Profiles in Regeneration: Rita, 25, Ghana
To develop a society, we have to first develop human resources, and this can only be done through education.
The Nupez Foundation, founded by Rita Ama Nupe Demuyakor, is an organization that is working to empower young women by keeping them from the streets and teaching them skills as well as supporting their kids through school. Through their work, they are helping women live healthier, safer lives.
Regenerative Futures: How are you feeling right now?
RD: I’m feeling great. Excited and highly optimistic about this publication and the many opportunities your outfit sets to give us through this platform.
RF: What’s a secret your search history can tell us about you?
RD: Humanity issues. Nupez Foundation. Human Rights activism. Fashion. Law. Gender Equality.
RF: What are you reading/learning about at the moment?
RD: I just completed my Legal professional studies in Kigali, Rwanda, and am waiting to enroll in the Ghanaian Legal professional studies. In between time, I learn more about humanity and legality. I’m learning to know what the correlation between humanity and legality is and how it can help resolve the many challenges women and children face.
RF: Who is your favorite human and why?
RD: My favorite human in the entire world is Bill Gates. This is because of his desire to transform the lives of the less privileged in society. Gates acknowledges that all lives have an equal value, and so he uses his foundation and other resources to promote and elevate that value in the lives of the vulnerable and less privileged in society. He partners with governments, organizations, and private individuals to bring a lasting solution to the most challenging situations in Africa and the world at large. My desire is to elevate poverty and make poor women in particular self-sufficient through education, better health system, and financial support. This is because I believe women are the backbone of every society.
My second favorite human is my Dad, Mr. Chikpah Kweku Demuyakor. My dad made me who I am today. He is a selfless human who loves to see everyone succeed in life. He sacrifices everything he has to ensure the people in his life have the best of everything. My dad has single-handedly supported a lot of people with his personal resources to ensure that they pursue their education and become great for themselves, their families, and society.
RF: Which key moment inspired you to start your project?
RD: The birth of my son at a time I didn’t plan brought this awakening in me. I began having a soft spot for both grown and teen mothers who cannot take care of their children. Most of these teen pregnancies resulted from forced early marriages and sexual abuse from people who are supposed to take care of them. I was a graduate and had the support of family but despite all this, life was not as I had envisioned it to be. There were nights I would cry myself to sleep thinking of how to get my life back in order with a child in the picture.
On such nights, I began to think of the mothers who do not have family members or friends supporting them: that mum who would have to skip three square meals and just drink lots of water in a day so she can breastfeed her child; that mum who would have to walk all day begging for food to feed her child; that mum who would have to use her tattered cloth to shield her child when it’s raining under some shade, a leaking roof, or in front of someone’s shop just to protect her child; or that mum who exposes the child to all sorts of inhumane conditions. I quickly came to the realization that I have everything that these mothers could ever wish for. I felt encouraged to dry my tears and share with them what I have. Anytime I am cash-struck and begin to lament about it, I am reminded of the dire circumstances of these street mothers and I appreciate that God has blessed me abundantly.
During that period, I encountered one such teen mother with her child. I just could not turn a blind eye to their predicament, so I decided to assist her. When I visited and saw their sleeping arrangements, I was so moved to help them but I was not in the capacity to do so. I kept sharing with them, the little I had. The question that kept occurring to me was, would giving them food and clothes actually transform their lives? It dawned on me that to be able to help them in a sustainable way and transform their lives for good, I had to start this project — Nupez Foundation.
RF: In two years’ time, what would success with your project look like?
RD: With the right funding, Nupez Foundation should have a skills acquisition center in several communities in all of Ghana’s sixteen regions. It would equip and train them in several fields to make them self sufficient. Our set of intervention programs will make these street mothers and poor, vulnerable girls self-sufficient and become empowered enough to support themselves and other people in similar situations. Consequently, the help we give these people would extend to other underprivileged individuals — hence making this world a much better and more habitable place for all. This would also reduce streetism greatly in the nation’s capital and other bigger cities since there would be no need for Urban-Rural migration. Ending streetism would help improve the health and well-being of these vulnerable women and their children who are exposed to hardships.
RF: If you could focus a large percentage of government funding on one industry or project for the next five to ten years, which you choose and why?
RD: EDUCATION: I would focus this funding on educating and empowering the youth and less privileged in society. To develop a society, we have to first develop human resources, and this can only be done through education. The less privileged in society are intelligent and hard-working but lack of education has left them at a base life and that has deprived our society of tapping into their strength for the development of the nation. If funding goes into elevating the lives of these street children through education and skills acquisition, there would be a great improvement in the nation’s economy. For a society to develop, its people must develop their own knowledge and skills to handle and solve government and societal challenges. This education should be more practical and skill-based. Providing resources to the youth through education would enable people to take up their own initiatives and make a great life out of it.
To me, education is empowering the minds of people, empowering the souls of people, and empowering the hands and body of people. these become the greatest incentive for living. They become the tool for development in a society. I also believe that, until we demand to feed our minds and also create the conditions to solve our problems in futuristic terms, we will forever remain where we are — if not worse.
RF: What is the best and worst thing about the education system in your country?
RD: Like many other states, the best thing about Ghana’s educational system is that it teaches literacy. Another great thing about Ghana’s education system is that it promotes compulsory free basic education and free senior high school. This helps bridge the gap between the poor and the rich in acquiring basic education. Basic education is no longer the luxury of the rich.
The worst thing is that our education system largely neglects skill-based education and it isn’t practical at all. The Ghanaian curriculum is largely theoretical. We don’t practice or have ground experience about what we’re learning in school. Our education is basically just reading and writing, so we do not have field knowledge of what we’re studying. Another bad thing is the barrier to education. Most communities in Ghana do not have schools and educational facilities. Children walk miles to the nearest school, which is probably located in another community. Also, after the free educational level, most deprived people are unable to further their studies to the tertiary level.
RF: Do you have a message for anyone your age living in the year 2060?
RD: Yes, I do! The message is to love yourself enough to want to become the best version of yourself. Love yourself so much that you can love others irrespective of race, religion, color, etc., and not expect anything in return. Defend life — not just your life, but the life of others. Stand up for a worthy cause that can bring love and peace into the world. Abhor mediocrity. Be humble and not timid. Love fiercely and genuinely and if the love is not returned, don’t beat yourself up — be glad you experienced and learned something out of it. Train and educate yourself. Learn to acquire something more valuable than money. Acquire more knowledge and skills to make yourself valuable. Live life in such a way that people remember you for something more meaningful than money. Let your life make an impact in other people’s lives. Treat everyone with respect. Health is life so take very good care of yourself.
RF: What inspires or frightens you most about the future?
RD: What inspires me most is the willingness on everyone’s part to bring unity into the world. I have hope and confidence that the world would be a better place as the days go by. Everyone is thriving for a better future and it’s great.
What frightens me the most is the idea that our inaction and nonchalant attitude towards the less privileged in society may produce the next batch of hardened criminals that will terrorize us in the future. Our continuous neglect of their plight may cause them to rise up against the affluent in society someday, and it may be disastrous. Also, I fear not fulfilling my purpose and desire in life. I fear failing at doing what I ought to do.
RF: Regeneration is…
RD: Adding value to something that existed before — to reform, to reinvent, to rebrand, to rejuvenate, to make it better than it was before. To make it more valuable, more profitable, more sustainable, and of course to make it in a way that can have a lasting impact in the lives of several other people.
To learn more about Regenerative List finalist, Nupez Foundation, click here.