Today we would like to introduce a very special person to you: Kwabena Danso, the founder und CEO of the Yonso Project, our partner from Ghana. Without him my Boo wouldn't exist in the way it does.
Kwabena Danso is a young man, who has set his own goal to modify the mentality of the people in his home country Ghana, to provide more education for everyone and thereby reduce the (young) unemployment. He left his home village to study, but came back to realize his goals for his village.
Always interested in the development of his region, he enjoyed the privileg to study Business Administration and Psychology in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Nevertheless he decided not to move in the US, or to take a job in the private economy. His way leaded him back to his birthplace Yonso, in the central of Ghana. In 2005 he founded a non-government organization, the Yonso Project. He began collecting donations for this project and started manufacturing bamboo bikes in a small style soon.
But it wasn't always easy, as Kwabena tells us: "It has been very challenging, sometimes good and other times bad. It has not been a smooth journey, but I know that is necessary for our growth."
Back in 2005 he started his project without any capital. An Amercian, who also sponsored his studies, supported him by giving the needed inputs and also by buying the first bamboo bikes. That was how he managed to grow one's business until he participated and won the Airtel Touching Lives campaign in 2010. As part of the winning package, he was provided with resources in 2012 to increase his capacity. Nevertheless he still depended on donations and couldn't develop in the way he wanted to.
In late 2012 Jonas and Maximilian took notice of Kwabenas work and the cooperation started shortly after. This cooperation helped the Yonso Project to get independent from donations and to be self-sufficient.
"As a poor boy from the village with no connections at the time, it was really difficult for me to continue running my business". Today the social project offers the people in the region fair paid jobs and microfinancing, and also finances educational scholarships, school renovations and libraries. Furthermore, the Yonso Project also supports other innovative projects that break the cycle of unemployment and poverty. By doing this, the cooperation with my Boo helps a lot.
Kwabena is a global fellow at the International Youth Foundation and a recipient of the Government of Ghana instituted National Youth Achievers Award in 2012. He was also the winner of the ENGINE Business Plan competition and also a finalist in the Africa Entrepreneurship Awards. According to Kwabena, his goal is to develop the bamboo village and by doing so create more jobs and also come out with other products from bamboo. An additional goal is to support other people in their development and to become a social entrepreneur who not only provides jobs to the people in his region, but also uplift those lower on the social ladder. A completely dedicated and successful man, who we absolutely respect for what he's doing.
As you alerady know, the project planned something huge for 2017! Because it's planned to build a school in Jamasi in the Ashanti Region. The school is intended to give childs and young adults from rural areas and poor families an easier access to education. A special finacial system should help low-earning parents to pay the costs of education. Untill now, there were produced and laid more than 13.000 bricks, but there is more help needed. You can help in a form of a donation here.
We think Kwabenas commitment is admirable and we are glad to have found this great partner. We're looking forward to many additional years of cooperation with Kwabena and the Yonso Project!