Born in Ghana but spending more than half of her entire life in the United Kingdom, Rhoda Agilinko is helping young students in the northern part of Ghana to be able to achieve success in their studies. This week on #StudentPreneur, we are looking at the life of this young beautiful and kind-hearted lady. I believe you will be inspired.
Who is she?
Rhoda Agilinko was born in Old Tafo, in Kumasi, Ghana to Stephen and Diana Agilinko who were teachers at the time. She started her education at Siniensi Primary and Junior High School in the Upper East region of Ghana. She is twenty-one (21) years of age. She recently graduated from the University of Kent, the United Kingdom having studied a degree in Politics and International Relations. Currently, she is taking a gap year out in Ghana to establish and build up her non-profit organization before she returns to school to pursue a masters in Law.
When Rhoda was young, she wanted to be a Politician because she loved to help others and being a politician gave her the opportunity to help a lot of people in her community and beyond. She strongly believed that Ghana has the potential to lead a wind of change in the continent of Africa and she wanted to be part of that great change. The dream to become a Politician is yet to change because the driving factor is still the same. She also has an interest in issues about fairness, justice and equality in Ghana.
Rhoda Agilinko has set up an organization helping communities socially and economically in the Upper East region of Ghana. ‘Homeland Ghana’ is a nonprofit organization working to provide resources and opportunities for the deprived youth in rural communities through educational programs. The main vision of the organization is to assist young Ghanaian students to succeed in their studies. It aims to instil in students the confidence that when they buckle down to study and learn, they will be as capable as anyone else in the world to achieve their dreams.
“We cannot emphasize enough the transformative power of education and the good it does for one ’s personal growth. One of such programs Homeland Ghana champions is the School Aid Program”, Miss Agilinko said.
The School Aid program donates educational resources and materials (school textbooks, exercise books, pens, pencils, book bags etc.) to schools in need for a period of two years to best gauge the level of success the program has achieved. These materials are collected in the United Kingdom from willing donors including schools and individual donors.
Why she started Homeland Ghana
“Having been born and raised in Ghana up until the age of eight (8) when my family moved us to the UK, I understand that it could have been me in need of someone else’s help in the same way that I am trying to give it to others. To be given the chance to serve others is a blessing since I firmly believe that when life has been good to you, you cannot help but pass those blessings forward”, Miss Agilinko explained.
There are three challenges facing Homeland Ghana today namely fundraising in the digital age and competitiveness.
“It is a real challenge getting people to understand that with a non-profit organization, people need to constantly support our work and vision. Indeed, a one-off donation helps us but to have people donate monthly is a real blessing and keeps our programs moving forward”, she said.
“Another challenge is competitiveness with other organizations, making Homeland Ghana stand out with the programs that we implement so to gain recognition to energize and mobilize supporters”, she added.
Rhoda is currently involved in working as a Senior Team Leader of “The Junior Apprentice”, a youth program in which a group of young people compete against each other in a series of business-related challenges to win business opportunities and cash rewards. As a team leader, it’s her responsibility to provide direction and guidance to the young people for the purpose of achieving task goals.
Vision for the next Decade
In the next 10 years, it is Rhoda Agilinko’s desire that Homeland Ghana would have supported a lot of schools effectively and enabled them to bring out the very best in the students.
“It would be a complete joy to reconnect with some of the students we support and find out that they are living out their dreams and helping others do the same”, she revealed.
“I also desire that Homeland Ghana gains huge recognition for the work it does and our vision”, she added.
In order to achieve the things mentioned above, Homeland Ghana is working with the best team of people who are specialists in the areas assigned to them. As an organization, they are constantly working to publicize Homeland Ghana to the extent that it gains recognition abroad as well as in Ghana. Since Homeland Ghana wants to effectively implement all of its programs, they do not want to solely rely on the donations of people. They have set up an online store to sell products produced by those in the communities they support such as handmade bags, local clothing and shea butter production.
Rhoda’s parents were teachers who did not earn as much as they needed to bring up their four siblings and herself. Through their schooling and personal sacrifices, they were able to save up and relocate the whole family to the UK.
“When I look at my siblings and all that we have achieved educationally, I cannot help it but be inspired and grateful for my parents. My parents have taught me that education has a transformative power and can take you to places where other ventures may not”, Rhoda narrated.
“The best advice I can give to anyone who wishes to become like me is to strive to be perceived as the most capable, not the most visible or popular. In everything, there is the general assumption that unless you are well known for what you do or who you are, you aren’t doing much. Learn as much as you can, for as long as you can so that you become invaluable. As an individual, it is so essential to know your own worth. We are all astounding, one of a kind, talented people, but then we do not naturally realize that. We tend to let others measure our worth and so often these are people who do not merit any of how commendable we really are.”