Watch Rachel's Video
  • Is a senior nursing major from Santa Fe, N.M.
  • Co-founded the Kayayei Association, a nonprofit that offers health care, education and vocational training to women and children in Ghana
  • Earned a Student in Service Award, which recognizes college students for addressing social and environmental challenges
  • Strives to live by Gandhi’s quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Offering Hope for Women in Ghana

Rachel Rose Jackson cradles a young Ghanaian boy in her arms. He’s one of many who will receive medical care from the UNC nursing student through her Ghana nonprofit, the Kayayei Association.

Since she was a child, Rachel Rose wanted to visit Africa, so studying abroad seemed like the perfect way to accomplish her goal. But when every university she visited told her she couldn’t study abroad and still graduate in the time frame she wanted, she began to lose hope.

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Her dream became possible again when she came to UNC. Her program coordinators and the Study Abroad staff worked hard to find a university in Africa with classes that would count toward her degree. This led to her studying in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

As Rachel Rose explored Accra, she met the women and children in the marketplaces who lived without shelter or food. She was moved by the families’ heartbreaking stories; many of the women were refugees from northern Ghana who had been kidnapped from their homes. Without protection in the marketplaces, they were often robbed, beaten or raped.

Inspired by their courage and determination, Rachel Rose co-founded the Kayayei Association with the help of a local Ghanaian. The Association provides medical assistance, shelter, clothing and vocational training for women and their families. In order to provide more than short-term relief, Kayayei uses a self-sustaining organizational model: those who receive aid in turn help others.

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While she is in school, Rachel Rose continues fundraising efforts and planning for the Association. She intends to use this experience along with her degree to further her career in international nursing. She aspires to one day play an even larger role in advancing health care in developing countries.

"I admire the Ghanaian women for their bravery and their courage. They face challenges and overcome obstacles that I could never imagine."

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