Stringer met Foli at XOFA, an eco-village on the shores of Lake Volta, during her semester abroad from Hamilton College last spring. XOFA's mission is to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility and Foli is their manager and community leader. She spent a total of one month at XOFA immersed in the organization and getting to know the communities they serve.
"He teaches local farmers how to plant and harvest their crops more effectively and works with teachers to integrate environmental ideals into their curriculum," Stringer said. "He teaches foreigners about the nuances of Ghanaian culture and coordinates all their volunteer activities."
The farm manager from Ghana
Foli is twenty-nine years old and was born in Hohoe, a small town in southern Ghana. He attended a one-room school in the village. At a young age, he learned that poor farming practices were largely to blame for the poverty in his community. He dreamed of studying agriculture and helping his community create a sustainable and viable livelihood. After several years of hard work to pay for his school fees, he attended a two-year vocational school to study agricultural engineering where he furthered his environmental education. Since his graduation, Foli has worked at XOFA where he manages the organization's reforestation, education and volunteer projects.
"I believe wholeheartedly that investing in Yao is not only an opportunity to help a young man receive a life-changing education, but is also an opportunity to help alter the future of communities in Ghana living in extreme poverty," Stringer said. "An education will provide Yao with the skills and tools necessary to solve the many environmental challenges facing developing countries such as Ghana burdened by poverty and governmental neglect. As the phrase goes, give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime. This project is a unique opportunity to contribute to the education of a bright, young leader who will learn the skills to transform his community."