In this special episode of #MySikasem, we meet Edward Saa-im, an MPhil student juggling the demands of a university education with the heavy burden of supporting his parents and paying for his three siblings’ education.
He describes his struggle to balance his studies, family responsibilities, and personal financial demands. He makes 3,100 cedis a month and receives no outside financial aid.
Can you please provide details about your monthly household income, including any sources of revenue such as work, scholarships, or financial aid?
“For my monthly household income, I earn 3,100 GHS. Sometimes for my editing gig where I edit students’ project work, I get between 600-1000 GHS. I am not on any financial aid. I’m funding my MPhil myself.”
Can you describe your current family situation and your responsibilities regarding caregiving and financial support?
“This is currently difficult. We are 5 in the family and I’m the only gainfully employed one so I am obligated to take care of my siblings, my family and myself.”
What inspired or motivated you to take on the responsibility of supporting your parents and siblings while pursuing your MPhil. Degree?
“For humanity’s sake, it is important to take care of your parents and family who raised you and took care of you as a child so I believe it is my obligation to take care of my family.”
How much, on average, do you spend on your MPhil. program, including tuition, books, and other related expenses?
“I spend about 8,000 GHS in an academic year, in order to pay my school fees amongst others, I had to cut expenses I give my family so as to cater for myself.”
Could you share the approximate monthly expenses for taking care of your parents, including rent, utilities, and medical costs?
“In a month, if there are no emergencies, I spend about 600-700 GHS on my family. And I’m also always prepared for emergencies”
What is the combined cost of your siblings’ education, and how do you manage these expenses alongside your academic pursuits?
“Thanks to Free SHS, I do not have to spend on secondary school fees but averagely I spend 400 GHS”
How many hours a week do you typically work to financially support your family, and how has this affected your academic performance?
“I work between 7-8 hours in a day and yes of course, it has affected my overall productivity in school”
What percentage of your income or financial aid typically goes toward your family’s expenses, and how does this affect your ability to meet your personal financial needs?
“About 30% to 40% goes to my family and I use the rest for my school and personal needs”
To help others understand the financial challenges you’ve faced, could you provide an estimate of the overall financial burden you’ve shouldered while pursuing your MPhil.?
“So far I have spent 9,000 GHS”
How has this experience shaped your personal growth and aspirations for the future?
“I am not sure about a future for now, I think if I am supposed to go with my plans, I should own a house and start a family by now but I have not because of the family pressure and things I have to cater for at the moment but I’m looking forward to what the future has for me”