A film about an athlete from Ghana is inspiring children in Africa to dream on. The film, created by On Running, follows athlete Akwasi Frimpong’s Olympic journey and his goal to encourage children to find their own dream. The film is called, “A Winter Olympian from Africa.”
Frimpong and his wife Erica, along with key founding board members, recently launched the Hope Of A Billion (HOAB) nonprofit organization with the goal to encourage, engage, and empower a billion lives in underserved communities around the world through sport, business, and educational opportunities. The Frimpongs, and those who partner with them, believe anything is possible with resilience, determination, and hard work.
Using the experiences of community heroes like Frimpong, HOAB encourages underserved children to break out of their comfort zones through challenging new activities that show them they can do things they thought were never possible. HOAB engages children in schools and provides teachers with inspiring content in the form of graphic novels to help children understand that what they think about is what they will become.
Frimpong recently traveled to Kumasi, Ghana, and talked with more than 600 students there. After sharing his own story of perseverance, he introduced the students to the sport of Skeleton, by using squares of wood on wheels. He took them through the “Black Ice” graphic novel and film – also produced by On Running – and challenged them to dare to dream by stepping out of their comfort zone and trying new things. As they meet their challenges, they must always work hard, believe in themself, and never, ever give up, Frimpong explained.
“The message we want to instill in the kids we work with is: ‘I Will Never Give Up’ or IWNGU,” Frimpong said. “IWNGU is a Swahili word for ‘cloud.’ Sometimes clouds are fluffy and provide shade, other times they bring darkness, lightning, hail, floods, snow, and even ice. The problems in our lives are often perceived as thunderstorms, but those storms bring water to drink and ice to slide on. It is all in how we view our obstacles. That is how you become the next Hope Of A Billion, by never giving up.”
You can view the “A Winter Olympian from Africa” video at https://youtu.be/o08quO8oaCE
To help Hope Of A Billion continue its mission to empower children in Africa, go to hopeofabillion.org to donate.
Frederick Marfo is a sportswriter and social worker well known for his advocacy for equal chances and rights for all athletes, especially those with disabilities.