Access to quality education and study materials has remained a great challenge for rural and small town dwellers in Ghana. Many young people in these communities are forced to engage in trade and other income generating activities to finance their education. For these people, their parents are hardly able to afford the cost of their education. This is the typical story of so many students in the New Abirem area where Newmont Ghana’s Akyem mine operates.
Benedicta Hevi is one of such – a Senior high school graduate living in Afosu, one of the Akyem Mine’s host communities. After graduating from senior high school, Benedicta’s dream of becoming a nurse hanged in a balance as her parents did not have the required funding to enroll her in a nursing training college. Determined to fulfill her ambition, the passionate young lady engaged in petty trading to raise money for her school. She could however save just a meager amount as she had to support financial responsibilities at home.
“The savings were coming up slowly because I was saddled with other responsibilities at home. I would sometimes sell to student nurses and go home so broken hearted over my inability to join them,” she said. Luck however smiled at Benedicta when she was chosen to benefit from Newmont Akyem Development Foundation’s (NAkDeF’s) scholarship scheme for needy but brilliant students within the mine’s host communities.
Benedicta is now in her second year of training to become a nurse, having been part of the first batch of beneficiaries who were enrolled onto the scholarship scheme.
In line Newmont’s purpose of creating value and improving live through sustainable and responsible mining, the foundation has awarded 938 more needy but brilliant students within the mine’s host communities with educational scholarships worth over GH? 1 million in bursaries. The scholarship covers academic user fees, accommodation and books for their entire duration in school.
Executive Secretary of the Foundation, Paul Apenu, explained that the NAkDeF scholarship programme falls under the Human Resources Development goals of the Foundation. “The Scholarship seeks to support hardworking but needy students within Newmont Akyem Mine’s Communities and I’m glad we’re already seeing positive results so far.” He added.
The Newmont Akyem Development Foundation was established in 2014 to drive socio-economic development within Newmont Ghana’s Akyem communities. It was modeled after Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF) established in 2008 for the same purpose in Ahafo’s host communities. The company contributes US$ 1 per ounce of gold sold and 1% of annual net profit to the foundation. So far, Newmont Ghana has contributed about US$ 3.9M and US$ 24M to NAkDeF and NADeF since 2014 and 2008 respectively.