From Kayayoo to a Startup
Teni Agana stopped going to school when she was 16 because her parents could barely make ends meet or take care of her and her two siblings. Teni decided to travel from Bolgatanga to Kumasi, a journey of about 10 hours to find work. With no professional training, she became a Kayayoo (female head porter) with the aim of saving money for her education. Kayayei are women and young girls who migrate from the northern parts of Ghana to bustling capitals like Accra or Kumasi with the hope of earning a decent income. As they search for a livelihood, they also suffer a lack of access to safe housing, sanitation, and security. They are also intensely susceptible to theft, sexual and emotional abuse. Many become pregnant and lack facilities to support the upkeep of their children in the markets where they work as porters.
“Growing up, I had imagined myself in a graduation gown, and I wasn’t prepared to let go of that dream.”