This week on Game Changers, we have Benjamina Naana Owiredu who is doing all she can to prevent young children from experiencing what she experienced at her childhood. During the interview, she revealed why she has so much passion for helping the needy and the orphans. Her story is an inspirational one and lesson-filled.
Who is Benjamina Naana Owiredu?
Benjamina Naana Owiredu was born on 26th May, 1994 to Mad Abena Owusua Owusu- Sekyere and Gwanetuahene Baffour Nana Owiredu I. Benjamina comes from Koforidua, Eastern Region – Ghana. Benjamina had her basic education at Guiding Star Preparatory School and Presbyterian Basic School, Koforidua. She furthered her education at Ghana Senior High School Koforidua where she graduated in the year 2012. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Family and Consumer Science from the University of Ghana, Legon. She is currently doing her National Service at the 37 Military Hospital Paediatric Division to be precise. She is a volunteer at Osei-Kusi foundation, one of the leading youth foundations in Ghana which aims at investing in young people and Great Mission International Orphanage Home, where she helps in curriculum planning for the children, projects (drawing, colouring, dancing) and teaching them basic skills.
Again, she is a board member of Medical Journalist Association-Ghana where they educate the public on health issues.
She is the founder of We Care Foundation for children, which aims at influencing the society through empowerment of children. Together with her team, she has been able to make donations to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Koforidua, Legon hospital and Great Mission International Orphanage Home, Nungua and have organized mentorship training for some orphanage homes and schools in Ghana. She is also a blogger and aims at inspiring others in life.
She had a great urge to make this world a better place for children as little as she was. Initially she didn’t have clear goals on how best she wanted to make an impact in the society and this really affected organization of her projects because she was really young ( 16 years) and she didn’t have any one to coach her on how best to execute her dreams. Her parents separated when she was 9 years old and due to this, she lived with her grandmother throughout her formative years and spent little time with her mother because she was always busy with work, travels etc. Even though she was fortunate to get everything she wanted in life, she did miss and she still misses that male figure growing up with in life.
“The joy lingering in my heart when I always see parents together with their children was something no one could take from me,” she recalls.
“Despite my love for children, my passion for children grew more and more because I became more curious about what other children go through when there is divorce in the family, when they lose a parent, abuse etc. This spirit of curiosity shaped my vision in life,” she added.
At age 17, through her own small way, she started a foundation to help children become better people in life which aims at influencing the society through the empowerment of children. By then the main focus was to spend time with children in the hospitals and orphanage homes and have fun with them during her birthday and this continued for 3 years until some friends decided to be on board for this great course.
Through this initiative, she was selected to partake in the Obama Young African Leaders Regional Cohort in West Africa and also took part in the recent United Nations Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Youth forum in Nigeria to deliberate on how best young children can attain quality education. Currently a youth Ambassador of World at School to champion the wellbeing of children especially in the field of academics, Benjamina has also won a couple of honorable awards to crown her effort. Due to this, she initiated a program to teach children on admission at the 37 Military Hospital Ghana to help them make up for the losses at school.
“The journey to achieve this dream was despite some discouragement, pretence and lessons learnt in hard ways, but most importantly I am grateful for the few who are by my side through the darkest and brightest moments. Also the main struggle is how to reach out to thousands of children because I need a lot of resources in order to make this a reality,” she said.
“If you are going to believe in yourself, if you would constantly not pay attention to the trash that the world tells you, then you would become what God has ordained you to be. Many destinies are messed up simply because of the wrong associations, wrong relationships, and wrong advices and among others. Don’t ever wait for the world’s approval before you start your journey to greatness. Roll up your sleeves, hit the street, forget about the negatives, work on yourself, be determined, be humble, be curious and above all never seize praying” she adviced.
Wundengba: What are your current initiatives?
Bnejamina: There is a story told about a child filling an empty can with a half cup of water. He struggles to go on many journeys to fill the can because that is the capacity he can manage. As he grew up he got stronger and was able to fill the cup to the brim hence filling the can at a faster pace. We cannot keep putting in the same amount of effort we have been putting when God in his infinite mercy makes us stronger and more capable as we grow and this affirm the fact that indeed there has been changes since we started.
We have been impacting lives of people and children for the past 5 years and the projects that we are involved in keep increasing. We Care foundation has more human resources on board now and this has brought an increase in the projects we do. Our new projects are the operation orphanage home feed yourself with my fellow 2 Yalians Shedrach Kese and Teddy Addah at Teshie Orphanage Home-Ghana, health talk by We Care Foundation and others. About 150 to 200 children have benefitted from donations and mentorship programs by our foundation.
As a board member of Medical Journalists Association, Ghana we had a health summit with Quality Health Africa, on health literacy in Africa at Korle-Bu and also organized another health screening programme at Nzulezu. On behalf of Medical Journalist Association, my team will be hosting medical officers from different countries on a programme called Moments with Medical Officers in Ghana. They will be featured in short videos and will talk about many health issues facing Africa.
We yearn for more improvement as time goes on in order to massively impact the society.
Wundengba: Where do you see your initiatives in two decades from now?
Benjamina: In the next 20 years the foundation will officially be 22years. I want my foundation to be part of the leading foundations in Ghana, Africa and the world as a whole championing the affairs of children and also become one of the most influential women in the affairs of children. I want my foundation to rub shoulders with equally able groups and even do better than some leading United Nation’s organizations like UNICEF. We want to impact the lives of over millions of children so they do not become a burden to the society in the next 20 years and the years ahead.
I am receiving mentorship training from two mentors in my life and I am also attending training conferences that throw more light on issues affecting children, their health, their wellbeing and their lives as a whole.
I believe through these trainings and mentorships I together with my team will be able to tackle most of the issues our future leaders face.
Wundengba: What is your advice for other young people?
Benjamina: You ought to love your mission, be determined, learn how to forgive, be humble, be willing to learn from others and above all you ought to talk to God about every situation; all these will keep you going.
As a Destiny Carrier, God will keep shaping you, He will keep detaching you from destructions. He will detach you from those friends who are taking you nowhere. He will break those relationships that are destruction and wipe away the vision killers. Destiny carrier can’t be in just any relationship, Destiny Carrier can’t talk any talk, and you can’t mingle with just anybody because you are constantly fought by the enemy because of the purpose you carry.