spaces at some of the prominent shopping malls in the capital. There, anyone who will come and wash his or her car would be charged a little higher than the usual cost so that enough proceeds can be raised for the project.
She also has plans of writing a proposal to some donor organisations to come to her aid with funding and other resources needed for the project.
The impact of Community Raid
For now, Angela, through the initiative, has adopted a school in Nandom, Upper West Region, which lacked the necessary infrastructure. The school, she says, was in a dilapidated condition and did not have any physical structure for learning. But, through the Community Raid Project, she had been able to put up a three-unit classroom block for the school.
Another worrying thing she has observed among many young girls of school going age in the northern part of Ghana and some other villages, is that, most of the girls absent themselves from school during their monthly cycle.
“Most of them do not have the knowledge of how to keep themselves under sanitary conditions because they don’t have money to buy sanitary pads. So, my plan is to introduce a reusable sanitary pad that is cost efficient so that they can go to school at that time of the month.”
A major challenge that has been an albatross around the neck of Angela in her pursuit of her charitable agenda is financial constraints. Charitable organisations usually thrive on sustainable means of funding from a donor organisation. But currently, she has no such means of funding and must rely on the approaches already stated above to raise money for her project.
Another thing that has posed a challenge for her is the distrust people have about charitable organisations. Most social enterprises hide behind the veil of charity and siphon donor funds into private pockets. This, Angela says, has made it quite difficult to win the hearts of people who would like to genuinely support such initiatives.
How government and private sector can support
Since her project is focused on the education sector, Angela feels government can play a very important role in sharing her vision, especially, providing the reusable sanitary pads for girls in rural communities.
She states that government can partner the project and assist with funds so that as many girls as possible can benefit from the initiative.
The private sector, on the other hand, can also offer its support in kind or in cash donations to aid the project.
In the next five years, she said: “I intend to expand my tentacles to other rural areas that lack basic education infrastructure, which has denied children of having quality education.”
And as part of her plans for the future, she wants to bring on board expertise to train indigenes of the communities where she would operate to manufacture the reusable sanitary pads so that it can also create jobs for them.
Advice for the youth
Angela is appealing to the youth to cultivate a spirit of sympathy for the underprivileged and underserved in the society, so that they will be touched to support people who come out with projects aimed at relieving victims of injustice from their predicament.
To support Angela’s project, contact her on 0246398657.