Dalai Lama Fellow, Grace Amponsah '16, tackles teenage pregnancy in Berekuso

MasterCard Scholar, Grace Amponsah ’17, has been selected as 2015/2016 Dalai Lama Fellow at Ashesi. As part of her nomination, Grace receives $10,000 in funding to implement her girl-child education project, “A New Dawn.” The project aims to tackle barriers to education faced by girls in Berekuso, and help them develop stronger potential for success.

“Teenage girls are among the most vulnerable in our society,” Grace says. “Statistics by the Ghana Health Service revealed that 750,000 teenagers between the ages of 15 to 19 get pregnant annually. I started the “New Dawn” initiative to reach out to young girls and help them understand how to succeed by making better life choices." 

Learning from research her peers had conducted in Berekuso, and working with an inaugural class of thirty, Grace has chosen to tackle issues of sex, education, entrepreneurship and healthy lifestyles. To make it easier for attendance, she has scheduled her weekly meetings on weekends, engaging in interactive learning activities with the girls.

“We wanted to build trust with the girls to allow them to share sensitive stories,” Grace explains. “At the end of every meeting we would reflect on lessons from the day’s interactions, allowing us to build closer relationships with each other. “

Dalai Lama Fellow at Ashesi

With personal authorization from His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama Fellows Programme encourages a new generation of emerging leaders to come together to address some of the most pressing global challenges. The programme also looks to advance in them, a deeper understanding of the need for ethical awareness and inner values as essential components of effective social change leadership.

Ashesi is part of an exclusive list of twelve international campuses that participate in the Dalai Lama Fellows programme – along with other schools such as Stanford, Oberlin and Princeton.

The Dalai Lama Fellows programme includes three interconnected components: a meticulous selection process to identify promising Fellows at select universities; ongoing, personalized support from programme officers and outstanding experts in their fields to equip Fellows with new understandings and capabilities; and lifelong participation by all Fellows in a Global Learning Community that will strengthen each individual's capacity to lead, while fostering a sense of collective global responsibility, service and action. 

As part of her Fellowship, Grace will be attending the Ethical Leadership Assembly in San Francisco in June to receive coaching and fine-tuning and network with new and old fellows from around the world.