“I believe when you push your comfort zone you can expand it,” Jennifer Scotti, 20, said.
Scotti, a 2013 grad from Vets High School, is now a junior at the University of Rhode Island, double majoring in political science and psychology, with a minor in gender and women’s studies.
Through the gender studies department Scotti heard of an opportunity to travel to Northern Ghana, with Saha Global, a non-profit improving the accessibility to clean water and solar energy in rural communities.
Saha Global, founded in 2008, establishes solar power and water decontamination businesses in rural areas of Northern Ghana, where there is very little accessibility. Then Saha Global empowers local women in those same areas, by training them to launch the enterprises themselves. The revenue from these businesses stays within the community and not only provides employment opportunities for women but also increases access to clean water and energy for the community.
Saha means opportunity in Dagboni, a local language for northern Ghana. The idea is to solve problems by establishing long lasting sustainable solution through providing people with “opportunity”.
Since 2008 Saha Global has founded 84 clean water and 20 solar electricity business, empowering more than 200 women entrepreneurs, which has served more than 43,000 people in the region. All of the businesses remain in operation and are flourishing.
Throughout the month of June, Scotti will be working on a team of four or five on one of the water decontamination sites, directly helping to teach people within the community.
A feminist, Scotti was originally drawn to Saha Global’s focus and mission on providing opportunity for women while also providing clean water.
“We can help them become leaders in their community,” Scotti said. “Saha Global has a great success rate and these women are still prospering from this.”
Scotti’s family and friends weren’t surprised to hear she would be traveling to Ghana this summer. Scotti thrives off the opportunity of trying new things and traveling to places where she can have new experiences. At the age of 11 she went solo on a People to People International trip to Australia. Then as a junior in high school she traveled to Washington, D.C. for Girls Nation, a mock senate program, where she met President Barack Obama and even challenged him to a basketball game.
“It’s important to put yourself out there for new experiences, to be without your daily conveniences,” Scotti said “ It helps you grow as a person. I’m excited though because this trip is more about giving back than anything else I’ve done and I believe it will be life changing.”
Scotti isn’t nervous in the least, just very excited for the opportunity. From those she has been in contact with from Saha Global the people of Ghana are “amazing and so friendly.”
She will be leaving on May 31 and returning to the States on June 23.
Before her travels though Scotti is looking to raise $2,950 and has created a crowdrise page. This money in no way benefits Scotti personally; rather, the funds go towards the start up costs for the business. Her travel arrangements are already booked and paid for, this money will be donated right back to Saha Global.
“This money is not for any of my own conveniences, but will directly help people access clean and safe water for years to come,” Scotti said. “You would be donating to Saha Global and even a small amount is going to a much larger cause.”
For more information on Saha Global, visit www.sahaglobal.org.
For more information on Scott or to donate to her cause visit, www.crowdrise.com/getjentoghana. Those funds will go directly to start up costs for the business Scotti and the rest of her team will be establishing.