By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Bismark Mawuse Bissi is a twenty three year old student living in Takoradi, Ghana. His parents, Ernest Bissi and Rebecca Arkon are both subsistence farmers and have fifteen children. Bismark is their youngest. Out of the fifteen, Bismark is one of three, who was able to further his education. As a younger student, he was able to do some basic trading with his mother and aunties to pay for his basic needs.
After completing his secondary education, because of financial struggles in his hometown of Juapong, he moved to Takoradi to find a job and to continue his education. The economic struggles in his home city were due the collapse of the only textile company in the city. His new city of Takoradi is the oil and harbor city of Ghana. Upon moving, he was able to secure a job with a security company as a night security guard. His new life keeps him pretty busy as during the day he is a level two hundred student at I.P.M.C Training College pursuing a diploma in Computer Systems Engineering.
He found himself struggling to pay his expensive school fees and was unable to get a loan. Fortunately, a friend of his introduced him to Zidisha. Through Zidisha, he has been able to receive three loans to pay his tuition and school fees. He continues to use his monthly salary as a security guard to help repay his loans. Bismark is excited to finish his diploma and in the future he hopes to be able to employ many of the unemployed youth throughout his country.
He shares, ‘My ambition is that one day, I will also marry and have kids where I will be much more responsible for giving them quality education, and also supporting my community in the areas of education, sport, good health, etc.’
While it’s hard to imagine that he has much free time between his intensive studies and a night job, he enjoys reading, researching, football, and boxing.
Once he finishes school he hopes to go into the repair and servicing of computers for companies and selling of computers and computer hardware parts. In life, a big indicator of success and happiness is simply surrounding yourself with the right people and choosing a good environment. His new city of Takoradi is the third biggest commercial town in Ghana with a harbor and an abundance of shipping and clearing companies. There is also some oil exploration in the deep sea leading to a lot of economic activity.
Bismark shares with lenders, ‘I believed it’s a right place for me to use my skills, creativity, innovation and marketing, so as to liberate myself and my family from the shackles of poverty, and then make a meaningful living. It’s also my plan to expand to other nearby towns and cities. Computer literacy is still low in most of the basic and second cycle schools. It’s my hope that if my loan is successful with Zidisha and I am able to complete my course, I would make computer literacy in rural communities a priority. Computer Information Technology (I.C.T.) can be a useful tool in fighting world poverty and that is one reason why I am joining this rightful course.’
In the future, he is also interested in the buying and selling of security gadgets like CCTV cameras to enhance security situations in cities. He believes that this would allow citizens to feel a deep sense of security as they go about their daily business and lives. In addition, as he plans for his business post graduation, he is prepared to make reinvestment into the business a main priority for the first three years. He is also looking forward to being able to provide financial assistance to his family members and neighbors. Furthermore, he believes that he will be able to employ at least 4 people to assist him in his business.
So far, Bismark has successfully secured 3 Zidisha funded loans. He requested his first loan of $174 in July 2016 and he put this loan towards his school fees. He also used part of the loan to purchase a used laptop computer.
A few months later, he secured his second loan in December 2016 of $354. He was able to use this loan to pay his semester school fees and to buy books for his academic work. He notes that he really appreciates the Zidisha support as having this loan allows him to pay his fees on time avoiding the harassment and embarrassment that students often receive from school authorities when they don’t pay on time.
His most recent loan was acquired in June of 2017 when he requested $535. Similar to the others, this loan was put towards his school fees as he prepared to start his 300 level coursework. He thankfully shares with lenders, ‘Counting on the good lenders on the Zidisha platform for your kindness and generosity. Thank you all in advance, and God bless you all.’
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