by Barbara Allison
1. Fredrick Benneh was raised by foster parents along with eleven other children in the small farming village of Senase, Ghana. Ten hours from the capital city of Accra, Senase had no school or running water.
2. Fred’s first classroom experience was learning on a chalkboard under a mango tree.
3. When Fred’s family saw such great potential in him, they had to sell their farm in order to move close enough to a town where Fred could attend a better school. Even then, Fred had a two-hour walk to and from school every day.
4. After graduating from high school Fred moved to the capital city of Accra hoping to continue his education. Unfortunately, he was unable to afford the admission fee to attend university, and with no other options became a street hawker, selling goods to tourists on the busy streets of Accra.
5. In 2009, while selling phones on the street, Fred met three students from the global studies program Semester at Sea who were just off their ship and anxious to explore Accra. He agreed to show them around his city, and for the next three days continued to receive numerous calls from other SAS students wanting the same authentic tour from Fred. It was this experience that inspired him to become an entrepreneur and start his own tour company.
6. After attending six months of tourism school Fred started his own company called Can Do Land Tours with the mission of giving travelers an authentic cultural experience as well as shining a light on the extreme poverty that exists in villages such as his own. A large portion of every fee is used to give back by providing something to the village they visit. Some examples include installing clean water systems and donating school uniforms so that children are able attend school.
7. Over the past six years Fred has welcomed more than 200 Semester at Sea students, lifelong learners and faculty to his village, and has impacted the lives of countless others through his tours and hospitality.
8. In 2011 Fred won a full Ghanaian/ Turkish scholarship to study at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey. Fred enjoyed his time there very much, but will tell you that learning in Turkish was not easy!
9. When Fred was accepted to HULT International Business School in London, my husband and I became his sponsors, believing that Fred has the potential to do amazing things with his life and for the people of the country he loves, Ghana.
10. Fred is a business major, and plans to use our first school as a model for dozens of others in the villages surrounding Senase, where the need is so great for quality, affordable education.
*** Education is Fred’s passion. Fred knows firsthand how difficult it is for young children growing up in extreme poverty to get an adequate education, one that will allow them to reach their full potential and follow their dreams. Fred has gotten there himself with determination, hard work, and taking advantage of every opportunity given to him. Now, it his time to give back, and give others the same chance.