‘It wasn’t all rosy upon my return’
On her 14th year in the States, in 2010 Christabel Dadzie resolved for New Year’s that it would be her final US chapter. By mid-year she was packed up and headed West back home to Ghana.
She had left her home country to go to school and had a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University to show for her school efforts. After completing grad school, Christabel worked with a public policy firm on both US and international development work. The beginning was tough, having graduated during the height of the US economic crisis when it was difficult to find jobs.
Starting off with one she didn’t really want, she took it anyway, made the most out of it, and eventually found herself leading a large project funded by USAID, which was an excellent stepping stone to her present situation. Christabel works in international development for World Bank in Ghana and has also lived in Burkina Faso and France. It wasn’t all rosy upon her return though; for her or any of the other returnees who she spent lots of time with. Their shared frustrations and challenges came to a head at a lunch, leading her to found the Ahaspora Young Professionals Group with the aim of providing a community for returnees, as well as a means of giving back.
“Ahaspora really has kept me home. It’s given me purpose to stay even in the most difficult times, with my highlights being hearing people express that they’ve stayed because they met an Ahasporan at Happy Hour who helped them get a job,etc”, she says.
Without hesitation Christabel encourages repatriation but cautions that the move is done for oneself — not for family; not because everyone’s doing it, but because you have your own strong personal reasoning.
We are young Ghanaian professionals who have lived or been educated outside Ghana and have returned home. We want to use our knowledge, skills, and resources to make Ghana a better place to live. “Aha” is an Akan word for “Here” and “Spora” is a stem of Diaspora. This name befits our new status of being home, but coming from and having the mindset of the Diaspora. By bridging the gap between us who left and those who held the fort, we aim to share ideas and experiences in building a true “Gateway to Africa”.
To provide a support system for young Ghanaian professionals and like-minded individuals who are thinking about or have returned home, and to provide a forum for this group to positively impact our country individually and as a collective group. Our underlying theme is “Changing Mindsets, Channeling our Future” stemmed from our belief that by fostering informed minds through giving back, Ghana’s future is poised to be great.
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