YAF Ghana was founded in 2017 by Ferdinand Quayson, who was then a freshman at Wesleyan University, with the sole purpose of educating low-income students about scholarship opportunities available in Ghana and abroad to help them pursue higher education. The program also aimed to bridge the gap in access to scholarship information by focusing on the Northern part of Ghana where students often lack access to crucial information on scholarship programs in Ghana and beyond.
In its first year alone, YAF Ghana was able to reach over 5,000 students through its scholarship workshops and mentorship programs. In the same year, YAF Ghana also launched its Scholars Program and admitted three students.
Since 2017, YAF Ghana has reached over 10,000 students through its scholarship workshops and mentorship programs. It has also enrolled and matriculated 25 scholars, some of whom are currently pursuing their undergraduate education in top universities including Cornell, Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Amherst, Tufts, UNC-Chapel Hill, just to name a few.
Ferdinand founded YAF Ghana using a summer grant from Wesleyan University. To sustain the program, Ferdinand competed in several pitch competitions at Wesleyan and other college campuses to raise money.
In 2018, he won the Wesleyan Seed grant competition and struck a lasting friendship with Joshua Boger who happened to be at the pitch competition. Since 2018, Joshua Boger has been the biggest supporter of YAF Ghana through the BOGER FAMILY FOUNDATION INC.
YAF Ghana has also received tremendous support from its two board of directors, David P. Tuttle and Lisa W. Tuttle, and a host of other private donors.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Ferdinand is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, U.S.A., with a keen interest in youth development, public policy, and governance. He grew up as an orphan from the age of nine and spent the greater part of his childhood on the streets of Accra. Despite the lack of support, Ferdinand never relented on his goal to educate himself. He graduated among the top students of his class at Teshie St. Johns Junior High School and received a partial scholarship to Faith Community Baptist Senior High School where he graduated as the valedictorian with the best score at the West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
Despite Ferdinand’s strong performance in the WASSCE examinations, he spent four years at home struggling to further his education. During this time, he worked with several NGOs including the Ghana Volunteer Project and the Rising Star of Africa, Ghana. He also taught General Science and Core Mathematics at Faith Community Baptist Senior High School.
In 2016, Ferdinand excelled in the SAT examinations and gained a full scholarship to Wesleyan University where he majored in Government with a minor in African Studies. At Wesleyan, Ferdinand was instrumental in both academic and student life. He served as the President of the African Students Association and the 2020 Class Council. He was also a board member for the International Students Advisory Board, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Wesleyan Green Fund. In addition, he also played an instrumental role in the Middletown community, serving as a volunteer for the Middletown Refugee Resettlement Coalition and a board member for the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.
In the Summer of 2017, Ferdinand was selected by Junior Achievement Nigeria to help train Nigerian youth in work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. In the same year, he founded the YAFGhana.
On May 24, 2020, Ferdinand graduated from Wesleyan as one of the most distinguished students from the University. He graduated with not only a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government but also four awards from the Wesleyan University Committee on Awards, Prizes, and Scholarships. He was given the Butterfield Prize which is awarded to a graduating senior who has exemplified those qualities of character, leadership, intellectual commitment, and concern for the Wesleyan community; the White Fellowship-Governmentwhich is Awarded for Excellence in Government to a graduate or an advanced undergraduate in Government; Campus Inspiration Award which is awarded to an individual that has shown a deep devotion to diversity and social justice, making them an inspiration to other community members; and finally, the Christopher Brodigan Award for public service in Africa.
Ferdinand is continuing to use his experience and exposure to help address the issues of educational disparity and youth development in Ghana.