While her father drives a company car, which happens to be his only source of income, Christabel Boateng’s mother sells beans and gari, commonly known as ‘gobe’ to support the care-taking of five children.
Christabel has lived in poverty since childhood. Currently, the family of seven is occupying a room in an uncompleted storey building at Dompase-Aprabo in Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region.
Nonetheless, the 13-year-old has said, not even poverty and every predicament she and her family have been going through would deter in defying all the odds to become a doctor.
Being among the 10 best students in a class of 66, Christabel, for the past two years, has been using a street light in front of their temporal accommodation to study.
Every evening the determined pupil of Aprabo M/A Basic school spends some hours outside, amid disturbances from mosquitoes, and even the possibility of being attacked, to finish her assignments, read her notes, among other academic activities.
With some few weeks to sit for the BECE, scheduled for November this year, she has told The Ghana Report that she has intensified her academic preparation under the street light, spending more time than she used to do.
“We do not have light at the uncompleted building, so I decided to study under the street light. Because of the BECE, sometimes I stay there till 9:00p.m before I go to sleep,” she narrated.
Determined to become a doctor
Despite her predicament, Christabel has had these words to say, regarding her dream of becoming a doctor: “Though my parents are poor, I always motivate myself that I will be able to change the situation. So, I am studying tirelessly to pass my exams so that I will be able to continue my education and become a doctor in the future.”
“I am very hopeful that I will get good grades in the BECE. I, therefore, want people to support me so that I will go to senior high school (SHS), and see my dream of becoming a doctor come to pass,” she told The Ghana Report.
We need help – Christabel’s mother calls on Ghanaians
Janet Boateng, the mother of Christabel, affirmed the narration of her daughter and said, “she has been studying under the streetlight because we don’t have electricity where we’re staying.
In fact, the place does not belong to us, it is a benevolent individual who has given us a room in the uncompleted building for us to occupy, and we’ve been here for the past two years.”
Although the owner of the house initially did not want us to connect light from a source, the truth is, even if he had allowed it, we wouldn’t have had the money to do it. So, it was when the man (Michael Owusu) came to our aid that we’ve been able to connect a bulb to the house for light.”
On her occupation, Madam Boateng said, “I sell beans, which I usually credit from a woman, so when I sell it then I will go to pay her. My husband also drives a company car, but sometimes the money he receives at the end of the month is not enough to cater to the family.
Madam Boateng, while determined to do a more profitable business to support her daughter’s education, she is concerned about her current place of abode.
“Recently we heard that the owner of the house was coming to reclaim it. I would like to open a provision shop, but because this place is not mine, I don’t even know what to do. I appeal to people to come to our aid,” she reported.
A glimmer of hope for Christabel
Meanwhile, the plight of Christabel has received some hope, following a social media post by a certain Michael Owusu.
The Deputy Judicial Chairperson of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CoHSS) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), concerned about the girl’s plight, took to Twitter to tell Christabel’s story to the world.
“There is this young girl who has been learning under street lights for close to two years because she has no access to electricity in their house. I learnt she’s about to write BECE. I just observe how serious she is with her studies each time I pass by,” Mr Owusu posted on Twitter on Tuesday, August 17.
So far, an amount of GH₵1,944 has been raised for Christabel’s benefit, with part of it going into connecting her home to electricity.