Besesaka: Boxing and education show the way out of poverty

5. september 2022

This summer, five Delegates have been in Bukom, Ghana to see firsthand how the collaboration between Delegate and Besesaka ensures a better future for children and young people through boxing and education.

Besesaka was founded in 2019. The organization helps children and young people to a better future by combining boxing training with schooling and by developing their leadership skills – they call it 'Boxucation'.You can read more about Besesaka here.

Hopelessness is the first thing that immediately greets Thomas Bo Holm Nielsen, Solution Provider at Delegate, as he and four colleagues arrive in Bukom, Ghana:

"When I see Bukom with my own eyes, it seems hopeless. Poverty, garbage, wastewater running in open channels – and children of all ages running around and playing their favorite game: Throwing their slippers after used elastic bands. How do you even help a place like this?" 

Personal stories

During the trip, the five colleagues have received personal accounts of life in Bukom: 

"I have heard a heart-wrenching story from a crying mother about how she was put on the street when she was pregnant because her shop was located in a place where a road was to be expanded. Because her daughter has received a Besesaka scholarship, her daughter is now in school, which was not the case before. I have heard a schoolteacher talk about problems with teenage pregnancy because girls are offered what amounts to 5 crowns by boys for sex. And because they are not aware of the consequences, they have said yes," says Jakob Gade Thomadsen, Principal Specialist at Delegate.

Stories like these highlight why it is important to support projects like Besesaka. Education is one of the best ways to break out of poverty, but only nine percent of children in Bukom finish high school. With support from Delegate, even more children and young people can receive a scholarship and break away from their social heritage: 

"With this scholarship, Besesaka ensures that boys do not end up on the street in street fights or that girls become pregnant as 15-year-olds. The families we visited typically had many children, were single parents, lived in dilapidated houses, and generally had to struggle to ensure that everyone could go to bed fed," says Sofie Ambrosius, Consultant at Delegate.

Despite great poverty, Delegate's five colleagues experienced a warm welcome from the moment they set foot on Ghanaian soil: 

"What was common to everyone we met on our way (young and old) was a huge smile and heart warmth that I rarely experience in Denmark," says Sofie

And the trip to Bukom has set off reflections on life back home in Denmark: 

"This week, some children have asked me why I have a big belly, and I have been offered to take someone else's daughter home to Denmark, and at the same time, I have experienced some of the most smiling and happy people ever," says Poul Kjeldager Sørensen, Principal Consultant at Delegate. He has therefore also set three goals:

"When I come home, I will: 1. Smile more, 2. Find a boxing studio and start boxing again, 3. Help Besesaka spread rings in the water, because now I have seen how the project not only changes children's lives, but also their community - creating local leaders who can move their local community forward." 

Next year, a new group of delegates will go to Bukam. One thing is to follow the project from the office in Denmark, another thing is to actually experience it: 

"On our trip, we realized that it is not our task to help the individual child directly. But helping the team in Besesaka achieve more is something we can definitely help with. One of the places we can see we can make a difference - so their organization can become more efficient - is for example by teaching them how to be better at giving feedback, how to structure work and use relevant tools," says Thomas Bo.

In 2020, Delegate and Besesaka entered into a five-year partnership to ensure that more children and young people can receive a scholarship and complete an education.