Ghanian CGU student in need of financial assistance

Ghanian Claremont Graduate University student Shirley Ayangbah. Courier photo/Peter Weinberger

by Peter Weinberger |

Shirley Ayangbah is a hardworking student from Ghana who left home 18 months ago to come to Claremont Graduate University and complete her master’s degree in economics.

The West African nation of Ghana has made significant strides in recent decades and is among the continent’s fastest growing economies, but it remains a relatively poor country, with 24% of its population living below the poverty line. Even so, its government offers help to those wishing to further their education abroad.

Shirley, who helped her mother run a school in Ghana, is a recipient of such aid, which, along with family savings, enabled her to travel to CGU for her master’s.

But things have taken a turn recently due to circumstances far beyond her control.

The war in Ukraine has had a major impact on Ghana’s economy, essentially arresting the West African country’s economic recovery. In the 18 months since it began, Ghana’s currency has dropped to 55 cents on the dollar compared to before. So, for the past six months tuition money sent from home was worth half as much.

Her plan had been to complete her final semester in the fall while continuing her part-time job in Riverside. After graduation, she was on track to work full-time, which would have qualified her for a U.S. work visa. But the economic uncertainty has jeopardized all her plans.

She has been trying to make up the difference, as has her family in Ghana. But it has been difficult, if not impossible, given the country’s fragile economy. She recently launched a GoFundMe page,, hoping the kindness of others might allow her to realize her dreams of earning an master’s degree and establishing herself in America.

Shirley has been trying to reach out and make connections in Claremont. She takes an Uber to attend the Rotary Club of Claremont’s weekly meetings, an expense the club has been helping defer. She also continues to save money from her job in Riverside, but as a student, her visa only allows her to work part-time.

With her savings being reduced because of Ghana’s currency issues, Shirley can’t even qualify for a student loan. The dominos just keep falling creating one financial roadblock after another.

As of Thursday, July 24 Shirley’s GoFundMe campaign had raised $3,442 of the $11,000 needed for tuition.

“As a Rotary member and resident of Claremont, I am asking our community to make a donation to a person who will make a difference in this world,” said Courier Publisher Peter Weinberger. “Unfortunately, I just heard about this, and her tuition is due July 31. I can personally vouch for Shirley, who is simply trying to make a better life for herself and her family. And they already contribute to our greater good.”


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