As a young student growing up in Tarkwa Breman, a rural village in Ghana, Shadrack Frimpong noticed that his female peers would often stop coming to class. When he arrived at Penn, Frimpong resolved to do something about it.
A recipient of the 2015 President’s Engagement Prize, Frimpong is now putting his Penn education to good use in his home village of Tarkwa Breman. His Prize funds will go toward the construction of the Tarkwa Breman Model School for Girls and Community Clinic, a facility that will comprise a school for girls and a medical clinic.
The community clinic will include consultation rooms, a pharmacy, a dressing/injection room, a laboratory, a delivery room, and an on-call room. Frimpong says that he hopes to offer places at the school for 200 girls, ages 5 to 17.
It’s wonderful that Penn is supporting me in taking this on. It speaks of the University’s commitment to health-care access and women empowerment. I’m excited to see how this project can work hand-in-hand with the University of the long term.
He is currently working with the Ghanaian ministries of Health and Education to supply teachers and doctors to staff the school and clinic. The goal is to open the facility in July 2016.
“It’s wonderful that Penn is supporting me in taking this on,” says Frimpong. “It speaks of the University’s commitment to health-care access and women empowerment. I’m excited to see how this project can work hand-in-hand with the University of the long term.”
Even before the President’s Engagement Prizes were created, Frimpong had his mind set on improving access to education and medical care in Africa. During his childhood, he witnessed friends and family members suffer from diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B. The nearest medical center to his native village was several miles away, and the closest comprehensive medical clinic was 150 miles away.
Key to Frimpong’s success has been his willingness to seek out partners. For example, with the support of his parents, Frimpong met with his village’s chief, who arranged for the donation of 100 acres of land on which the facilities will be built. A portion of that land will be cultivated. Students’ families will work on the farm once a week in exchange for a free education for their daughters.
When the opportunity for students to apply for the President’s Engagement Prizes came about, Frimpong recognized it immediately as a chance to put his dream into action.
“I’ve been at Penn since 1983 and have worked with lots of undergraduates and graduates over those years, but Shadrack stands out,” says Penn Medicine professor Harvey Rubin, Frimpong’s project mentor. “He is just electrifying. He is so articulate about what he wants to accomplish, and it’s more than just, ‘I’m going to save the world.’ He really thinks deeply about these things and he knows how to implement them.”
Health and Education in Africa
Frimpong is establishing the Tarkwa Breman Model School for Girls and Community Clinic in his poverty-stricken home village of Tarkwa Breman, Ghana. The Tarkwa Breman Model School for Girls and Community Clinic will serve young girls and citizens in Tarkwa Breman, as well as citizens in the surrounding seven villages.
Tarkwa Breman, Western Region, Ghana
Arts and Sciences
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