The very first time Rebecca Kuntz visited Ghana, she says, she knew what she wanted to do with her life.
“I just felt an overwhelming sense of love and joy and happiness in this community, despite being in the poorest country that I’ve ever been in so far,” Kuntz remembered. “And after I went back to Africa, I just realized that this is what I need to do.”
Kuntz, a 2011 Lyons Township grad, has visited the continent three times—twice in Ghana—and plans to move to Kumasi permanently in 2014 to work with the non-profit Light for Children. Her role, hopefully, will be to run a new education center in the Kumasi suburb of Atonsu, a resource she says the community desperately needs.
The suburb currently has no libraries, no safe community centers and virtually no computer access, despite the fact that all Ghanaian students are required to take computer courses, Kuntz explained
“They all know about computers, but they have never learned on an actual computer,” she said. “Right now there is no community center or a safe area where students can come and have access to computers and books and tutors and mentors and stuff like that… That is a major, major problem.”
A DePaul University sophomore, Kuntz recently turned 20. Her birthday wish: also 20, or rather, $20, from as many people as possible, all to go towards funding the building of the center, which will take $20,000 to complete.
Simple math: that’s 1,000 donors times $20—and that’s the goal of Kuntz’s “20 for 20” project. (Check out the video above for more information.)
“I can't do this alone,” she wrote in a release. “I need your help and your huge voice to help make these kid's dreams of an Education Center come true… Together we can do this!”
When completed, the program will offer computer classes computer classes, literacy and library classes, art programs, summer camps, mentorship, income generating programs and more, “chang[ing] thousands of lives,” according to a press release. And Kuntz will be there to help run it.
Also an accomplished videographer, Kuntz is currently also volunteering with media for a Chicago refugee-resettlement program. Her 2014 ticket to Ghana, she said, is one-way to her destiny: to “empower [people] to empower others.”
“I don’t feel like I’m leaving everything,” she said. “I feel like I’m gaining so much.”
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