The world we live in is filled with remarkable young people determined to chase their dreams and get an education. But, despite their efforts, youth often struggle to have their voices heard.
This is where David Yayravi comes in.
David, an educator in the rural Lake Volta region of Ghana, is fiercely committed to ensuring that Ghana’s most vulnerable children have the chance to get an education. As founder of Crossover International Academy, he’s dedicating his life to his students - former slaves from the region’s fishing industry or orphans, often victims of human trafficking and abuse.
David first witnessed the challenges that come with a lack of education while living in a refugee camp himself. Years later, he founded Crossover, which has now grown to over 400 students.
Now, also inspired by his two daughters, he’s reshaping the perception of girls in his community by empowering his female students - Ghana’s future female leaders - to demand rights and respect.
“I am willing to do everything to see girls fully emancipated from masculine oppression,” David says.
This is an impressive goal, as David notes that the majority of men in his community are not committed to the cause.
Many do not realize that empowering women and girls benefits entire communities and countries. Here in Ghana, male superiority is a deeply ingrained cultural belief and the fear of diminishing men’s power prevents girls from succeeding.
What we love about David is that he knows that a better world for girls depends on everyone. He also teaches his male students that girls are not to be undervalued and that poverty is directly connected to gender inequality.
“I am trying to break the traditional mentality of thinking that females are inferior and inspire students from a young age that all people, no matter their gender, age or socioeconomic background, are partners in empowering girls and women,” he says.
Lucky for us, David stumbled upon Girl Rising while in search for a platform to voice concerns for his female students.
He helped empower the students to organize a march in the center of their town so they could teach others about the value of girls. Now that the girls are empowered and encouraged, he says, nothing can stop them.
“My students are like the girls in Girl Rising,” he says. “They are the most disenfranchised but they are fighters. When my students saw Girl Rising, they saw themselves and felt proud.”
Lasting change comes when girls are educated and empowered. And change will benefit everyone!