Here’s an e-mail interview I did with Ms Bernice Dapaah, a personality from Ghana who spearheaded the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative. Bernice desired to transform people’s lives by providing employment to many, including the disabled via environment friendly efforts. It is estimated in the foreseeable future that “more than 1500 youths (both men and women) will be absorbed by the busy projects (bio-energy & electricity, solar-powered bikes, furniture and artifacts), created around the available resources to be harvested from the bamboo eco-forest” (Ref: http://ghanabamboobikes.org/latest-projects/).
Bernice is one of the many positive, inspiring young persons my husband Ahmad and I interviewed/will be interviewing to gather data for our current book project, In Search Of Parenting Excellence: Gems Around The World. Apart from being a social entrepreneur, Bernice is a member of the World Economic Forum.
Jamilah: Tell us about yourself, as much as you’re comfortable to share, especially your achievements, the challenges you faced in becoming who you are today.
Bernice: My name is Bernice Dapaah, CEO and Founder of Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (www.ghanabamboobikes.org) and Bright Generation Community Foundation (www.brightgeneration.org) in Ghana. My humble achievements have been greeted with several world accolades.
As a social entrepreneur and a member of the World Economic Forum, I have seen society’s problems as an opportunity to make a difference. My inner passion and momentum stem from the enduring realization that the best way to demonstrate the greatness of my feminine character is to serve society in a meaningful way. Rising to the top has not been an easy walk on the park. I have suffered several pull-backs which almost siphoned off the motivation to continue. For example, I had to spend almost eight years in the house after my basic education due to economic reversal.
Jamilah: Do you think your parents played a significant role in raising you to become who you are now? In your opinion, what did they do right? Please elaborate.
Bernice: In my view, what has become of me goes beyond my personal efforts. My parents’, especially my mother’s, role in my life was critical in bringing me to where I am today. The single most important role my parents played was in inculcating a sense of moral discipline and support toward academic empowerment. These were critical elements of success especially in my early years. Armed with these tools, I could walk through the rough spots with tenacity and enduring perseverance without letup, which greatly contributed to a proper choice when I came to the crossroads.
Jamilah: In which country or region did you grow up? Are your parents’ parenting practices common in that area or are your parents different from others in the same country/region? Please elaborate.
Bernice: I was raised in a small town in Ghana where I spent a better part of my life. My parents’ parenting style was markedly different from the other folks and made a difference. While most parents around were overindulgent and quickly bailed out their children for their misconducts (misguided sense of love), my mom was especially firm but reinforced her values for me through her disciplinary actions and support. Hence, I came to realize that as a child, I needed to appreciate my limitations, work diligently to overcome them and take responsibility for my actions and inactions.
In a nutshell, I strongly believe parents have a huge responsibility toward the children’s success, failures, aspirations, ambitions, morality and guiding philosophies. What is instilled in them will either blossom into future blessings or downright fiasco. Hence, they should be acutely aware of the large space they occupy in the lives of their children especially in the formative years and help them develop and navigate their world with a reliable compass and thinking ability.
Thank you for the valuable sharing, Bernice!
I sincerely hope that Bernice’s experiences will benefit parents and parents-to-be.
Thought of The Moment
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger