Saturday, 19 April 2014

Young Legend of Inspiration- Gabriel Obodai Torgbor-Ashong.

Something struck me when I met this young man in my first year at the Ghana Institute of Journalism; he was different from others I had already met, after listening to him, I knew I had to take action. As time flew,actions and initiatives he took confirmed and solidified how different I felt when I met him the first time.He is "less talk, more action" personified.

Gabriel Obodai Torgbor-Ashong is his name, a final year student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism pursuing communication studies with Journalism as his major.
He is currently the General Secretary of the Ghana Institute of Journalism Student' representative Council and was the Google Student Ambassador for GIJ during the 2012/2013 academic year.

As a Google Student Ambassador then, he trained over 700 students on online Journalism and how best to earn income through it. He has also spearheaded an initiative of distributing over 500 free special Airtel Sim cards to students to make communication among them more efficient and convenient.
As General Secretary, He has immensely contributed to the success of our administration. Thanks to the Council's advocacy, a spacious students’ lounge has been built. He and his team have additionally installed a Plasma TV with a DSTV package for students’ pleasure, convenience and awareness. As of now, the SRC has also contributed to the successful establishment of Radio GIJ, 97.7 MHz. Today, students will directly have the opportunity to practice lessons taught in class and thereby enhance their potential.His early academic life did not all predict someone who would hold these positions.

"My dad is a commercial driver and my mum, a petty trader. I’m proud of them mainly because though they were not educated, they did everything within their capacity to educate me. I had my basic education at La Wireless ‘4’ School. I was one of the least performing students in class throughout my primary school,I couldn't read, write nor even spell simple words. Friends collected money from me before explaining assignments to me. I remember whilst in primary four, I was appointed the class prefect of my class but because I couldn't determine the names of my friends behind their exercise books to share to them, the position was taken from me and given to someone else. You can imagine the kind of embarrassment that brought me". he recounted.


"I never thought I could ever be that brilliant like some of my  class mates till my last day at Primary School: which was known as "OURDAY". I was playfully walking on a school corridor when I overhead two teachers advising the then School Prefect.They told him to often sit in front, be bold to speak and read to the hearing of everyone in class. I picked this advice, used it when we finally got to JSS at La Wireless ‘4’ Basic School. God being merciful, it worked for me. By the time I got to JSS 2, teachers considered me one of the best pupils in class and soon appointed me class prefect till we completed. I then attended Presbyterian Senior High school La, where I got elected the Compound Prefect and head of the Students’ Disciplinary Committee" he said gladly


"Whilst at PRESEC, I was privileged to volunteer for a youth advocacy organization called curious Minds(CM). CM is a media advocacy organization based at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. I had the opportunity to travel with the group to child labour and child trafficking villages to assist children who were being abused in one way or the other. We brought their plight to the doorstep of policy makers and made it known through the group’s radio programmes on Unique FM and Obonu FM. I am privileged to be a presenter on one of the Organizations radio programme for the past four years" he said.


In 2010, through his work with Curious Minds, he was selected together with another volunteer to represent Ghana at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa held in Ethiopia. He was privileged to have met former US President George Bush and then Ethiopian President, MelesZenawi.

After completing Presec La, He gained admission to read B.A. in Communication Studies at the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2010. Whilst in level 100 at GIJ, he and his friend noticed that there was not any platform where students could easily and directly practice lessons taught in class.They energized
and established a fortnight student centred newsletter called Keteke Ghana. Realizing the impact Ketekenews was making on students, they established Keteke Club as a department to invite Communication experts to inspire and train students to write effectively.


They wanted to make impact on others and so they took a bold but herculean initiative. Keteke adopted a village in the Central Region called Otibilkrom. The village lacked potable water, health centre and electricity. The only school there was up to class three and without any accreditation.  Members of Keteke mobilized resources like books, pens and clothes and donated to children in the village.
They taught the pupils there, advocated through the media with a special documentary we made. Partly through their efforts, the school now has an accreditation from Ghana Education Service and the village has a borehole now.

"When we began the initiative and shared the idea with some friends to support, they mocked us and thought it will collapse in no time. Today, I look at the impact Keteke is creating on campus and beyond and become so thankful." he said.

"Through my volunteerism work with Keteke Ghana and Curious Minds, I have had the opportunity to visit the United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Togo to support young people’s initiative. I started reporting for Metro TV recently and I really look forward build up my journalism skills through the wonderful platform
I may have started life as a less intelligent guy but today, the story is quite different. Mates who looked down upon me years back hear of and see me and become amused about where I have reached. I started reporting for Metro TV recently and I really look forward build up my journalism skills through the wonderful platform" he added.

"For me, it’s just by the Grace of God.I am a strong believer in Christ. I also believe that irrespective of our background, we can make a difference in our own small ways just as some of our own colleagues are also doing. To this end I often say that in life, time waits for no individual so you act now or regret later for not taking that important step. Whatever you decide to do, you commit yourself to do it well less you bother yourself. So you either drink deep or you taste not". he advises.

This is my young legend of inspiration.How he never relents till he has taken that initiative and sees to it till its a done deal is really admiring. Many students lives have been impacted through his training programs and I am one of such students. I must confess he really has a heart of gold, he so has volunteerism at heart and never hesitates to be involved when it comes up.
His constant encouragement and "can-do-spirit" is a key ingredient in keeping my blogging spirit alive. He serves as an inspiration to many students on campus. He is inspiring, yes he is!

Kindly take a minute to know him better through this one minute video:

He will be very happy to hear from you.


Google+ : Gabriel Obodai Torgbor-Ashong.
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/GEBASH
Email address : gabrielashong@gmail.com
Blog : gabrielashong.blogspot.com