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Samuel Kwame Mensah is Not like the Other Kids


Samuel Kwame Mensah is Not like the Other Kids

Amanda Giordano


I believe I’m like the other kids, but what makes me stand out among them is my desire and willingness not to just be an observer by doing nothing to better my generation as the light of this world. My job is to assist Jesus and His assignments for a better and a prosperous world. I realize that we are all change agents in this world and fortunately for me I’m in a continent/country that needs massive change in all sectors. Therefore, I do not have the luxury to not contribute to the growth of my continent.

According to Tapiwa Chiwewe, he was driving in Johannesburg one day and he noticed an enormous cloud of air pollution hanging over the city. He was curious and concerned but not an environmental expert. So he did research and discovered that nearly 14 percent of all deaths worldwide in 2012 were caused by household and ambient air pollution. With this knowledge and an urge to do something about it, Chiwewe and his colleagues developed a platform that uncovers trends in pollution and helps city planners make a better decision. “Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen,” Chiwewe says.  “But you need to be bold enough to try”.

A lot of kids in Africa know they are the leaders of tomorrow and people that will change the narrative of this great continent by involving themselves and act on the change we seek, but the series of things happening discourages them to want to involve themselves in anything that will make a difference. They are not willing to be ambassadors for change, and a lot of African kids settle and just accept anything. Their love for the continent or their country is no longer there, some of them want nothing but to travel out of this continent.

I have identified a problem in my country/continent and I set out to find solutions to this problem. I cannot solve that problem if I am far away from home. Africa is my home, and my home is where my heart is, which led to the birth of my organization, Umbrella Ghana. Umbrella Ghana is a Pan African Organization that seeks to empower and educate young Ghanaians, encouraging them to participate in the development of the country to benefit our children’s children, and at the same time we preach unity and strong bond of brotherhood and sisterhood among Ghanaians. In a continent/ country that’s known for every man for himself, we set out on our mission to walk with love. The Bible says of the three things Love, Hope and Faith, the greatest of them all is LOVE. Umbrella Ghana is partnering with another organization to accomplish this goal, Hope For That African Child. This organization seeks to help and support kids in rural villages and to assist families who cannot afford to take care of their wards.  

I remember in my second year in college, the Lord gave me the idea to start Umbrella Ghana. I was determined to be approved by my school congress and for it to be established as a student organization because I knew the benefit it would have on the students even after my departure. I had to face resistance, people mocking at the name (Umbrella Ghana), and friends telling me to drop the idea saying that I was wasting my time and I will be a graduate soon. But, even then I knew I was like these kids, but what made me stand out was my desire and willingness not to just be a bystander but to make sure there is an organization on campus that will equip these bright minds about Africa and also motivate them to stand up and fight for that change that they so desire. What they said to me back then motivated me to keep pushing. As I was waiting for congress to invite me to defend my organization I was already setting up my team and I had a Patron (Mr Akurang Perry, Former Head of Kwabena Nketia Center of Africana Studies). The day the school congress invited me, I was excited and nervous, but I already told Mr. Akurrang Perry I will be defending the organization that day and he said “I don’t think congress will ever turn this down when they hear what you have observed and the solutions to this observation and the benefit it will be for the students”.

I was standing in front of students who laughed at the name and students who supported the idea and when I began talking the only thing that was in my mind was not the faces of people who laughed at me and my idea, but the consequence of me not acting on what I have observed. When I finished talking, a certain lady stood up and she said “If Umbrella Ghana fail to organize two programs next semester the organization will be removed from the school.” I was saying to myself, you can’t tell a hungry man who haven’t eaten for days not to eat after you have given him food. That day Umbrella Ghana was approved at the African University College of Communications and ready to start the job it was born to do. The next semester I was in my final year and we launched the organization under the auspices of Kwabena Nketia Center for African Studies. We invited Emeritus Kwabena Nketia to be part of our celebration and he honored our invitation, but I was not finished. Congress had requested two programs by the end of the semester.

The last program was a group of African American women coming to the school under Umbrella Ghana to speak to the students which haven’t been done before. The former Dean of communications, Mr. Abeku Blankson, called me to his office and he told me he heard that a group of African American women are coming to the school and why didn’t I involve the school to be a part of it because this is huge. I was standing there with smiles on my face and he offered we use his office to receive the guest. When the program finished a lot of students were amazed, some students and school workers came up to me to congratulate the Organization. In 2016 Umbrella Ghana was awarded “Selfless and Dedicated Service”. This award was presented to the organization by; The Nigerian Students Association (AUCC Chapter). Till today Umbrella Ghana is still a students Organization at the African University College of Communications empowering bright minds to be generational thinkers. And the Mother body is out there on a mission to empower Ghanaian youth across the nation and also to preach the message of peace and oneness among Africans as a Pan African organization.

To answer your question, what makes me stand out among the other kids is my desire and my willingness to be a part of something bigger than myself, which is God Almighty’s plan for me to be a light to this world. We don’t have to be an expert to solve big problems. “The world is going to say to you what are you going to do? Do not be afraid to say I know I can’t do everything, but I can do something.”– Cleo Wade.