Inspiring Stories
A collection of personal Interviews with celebrated leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate honchos or any success stories.

Christabel Ofori

How do you want the world to know you? A brief Introduction.

I am an easygoing, fun-loving, optimistic and enthusiastic young woman; a chemical engineer by profession, a singer and writer by passion, a philanthropist by character, and an up and coming social entrepreneur. I love maths and science, and love to solve problems, and would always accept healthy challenges. I hate to see people treated badly or less than they deserve. I also believe that every problem has a solution, embedded in someone who needs just a little inspiration and motivation to put it to action. And this is one of the reasons I started the IHAV Foundation, an organization which seeks to identify and challenge the African youth to envision change and act on it.

What's the major challenge you currently face as a group?

IHAV Foundation's journey has been a very challenging and ambitious one, as well as very time and thought consuming, but it has been very worthwhile. The major challenge has been getting people to support the vision. People show interest in the vision but show little commitment to help out in any way they can. We need all the help we can to put Africa back on its pedestal.

What are the responsibilities of the youth today, towards the development of the society according to you?

We, as youth, are responsible for our own well-being and development, the well-being of our families, and the total development of our societies and countries. We can no longer sit and wait to see it happen. We have to make it happen. Whatever we have been waiting for, we have to do it ourselves. We should no longer wait to go to school first, or be employed by another person, or be in a key political position; we have run out of that time, we need to be and make the difference. We hold it in our hands, it only requires a renewing and change of mind. But we cannot do it alone as individuals in separate corners, we must collaborate and work towards a common vision of better livelihoods for all. What motivated you to start something on your own?

Generally, I try to motivate myself but what pushed me more to start the IHAV Foundation was the kind of interesting and exciting accomplishments I saw other young people like myself do and share, especially after I had attended the South American Business Forum in Argentina. These young people rose up to the challenge, defied the odds and did it. I knew that if they could, then I could too.

What have been the diverse projects that you've worked on?

I have volunteered with students and lecturers from the University of Texas-Austin to set up a sachet water enterprise for a small community in Ghana, in an attempt to provide employment and help them better the quality of life. My major project has been the first IHAV conference last July, which brought to-gether young brilliant, outstanding and passionate changemakers from different countries in Africa, to reason together and start projects aimed at benefitting our immediate societies and countries. I have also started a project called PINK Diamonds, which I refer to as my 25th birthday present to my country. I intend to inspire, mentor and groom young girls living in rural communities to become bold and smart and overcome societal and gender barriers.

Being an ICON how are you representing the IU e-Magazine? How have you benefitted? What is your piece of advice for future applicants?

Winning the ICON of the month has been a great experience for me. I have had a lot of people congratulating me and telling me how my life is challenging and inspiring them. A lot of them have subscribed to the e-Magazine and some have even started writing for the magazine. I have acquired lots of learning from the competition, and have been stretched to my limits, learning to be patient, persistent and a good communicator. My advice to future applicants is that, nothing good comes easy. It takes a lot of time, strength, talking, luring, and commitment to make it to the top. It is frustrating at a point, and can even feel lonely at times, like no one is responding, but if you just keep on, and not give up, and reach out to more people, you will make it.

Lessons in the course of Life are infinite. Can you share any 3 Unforget-table lessons of your Life?

My first lesson is this: People are usually more interested to join in your glory, than to help out in your struggles, don't let it discourage you.
Lesson 2: People will always talk about you and what you do no matter what; and mostly, it may be negative. Don't compromise on your values just to please them. Do what is right, and in the end they will appreciate what you stood for.
Lesson 3: It takes a lot of effort, commitment and sacrifice to make it to the top. Don't envy people's successes, rather try to learn from their experiences and stay committed to your vision.

What is the message that you want our readers to take back from your story?

Our life's journey is not a smooth and straight one. There are hurdles along the way, not designed to make us fall, but rather positioned to help us discover how high we can really jump. You can do it if you put your mind to it; believe in yourself, trust God, and put that vision into action.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on October 2013.

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