Miss Ghana USA Pageant enters its 5th annual edition in 2015. This year’s event happens at the Alvin Ailey CitiGroup Theatre in New York on Saturday July 25, 2015. #TheAfricanDream editor Oral Ofori talked to Veronica Tabi; one of the contestants, to discover her reason for participating.
Twenty-five year old Veronica popularly known as Akuaba Hemaa is a single mother striving to achieve her goals while taking care of her son and attending Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. She says she chose finishing her education, working full-time as a single mother and staying positive minded over worrying about the difficulty of juggling all the above.
As a naturalized Italian citizen, Veronica moved to the United States at age 16. She has always been motivated to work in the human service field in her younger years, something which propelled her later on in life to pursue her degree at OId Dominion in Human Services with a minor in Public Service owing to her passion to engage herself more to the service of humanity.
Why is Veronica participating in the 2015 Miss Ghana USA Pageant where she is representing Ghana’s Central Region? Well, she says “after being dejected and going through a difficult stage in my life, I managed to bounce back and thus felt the need to help other young single mothers find their feet by sharing my story and using my influence for positive change”.
“When I had my son at age 22, my life drastically changed and some friends and family looked at me with disapproval, that broke me inside and slumped me into a year of depression. But I bounced back after being motivated by my son and not letting all that negativity continue to keep me down” she said.
Ms Tabi tells this writer that she is “determined to be a living example and this pageant gives me a great platform to share my story while motivating others”.
“My humanitarian goal is to empower early mothers in Ghana who by one circumstance or the other are not able to bounce back after childbirth and have given up on their dreams or themselves”. To recognize this goal, Veronica has become the ambassador of Remodeling Early Mother Initiative (REMI), a Ghanaian non-profit that aims to empower teenage mothers through the provision of counseling and vocational skills training.
“This effort goes a long way to promote development and a better life for both mother and child by helping reintegrate them into the society despite the level of stigmatization that teenage mothers face from friends, family and society as a whole” Veronica says.
She hopes to use her collaboration with REMI as a beacon of hope for mothers and their children to help them put up a positive behavioral change by becoming responsible citizens of their society.
When Veronica was asked about her long term intentions she said: “for future projects, I plan to raise funds towards the building of an educational institution in Kumasi Ghana with REMI to help train and educate these young mothers whose futures we are both passionate about and also teach them skills that will help them become financially independent.”
“Irrespective of whatever position I place in the pageant, I will still hope to officially launch the United States branch of REMI after Miss Ghana USA. I also hope to launch an online fashion market that will sell products made by the mothers through the institution. By so doing, I would be able to raise more funds that will go towards providing free vocational trainings for beneficiaries among other things”.
Miss Ghana USA is an organization that promotes young women through leadership by giving them a platform to be an influential person to the world starting by representing their respective Ghanaian regions.
Gloria Abena Ofosuah Opare founded Miss Ghana USA in 2009, its first queen–Akua Aqyeman–was crowned in 2011. Akua Tokunboh is the 2014 queen. Visit the event website for more information.
Written by Oral Ofori