MTN HEROES OF CHANGE: Diana Adjei equips over 3400 youth with employable skills



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Nominee Diana Adjei is a Beautician from Takoradi.
Her Project, Aseda Foundation is frunded by her Personal funds.

Motivation
Narrating her story, Diana Adjei explained how uncomfortable she was anytime she saw young women prostituting, hence the project.

“I was also the outing and fun loving type, and anytime I went out in the evening I saw young ladies like myself by the roadside prostituting. Honestly it was disgusting to me, so one day I approached them and offered to live with them and teach them what I know for free,” she said.

“Some of them agreed and they followed, so I started Aseda Beauty Saloon. They were very hardworking and supportive at that time as sisters, so we were able to raise something to build a small kiosk saloon,” she said.

Diana Adjei explained that, “I wanted to build the sisterhood bond so they do not return to the streets, so I decided to live with them in the kiosk saloon, they became fulfilled and secured, hardworking and dedicated and since that time till now, 20 years and still counting Aseda Beauty Saloon trains people for free, so that was the beginning of the big story u will get to know of.”

Project

Explaining her project, she said her salon, Aseda Beauty Saloon had grown to become the Aseda Foundation.

According to her, she goes around the country, mobilise people who are interested in learning trade and also people who by some reasons cannot further their education and are wasting away in some villages and towns, bring them to Takoradi and give them to some trade masters including welding masters, spraying masters, refrigeration engineering masters, tilling masters etc, to learn the job for free.

“My negotiations with the various masters for them to learn for free is by the grace of God. I take care of the trainees accommodation, feeding, clothing and some other basic needs, down to the tools they use to learn the trade till they pass out. After they pass out, I help also with their startup, some I fund them, some I push them to work with people on contract,” she said.

Funding

Touching on how she funded her project, Diana Adjei said,”I don’t know how I have been able to fund this project which has seen thousands of people achieve a vocational trade, but someway somehow I think the proceeds from my little saloon that trains for free and the words from my mouth, guided by God, to other masters  has seen me through all these years and counting.”

Achievements
Through the project, she has been able to talk to 610 masters in 25 different vocations, who are currently training children of over 3400 from different parts of the country including the Northern region, Ashanti region, Brong Ahafo region, Central, Eastern region and the Western Region.

“For two years now that we started as a foundation and this big, I have been able to give 90% of the children the tools they need to work with, 400 sewing machines, hairdryers, tool boxes etc,” she said.

Aside training the children, Diana Adjei said,”we have also been able to help some of the various masters upgrade their profession with professional courses from institutions like the Takoradi Technical University, so they can pass on the right knowledge. The least of them is I do organise my team, we visit the beaches to offer free pedicure and manicure to our fathers and mothers who fish for us for free, this is because they do no get the time to visit the saloon.”

Impact

Diana Adjei’s project brought from the streets some prostitutes who are now bosses on their own while some were already getting married.

“Because of this same project I have won SKYY mother of the  year award last year. So the project speaks for it self, I cant say all,” she said.

Challenges

Financial constraints and lack of tools, Diana Adjei said was her biggest challenge.

“Because of the impact, a lot of the children are showing interest and when they come, accommodation becomes a challenge, as well as feeding and clothing them.
Another challenge is getting them their tools to learn the trade with,” she stated.

“The children are a lot, and besides you cant learn a trade without your basics tools and these are people who don’t even have food to eat, so getting their tool boxes is a very big challenge. The masters are always on my neck asking for the tools, and how can I bring children for apprentiship without learning materials? So all these are coming from the lack of finances,” Diana Adjei added.

Future plans

She intends to take the project to districts so that potential beneficiaries do not travel all the way to Takoradi for the training.
“Also starting from this September we have arranged for the kids to write NVTI certified exams, in a practical form, to make the training more certified,” she said.

Nominator

Her nominator, Sabina Assain said she feels happy and inspired anytime she sees Diana working, making her want to understudy Diana to know what makes her unique.

“For us to grow and succeed as human beings, then the people around us and the society we live in has to grow with us. What ever we seek to do and do well does not only feed us but rather become a blessing to our lives. These ladies do not payback, but the kind words of appreciation is the blessing that has sustained this project till now and personally I have had a different perception now, about life and living and am willing to go all out at heart to help too,” she added.

Beneficiary
A Beneficiary of Diana’s project, Rita Nyaho said as prostitute who was working to raise capital for her future, her life changed when she met Diana.

“When I met Diana, she told me she was not going to take anything from me when she trains me, accommodate me and clothe me. I was shocked. I joined them and never went to the club. Not knowing the clubbing was the madams strategy to pull girls like myself from there. Today I am a graduate of her vocation, she started my business up for me and has also seen me through marriage. I a have a kid now with my husband and I am a madam on my own with apprentices, some of them came from her and I also train them for free,” she added.

Ghana| Atinkaonline.com| Porcia Oforiwaa Ofori