Meet our Scholars: Hamida Muntaka
Updated: Feb 25
Hamida lives in Sawaba, a small underprivileged community in Kumasi, Ghana. Hamida, like most young ladies growing up in underprivileged communities, could have been subject to the usual progression of life. It is common for a girl to stop school at an early age and help the family with petty trading, or simply be encouraged into early marriage in an effort to reduce the family’s financial burden. Both scenarios above are more favorable to most families compared to the alternative expense of giving the teenage girl the opportunity to attend secondary school. Hamida faced many obstacles, with possibly the most critical being the loss of her father at age six. Nonetheless, she excelled in the pursuit of her education. Her uncle played an instrumental role in supporting her desire to pursue education until he was no longer financially able. In spite of these challenges, Hamida has managed to uplift herself into what is now her “new normal.” At secondary school, she served as the financial secretary for the Ghana Muslim Student Association and treasurer of The Debate Club in her secondary school. Her experiences in and outside classroom offered her the knowledge and skills to help improve the community around her. She has educated other women who have not been provided the same opportunities as her. Hamida got into Ashesi University College class of 2021, where she is selected to join the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. The program provides a holistic support to high-achieving low-income students, who have shown commitment to giving back to their communities. This includes a comprehensive scholarship (school fees, living expenses, books, stipends, and transportation), mentoring, counseling, and other supports needed to ensure success. Hamida plans to use her advanced education to continue serving her community by empowering others and fighting poverty. Hamida would not have been able to compete for a spot at Ashesi without the help of Nolbed Foundation. After high school, she applied for and won a seat in Nolbed’s gap year program, which gave her further support and training. At Nolbed, Hamida and her teammates developed a solution that accelerated the utilization of the Aboabo Community Library from 6.7% to over 50% in less than three months. She currently teaches social studies in Nolbed’s Abóta Program, an afterschool initiative that aims to boost the scores of BECE candidates from underprivileged backgrounds. Nolbed is grateful to have gotten the opportunity to work with Hamida. “Over the years,” she said, “I believe my uncle has made several sacrifices to allow me to focus on my education to this point. Now, Ashesi and MasterCard have given me the opportunity to be the first person in my family to attend university.” Hamida has personified drive, altruism, and promise while embracing her education with a focus on community. We are excited to see all the great things she will accomplish at Ashesi University College!