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Native of Ghana pays it forward with fundraiser

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Walter Kansoriwula from Ghana, pictured Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.
Walter Kansoriwula from Ghana, pictured Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.

If it weren’t for help from others, Columbus resident Walter Kansoriwula said he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Now, it’s his turn to pay it forward.

The 22-year-old Ghana native first arrived in Columbus in 2009 as an exchange student. After graduating from Columbus East High School in 2010, he returned to Ghana.

While he was home, Kansoriwula saw young people who have tremendous potential, but due to financial circumstances are unable to pursue an education.

Such is the case for his childhood friend, 18-year-old Frederick Adjei.

Kansoriwula returned to Columbus in 2012 to attend Ivy Tech Community College–Columbus/Franklin.

Following the death of his father in 2013, Adjei contacted Kansoriwula via Facebook. The two talked about how Adjei wants to attend high school, but tuition is far more than his family, who makes less than $50 per month, can afford.

The tuition for public school in Ghana is about $320 per month, not including housing or supplies.

Kansoriwula, who is an active member of Fairlawn Presbyterian Church, was inspired to hold a fundraiser for Adjei. When he approached members of the congregation, they were immediately onboard with the idea, church member Diane Doup said.

“Everyone wanted to support it,” Doup said.

“To have a personal connection to Frederick through Walter could be very impactful and, knowing the difference education has made in Walter’s life, to help give that gift to another person is an honor.”

Sunday’s event will feature traditional Ghanaian cuisine, a silent auction and special presentation by Kansoriwula, who will speak about his experiences of going to school in Ghana.

The fundraiser is an opportunity for others to learn more about Ghanaian culture, Kansoriwula said.

He said he hopes to raise at least $5,000 for Adjei to ensure he is able to complete his high school education regardless whether tuition rates increase, as they commonly do.

“I just don’t want Frederick to be one of those who are unable to attend school,” Kansoriwula said. “I am going to try to help him. If he is able to do well in high school and go on to college, it will change his life.”

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