GMB 2021: Alternative livelihoods as an intervention for kayayei – Tamah, North East region

GMB 2021: Alternative livelihoods as an intervention for kayayei - Tamah
Tamah, North East region
Ghana’s Most Beautiful 2021 contestant Tamah is passionate about helping young girls in her community. Tamah, representing the North East region, escaped the plight many girls in her community face – the lure of kayayei.

Recounting her experience, Tamah said losing her mother at a very young age nearly cost her education and future. “My mother was a single mom. She had to raise five of us, and I lost her at a very early age. It was not easy. For my dad, I really did not know him. In the Northern sector, once you lose your parents, it a whole thing altogether.

“I had to live with my aunties. In these our communities, you know how tough it can be living with Aunties. So even going through secondary school was a whole headache. At a point, I felt like I should also give up and come and do kayayoo (become a porter). At least I can get money, save and then take care of my school.”

According to Tamah, young girls using kayayei to escape the harsh reality is a norm in her community. The downside is that they were woefully ignorant about the dangers that lurk behind the façade of prosperity. She said, “The community where I come from, that is Gambaga to be precise, if you look at the North East Region, it is one of the infant regions that was created. And looking at that side, the issue of kayayei has always been on the rise. Young ladies, when they get to JHS 3 or after WASSCE and they have no one to take care of them, they come to Accra to work as kayayei (porters).”

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Tamah, North-East region

Tama revealed that these girls make rash decisions and become stranded once they get to the capital city. She said they do not have any proper place to sleep. Which leaves them exposed to cunning men, who take advantage and rape them. Others, sadly, lose their lives trying to make sense of their situation. “And it is all because they feel they are here to seek greener pastures. They just get up and come. They do not know the dangers involved. No one to tell them that this is the risk involved. They just come because they feel their colleagues came and they came back with new clothes and money. My project is about telling them the dangers of Kayayei. And also teaching them how they can be their own entrepreneurs without having to travel down to the south to become kayayei.”

28-year-old Margaret Johnbosco started her Basic education in the Gambaga Presbyterian School then continued to Yendi Senior High School. She is a graduate of NIIT Bluecrest college after reading business in technology. Tamah is currently studying at the Tamale Techincal University and hopes to be an astute marketer in the future.

Tamah, North-East region

“I chose GMB because it is a very big platform to start with. And over the years, we have seen how young women took up this challenge. Even those not crowned as queens, we have seen how they used this great platform to give back to their society. So I believe that GMB is a great platform, whether you win or not, it is all about how you use the platform. And I chose this particular platform because I know that the kayayei issue is quite sensitive. People need to hear about it. People want to know more about it. And I believe that choosing this great platform will go a long way for my foundation and me.”

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Tamah Foundation would equip young girls with vocational training to set them on an entrepreneurial path right in their own communities.

By Grace Somuah-Annan||Ghana