America-based Hollywood comedian and actor, Michael Blackson says he never thought access to quality education for children of school going age in Ghana would come with all sorts of financial barriers. He stated that access to education for children at the basic level in America is free and children are taking advantage of it — he hopes for same across Africa.
In his chat with TheAfricanDream.net he recounted his traumatizing experience in 2001 when visiting Ghana for the first time after moving to the States. Blackson said “after being away for so long I was saddened on my return to see children of school going age loitering around while some engaged in economic activities with or for their parents during schooling hours.“
Mr. Blackson who described himself as an ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] child due to the fact that he was born in Ghana, raised in Liberia and spent sometime in Nigeria, where he says he received the discipline that shaped his life, told TheAfricanDream.net that he greatly appreciated the value of education. “Which is why I promised myself to build a school that comes at no cost to the students and their parents in Ghana.“
The school, eponymously named the Michael Blackson Academy and located at Agona Nsaba, in the central Region of Ghana officially started operating early in January 2023. The school has taken it upon itself to pay the fees of children from early through late elementary education for now within the vicinity where it’s located.
This is because after the encounters with the children who were out of school and loitering around and subsequent enquires from the parents of these, Blackson found out that they could not afford to cater for the fees involved in obtaining an education. “This broke my heart, and though I feel a little better with the launch of the Michael Blackson Academy, I still feel as an ECOWAS child more needs to be done, which is why I’m already dreaming of repeating this in Liberia, Nigeria and all of West Africa.“
In his opinion, the comedian-actor described access to quality education as the key to unlock opportunities for children and hence his desire to open a school to cater to freely educating them.
Michael Blackson Academy is a dream come true for this ECOWAS child. “For me to be able to establish his school after almost 20 years of thinking about it is indeed a miracle. Even as I am now looking forward to establishing more of such schools I also want to congratulate celebrities helping to enhance infrastructure in their respective little African towns and vilages but want to specifically call for the provision of more schools.“
As he beamed with a sense of accomplishment in his chat about the school with TheAfricanDream.net, Mr. Blackson disclosed that: “This is my baby built with my own money and I am going to fund it with my own money, I just started a nonprofit to assist me get more children into the Academy. I however also need you guys to help me fundraise so we can do more together.”
The Michael Blackson Academy officially opened on January 3rd, 2023 and it offers free tuition, meals, textbooks and uniforms. He said all that pupils of the school needed to pay was attention. “We just need you to avail yourselves for the teachers to teach and for you to pay attention and learn assiduously.“
Michael Blackson says he further hopes to contribute his quota to the entertainment industry on the African continent by establishing comedy clubs to create the avenue for up and coming comedians to unearth their talents and also develop or discover budding soccer talents on the cintinent for the global stage.
Written by Oral Ofori
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Oral Ofori is Founder and Publisher at www.TheAfricanDream.net, a digital storyteller and producer, and also an information and research consultant.