Thomas is a problem solver. That’s how he became a volunteer. Whenever he sees a problem he can contribute to solve he goes for it.
That is why right after SHS he volunteered to help students at Edumadze High School in his community. He realised that students in his community didn’t perform well in their BECE. So, Thomas decided to volunteer to teach them. He taught them Integrated Science and ICT. He went further to organise mentorship sessions for the students and encouraged them to pursue STEM courses. In the end, these students of Edumadze High School performed marvellously in their BECE examination. You can imagine how happy Thomas was.
Since then, Thomas has continued to be selfless by helping more people. He volunteered with Compassion international on various sanitation and mentorship projects. At KNUST, he works with the Nectar of Hope Foundation. An organisation that helps students navigate the challenges that they are facing as students. As coordinator, he played a major role in the team to donate solar powered street lights to Feyiase, a community without electricity in the region. In 2019, they gave the students of this community the opportunity to experience life in KNUST and Kumasi to inspire them to pursue academic goals. Thomas also volunteered with the RAISED initiative to help under-performing students in communities. With Open Foundation for West Africa(OFWA) he helps create more Ghanaian and African content for Wikipedia. As a student mentor he provides assistance and counsels his colleagues in his department.
Volunteering has impacted Thomas’ life a lot. He explains, “It has exposed me to a variety of things. I have discovered myself and my potential. I used to be an introvert, but volunteering grew my confidence. It has also helped me to build a large and good network of people both locally and internationally . I have met the immediate past Vice Chancellor of KNUST and some other high profile personalities because I volunteer with Nectar of Hope Foundation.”
It has also impacted his academic life. Due to his volunteer work, his lecturers are always ready to help with any problems he has with his studies. His boosted confidence also allows him to actively engage in his classes by asking thought provoking questions and making useful contributions as well as strong academic presentations.
Thomas has faced his share of challenges with regard to volunteering. From balancing his academics and volunteer life to dealing with being overwhelmed by countless volunteer commitments. However, Thomas continues to volunteer. He is encouraged by the verse in the Bible “There is more blessing in giving than receiving” as well the smiles on the faces of people he helps to keep volunteering.
Thomas believes that as Ghanaians we should all volunteer because “the government can’t do everything. There are some things that as individuals we don’t have to wait for the government to do for us. He concludes that when we volunteer, we ease the burden of people and the community.
Here is Thomas’ advice to you, “To impact the lives of others, you don’t have to do something big. Something small is enough. Look at the people in your community and focus on putting smiles on their faces.”
Thomas Baah Tawiah is a 3rd year student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where he studies Materials Engineering.