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The Ride On! Project: College Admission Essay Sample

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The ladder is broken - the socioeconomic ladder of Ghana that is. There are several missing rungs, leaving a large gap between the first few steps and those leading towards the top. This disparity makes it difficult for underprivileged Ghanaians to improve their lots. Every day, on our 20-minute drive to school, I am reminded of those missing rungs as the car whizzes by students who are on their own 90-minute journey to school. They take so much time preparing for and traveling to school that they arrive late, hungry, thirsty, and end up too tired to concentrate. Naturally, their education suffers. Often, some lose the energy or motivation to go to school. Others drop out of school once they see there are other ways they can help their family. So much for the “Africa Rising” narrative and for education being a tool for upward mobility.

My interest in the socioeconomic gap stemmed from the realization that, in my opinion, it is the main factor keeping the country from achieving its full potential. In recent years, Ghana’s culture has become a force to be reckoned with; its music, fashion, and art reaching global standards. Growing up on Ghanaian soil, I developed a national pride that found me cheering alongside other Ghanaians at sporting events, playing Ghanaian music to the confusion of my American friends, and feeling a deep sense of achievement whenever the country made some kind of progress. If this gap is one of the major things keeping us from rising, I want to do something about it.

The trigger came whilst doing some research about NGOs in Ghana for a documentary assigned to me in my humanities class. My documentary focused on the Village Bicycle Project, which supplies bicycles to isolated villages in Ghana and Sierra Leone. When filming the documentary, I realized how a single bicycle could drastically improve a person’s livelihood. It dawned on me that cycling to school would solve several of the problems that these kids had. I gathered a small group of friends from school and I called the endeavor Ride On! We wanted to empower students in need, not pity them. Our specific aim was to donate bicycles to students who lived the farthest away from school. In the first phase of the project, I hosted a fundraising raffle and was able to donate 25 bicycles, each with a helmet and pump, to students at the La Yahousha Junior High School. Frankly, I was emotional about the prospect of what the bicycles would do for the students and what they would be able to achieve. I realized that this project had the potential to strengthen the Ghanaian community if done right. In this moment I began thinking of the future of Ride On!

Since our initial donation, we donated another 25 bicycles to students at La Yahousha. We have built a strong bond with this school and have decided to focus our efforts there for the time being. Living in Ghana, I have the opportunity to expand Ride On! and follow-up on the schools we work with to ensure that the project is sustainable. I have created a documentary that tells the story of Ride On! in the hope that this will draw more attention to the project. In order to make this project more sustainable, my goal for the long-term is to turn it into a foundation which would be run by a club at my school. The club would continue to donate bicycles, as well as work closely with the schools receiving them to ensure that the students are truly benefitting from them. My greatest wish is that with the implementation of the club, I can contribute to the repair of the socioeconomic ladder. As Ghana continues to develop, I want all Ghanaians to progress up the ladder with it.

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