I believe that we can all achieve our goals and make a difference through hard work and focus. I live by this philosophy.
I also get huge joy from inspiring others to make changes in their lives or make a difference in the lives of others. If the stories of my struggles help you do that, all the better. I feel privileged to be a small part of your journey.
I write about everything I’m passionate about and what I’m up to on my blog.
I’m the co-founder of a social enterprise generating vital income and choices for rural families in Ghana. It’s called G-lish Foundation and is located in my village where I grew up, and surrounding villages. You can check it out.
I completed a Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney in 2014 and worked in Cambodia and Myanmar for one year on conflict transformation projects. I’m now the International Program Coordinator for Catholic Mission Australia. I’m a mad football (soccer) player and fan (Barcelona FC forever!).
I never imagined I’d have the life I’m now living when I was a child. My family and I lived in extreme poverty in a village called Dulugu in Ghana. I didn’t go to school until I was eight years old because my family had no money. I didn’t wear shoes until junior high school and I slept on a mat on the ground until senior high school.
My grandma paid my school fees when I was eight. My primary school was a group of stones sat in the shade of a gargantuan Baobab tree in Dulugu. That Baobab tree fell down a few years ago—it’s still lying there in the G-lish weaving village of Dulugu. I wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for the roots, and hope, that grew from that very spot.
I’m blessed with being academically inclined. I LOVED school; it was my daily respite from the violence at home and I was good at it. I made it to junior high school and then a respected senior high school through hard work and study.
I travelled by myself over hundreds of kilometres to the south of Ghana as a young teen and worked in cocoa plantations in slave-like conditions to raise money between junior and senior high schools so I could keep going to school. That’s a story that involved being duped, Ivorian gun runners, escaping back to Ghana, and hitching home on top of buses with no money. I’m happy to share that with your audiences.
UNIVERSITY IN GHANA
As far as I could see, university was my only way out of poverty. I made it to university on the good grace of a bank manager who loaned my father around $150 to allow me to pay fees for the first year—more money than my father earned in a year. My father paid him back and, for years, I survived on bananas and tea and the kindness of fellow students who invited me to eat with them. Many days, though, I slept on an empty stomach.
At university, I began volunteering with local non-profits to get experience and create opportunities. That strategy worked. It opened a few doors just when I thought I was going to be homeless. And I met my Australian wife because of that.
MEETING AN AUSTRALIAN
It was late 2008, just after graduating, when I was volunteering at a small NGO that I met an Australian woman working in Ghana. We met and carried out Peace One Day, a Ghana-first event that brought two sides of a warring conflict together in Bawku—my teenage home and where my parents still live.
In 2009, we moved up north to Bolgatanga where I come from. We wondered how we could combine our skills when I accidentally discovered how to turn plastic waste into twine to make baskets.
STARTING G-LISH FOUNDATION IN GHANA
In early 2010, we set up G-lish Foundation. We developed recycled baskets for the first time ever in Ghana and developed a range of baskets that all sold out immediately. That product generated higher than fair trade incomes for the women weavers in the village where I grew up.
Now we work with three villages and generate income, transform the environment and create social change in rural communities. We sell the baskets in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and online.
PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIES
I came to Australia to live with Gayle as a permanent resident in early 2013 and do my Masters at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. I could never have dreamed this even ten years ago when my father told me I couldn’t go to university.
I graduated in June 2014 with my MA in Peace and Conflict Studies with a Distinction average from the University of Sydney. This was a lifelong dream since I grew up on the conflict zone of Bawku and saw many friends killed in the conflict. It drove my desire to study and work in this field. It’s one of my proudest achievements.
I secured my first full time job after my MA with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Cambodia as a conflict transformation and peace-building practitioner travelling to Myanmar. I was suddenly living in South East Asia. I became a seasoned traveller and workshop facilitator, working with all levels of the Myanmar government and military, including arms groups. I conducted workshops and training for government institutions across all six states, in dangerous and mountainous areas.
Returning to Sydney, since June 2016 I’ve been employed as International Programs Manager for Catholic Mission Australia.
LIVING MY PHILOSOPHY
I don’t just believe, I know you can achieve your goals and make a difference in society when you work consistently and don’t give up. I live this and I share it.
LET’S GET IN TOUCH
I’d be delighted to speak at your next event or facilitate workshops for you. If you’d like to experience the meditative and therapeutic effects of weaving and have loads of fun in the process, please come to one of our weaving workshops. Send me a message about anything here: