An Interview with Najaahat, a Young Woman with Big Dreams

By Victoria Yamson – Program Coordinator

Najaahat is one of the pioneers of the Self-Help International Teen Girls Club program. She was attending junior high school when the Teen Girls Club in Bedabour was founded. Bedabour is a community in the Ashanti region of Ghana where Najaahat lives with her parents and three older siblings. Najaahat completed junior high school in 2016 and was admitted to Islamic Senior High in Kumasi. She studied Home Economics and wants to become a nurse in the future. 

Najaahat is active with club activities when she is home on school vacations, and she previously served as president of the club. She sat down with Self-Help International staff for an interview to celebrate her completing her senior high school exams. 

SHI: What do you want to become in future?

Najaahat: I want to become a senior nurse. I know it has not been easy and there are still mountains to climb, but I am determined.

SHI: Why do you say it has not been easy?

Najaahat: During my primary school days, I had limited access to learning materials. My community, Bedabour, has no electricity, so studying at night was a challenge. Additionally, as a daughter, I had to help with household chores after school, so the only time I had for my private studies was in the evening. I sat by a lantern in the cold while the mosquitos disturbed me.

If I got a chance during school hours, I would study privately – this is how I gained admission to senior high school.

SHI: Islamic Senior High School is in the city with electricity and running water, so it certainly provided a more favourable environment for academic activities.

Najaahat: It was such a joy going to senior high school and I will always give thanks to my parents and Self-Help for making this possible.

As a rural girl, studying with electricity for the first time was a pleasant relief. I did not want to go to sleep, but I had to obey bedtime rules. Students were not allowed to study after 9 PM.

My parents had to bear all of the expenses for attending senior high school. My parents did their best to take care of my personal needs and provide stationery supplies. There were some rough days, like when I was sent home for defaulting on a payment; but, thankfully, Self-Help’s Teen Girls Club came to my rescue most of the time, and they advised me and encouraged me to stay focused. I will always remember the Sunday when a staff member from Self-Help visited me on campus. I felt so happy. It was a pleasant surprise.

SHI: What are you proud of?

Najaahat: I am proud of being one of the few rural girls who could complete senior high school. I am able to read my mother’s letters and text messages for her. I know one day I will get a good job and take care of myself and my family.

Despite all the challenges that came Najaahat’s way, she was able to stay focused through senior high school. According to her, the support of her parents and the Teen Girls Club brought her this far and kept her motivated. 

She concluded the interview by saying: “I wish to express my profound gratitude to the coordinators of the Teen Girls Club and Self Help for supporting me and helping me become who I am today. Thank you.”