By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Senaya Edem Kwasi is a Ghanaian man with a vision. He was brought up in the Ho village until he was about 12 years old and then his father took him to the city to be educated. When he had reached stage 5, his father asked him to stop school to learn fitting (as a mechanic). At this point, Edem was faced with two options. The first option was to become an apprentice mechanic while the second was to continue his education, but by doing so, he would be on his own and forced out of his father’s house. Edem knew that he wanted to continue his education and he found himself on the streets and working menial jobs to make a little money.
After a lot of hard work and saving, he enrolled in a private school to finish his primary education. Afterwards, he continued by enrolling in a Junior High School for the following three years. This was by no means an easy season of life for him and he says, ‘The only way to work my way through is to be working whilst going to school and studies became very difficult because I am always tired at the end of the day. Luckily for me, I had a penpal from Canada who decided to sponsor my education and I had to study hard.’
He was then able to sit for his final exams where he finished as the second best student in his class! As a result of his impressive scores, he was admitted to Mawuli Senior High School. For Edem, the next step was university. He carried his strong work ethic with him to secondary school and was later admitted to Kwame Mkrumah University of Science and Technology where he chose to study Civil Engineering.
Starting university was difficult, as the financial burden was heavy. Fortunately, he was awarded a full scholarship by Educational Pathways International, which eased the financial aspect. However, he knew that it was essential that he maintain top scores in order to keep his scholarship. He proudly shares, ‘By God’s grace, I graduated from the University with a second class upper honors degree in Civil Engineering. I graduated from the university at the age of 28 years! I did the compulsory national service and have gotten a job with a Chinese company where I worked for about four months.’
Now that he has completed his studies, Edem has a new goal in mind. He adds, ‘It has been my desire to make life a little easier and create opportunities for people around me. So with this in mind, coupled with the high unemployment rate in Ghana, I have decided to form my own construction company. It has been duly registered and I have obtained license for operation last year. The name of my company is Conciv Engineering Services. Conciv is currently in operation but on a sub contract basis.’
Here is what Edem has to share about the business, ‘Conciv Engineering Services (CES) is a construction company formed in the year 2015. The main idea behind the formation of this firm is to provide employment to the many unemployed youth in Ghana and also bring relief to others by providing them with quality services at an affordable prices.The mission statement of CES is : To become the number one construction and infrastructure development company in Ghana, a national player who safely, profitably and sustainably delivers best-in-class integrated services, products and solutions to meet our client’s needs. The vision statement of CES is: Bridging the infrastructural development gap between the rural and urban centers.’
For Edem, education is close to his heart because of the many personal struggles that he went through to receive a good education. He hopes that his new business will be able to provide the much needed infrastructure and support to rural children who struggle to keep up with their classmates living in cities. For children living in rural areas, they often have to walk long distances just to get to school in the morning. Edem is optimistic that he can use his company as a vehicle to create better opportunities throughout Ghana.
Edem is excited and optimistic about his continuing partnership with the Zidisha community. So far, he has had four Zidisha funded loans. He requested his first loan of $10 in August 2016 to purchase a printer. He knew that a printer would allow him to print reports and proposals when meeting with firms or individuals for his business. In addition, as a new business owner, he also predicted that he would need to print flyers and business cards, which his new printer would make possible. By using his own printer, he could create these materials for a fraction of the cost.
A few months later, Edem sought out his second Zidisha funded loan in December of 2016 and for this loan he requested $19. With this loan, he was ready to purchase some equipment. He continues, ‘I am currently working on sub contracts but with limited tools and other constructional equipment. To pursue the CES agenda of bridging the infrastructural development gap between the rural and the urban centres, CES needs fund with which to start so we are currently working on contracts in order to gather enough funds for that.’
For his third loan, in January 2017, he once again requested $19 to promote and implement a water closet toilet design that he developed for his community. As he says, ‘The existing structure is in a dilapidated condition and is a death trap.’
Most recently, Edem secured his fourth loan in March 2017 for $471. His largest loan yet, he is excited to make progress on this new project. For this loan, he is using the money to pre-finance a construction project. The money will be used for labor costs. While this is a huge project that he is taking on, it’s clear that he is ready and willing for a new challenge.
In his words, ‘I am a determined person and always pursue my dreams till the finish line.’
Do you have a heart for education like Edem? If so, head on over to our Lend page to find other hard working students that need your support.