My Visit to Ashesi
October 25, 2012, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Eric Doku

Eric is an Ashesi donor supporting scholarships through the Ghanaian’s at Microsoft scholarship fund. He was born in Kumasi, Ghana and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Electronics with an emphasis in Robotics from Budapest Technical University.  Eric has been with Microsoft for the past 9.5 years and works as a programmer/technical writer.

On Thursday, September 20th 2012 I arrived at the brand, spanking new Ashesi campus for a pre-arranged visit to take in the atmosphere and (if possible) meet with some of the students.

With Angelina in the amphitheater

I was met by Ebenezer Buckman and Matthew Taggart of Ashesi and, after some brief introductions, Matthew decided to show me around the campus.

Little did I know that Matthew was about to spend almost a whole hour, walking with me and sharing background info about the programs for the students, the services and some interesting tidbits about the newer lectures. Matthew related the energy and passion that had been recently injected into one of the courses by a lecturer named Ayokor Korsah, a graduate from Carnegie Mellon who is now teaching a robotics module at Ashesi!

Robotics?! After I finished wiping the unmistakable drool off the corners of my mouth, I asked Matthew about the impact that Mrs. Kosah’s course was having. And the answer was “…actually, it’s very impressive. We even had a robotics competition recently between teams of students!

Some Highlights

Walking around and seeing the students, made me realize the importance of what we’re doing for these young people! They’re exposed to so much technology and in such a nurturing environment that a part of me wished I was back in college – at Ashesi.

Matthew managed to arrange a quick 3-minute chat with Angelina just as she was running from one class to the next, and I later met with Regina for about 20 min at the end of her classes. These are the two young ladies that Ghanaians at Microsoft are sponsoring through University, and they showed such gratitude and appreciation that I was both humbled and a bit embarrassed.

With Regina after our 20-min chat

Regina also shared some news with me that totally blew me away and made me even more proud of the fact that I’m playing a role in this young woman’s life!

Regina and some students formed a team and set out to satisfy an academic and community service requirement by identifying a problem, and then coming up with a solution. They weren’t required to implement the solution. BUT this team was not satisfied with just coming up with a theoretical solution for an assignment.

Long story short, Regina and her team have now helped the Berekuso traders to form a Trader’s Association and they’ve coordinated with EB-Accion to provide micro-loans to the qualified traders!

Imagine that – because of our sponsorship for Angelina and Regina, there are some traders in Berekuso who now have the loans that they need for growing their business!!

Some micro-loan recipients

In Summary

–          When we sponsor students for University degrees, there’s no telling how far our help extends.

–          The selection process was definitely effective in identifying students who are so gifted, passionate and so driven that helping them financially is an absolute no-brainer.

–          The Ashesi teaching model is so integrated into the everyday world around these students that it’s easy for them to transition from lecture hall to the working world, as valuable contributors.

–          And, by the way, I just made my yearly contribution through the Microsoft Giving Campaign!

Robotics competition: pineapple-harvesting robots

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