Carolina Ramirez is looking for the future leaders of Ghana to inspire children in rural schools. Stacey Knott profiles her as part of Pulse Women's Month.
A passion to help girls escape poverty inspired American woman Carolina Ramirez to move to Ghana, where she seeks out university graduates to “be the change Ghana so desperately needs”.
As the director of fellowship and alumni impact for Teach for Ghana, Ramirez says she is dedicated to ensuring all children in Ghana get an excellent education, particularly girls.
Teach for Ghana, an NGO, is part of a global network where university graduates are placed in under-resourced and under-served schools in their home country. The aim is to effect change in teaching practice, school culture, and educational outcomes in the communities they serve, on a two year placement.
Teach for Ghana is currently focused on rural schools in the Volta region, it is in its first year of operation and will have 30 participants working to impact 1740 students in Ghana by the end of 2016.
Ramirez has been spending time in Ghana since 2009, when she studied at the University of Ghana for six months. She has been working with Teach for Ghana since 2015.
Coming from Harlem, New York, Ramirez says she understands what poverty is as Harlem was “plagued by poverty and violence” when she was growing up, and her high school was “not great”.
However, she was part of a college prep programme that allowed her to set a vision for what she wanted, including going to university and how she would achieve her goals.
“That's exactly what we want for our girls and our students here in Ghana.”
She recruits top university students to “be the change Ghana so desperately needs right now”.
“We know that a person's socioeconomic status, particularly in Ghana, can determine where they will end up in life, and we want to cultivate a movement of leaders who are going to go into classrooms to understand the issues first hand.
"After their two year service they can go back into their professions and their careers and be the changes and the voices that will move their country forward and make sure educational equity is a real reality for every single child in Ghana.”
She has visited schools in rural communities, where she could talk to students and understand their concerns and issues.
“What struck a chord was how inequity is so prevalent at every single level of their educational trajectory.”
She would see girls dropping out of junior high school, “they don't understand the material so they can't score well, some are ending up with child, and their life just comes to a stop. There is no other pathway for them to go but fall into poverty.”
So, in her role Ramirez is working to offer support to those children and their classrooms to “catapult them to a level where they can determine their pathway, so no one else can, so they have that choice.”