Ghanaian student Kezia Sanie makes final 10 for US$100k Global Student Prize 2023

A 23-year-old law student at Ghana School of Law in Accra Kezia Sanie, was selected from nearly 4,000 applications from 122 countries. partnered with the Varkey Foundation to launch the Global Student Prize two years ago, a sister award to its $1 million Global Teacher Prize. It was established to create a powerful new platform that shines a light on the efforts of extraordinary students everywhere who, together, are reshaping our world for the better.

The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills program. Part-time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize.

Kezia Sanie is a law student aspiring “to be a global asset in the legal field and humanitarianism” and is the founder and president of For The Future Ghana (FTF), a charity she started with a group of high school classmates.

She was able to influence and convince not only members of her class to start this charity, but around 50 students from other High Schools to join as well when she was just 16, driven by a passion to help others, especially underprivileged children to ease their burden and help them realise their potential.

FTF is currently sponsoring 13 underprivileged children through school as well as ensuring their total well-being. Just seven years since starting, FTF has directly impacted the lives of over 3,000 underprivileged children in underserved communities across Ghana by providing them with food and educational materials to ensure that they receive quality education.

Acclaim for her work saw Kezia receive the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Young Achiever’s Summit in 2020, a local scheme recognising and rewarding young entrepreneurs excelling in their various fields.

That same year, FTF won the Project/Initiative Award at the Young Achiever’s Summit. Last year they won the Community Influencer of the Year Pan African award from Pulse Africa, the well-known African news agency. Kezia was recently appointed to serve as a member of the board of trustees of the Head of State Awards Scheme in Ghana which is a member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association, and provides a non-formal educational and learning framework for the development of thousands of young people with the requisite skills and competencies for life and work.

Her love for children also led Kezia to take up a part-time job as an elementary school teacher at the WIT School in East Legon, Ghana, teaching Literacy, History and Geography with a 21st-century approach using technology. She is also a mentor to hundreds of students in different basic schools in Ghana, empowering them through her speaking and mentorship engagements. Impact Fund, run through the Tides Foundation, intends to launch a new Chegg Changemaker Fund for all the top 50 Global Student Prize finalists, since the award’s inception in 2021, who are participating in the Chegg Changemakers program.

These changemakers will be able to apply for funding to boost their own impact projects and initiatives. At the same time, Chegg also launched its Changemakers Mentor Program, in which all the top 50 finalists will have the chance to be paired with a Chegg member of staff, based on their educational background, skills and interests, to mentor and advise them on their studies, pursuit of good causes and, ultimately, careers.

Heather Hatlo Porter, Head of and Chief Communications Officer of Chegg, Inc., said: “I am delighted and honored to congratulate Kezia Sanie on becoming a top ten finalist. Your commitment, creativity, and resilience are truly inspiring. This honor is not only a reflection of your remarkable achievements but also a testament to the brighter future you are actively shaping for all of us day by day.

“The Global Student Prize is a platform for incredible students all over the world to share their stories, connect with each other, and reach influencers in education and beyond. As so many of these students are already doing such exceptional things for their communities and the wider world, we are thrilled to announce the Chegg Changemaker Fund, to help further their remarkable work so they make an even bigger difference. We are also excited to be able to connect them to additional support, encouragement and mentorship through the recently launched Changemakers Mentor Program”.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: “I extend warm congratulations to Kezia Sanie. Your story illustrates the crucial role education plays in building a better tomorrow for everyone. It is the key to solving humanity’s greatest challenges, from war and conflict to climate change to growing inequality”.

The other top 10 finalists for the Global Student Prize 2023 are: Victoria Rojas, 17, studying as a Master Builder at St. Arnold Janssen Polytechnic Institute No. 0418, Posadas, Misiones, Argentina; Glasgow, UK, resident Ally Zlatar, a 26-year-old creative arts student at Australia’s University of Southern Queensland, Australia;

Tanzeel Rashid, a 22-year-old development studies student at Bangladesh University of Professionals, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

Nhial Deng, a 24-year-old global studies and communication student at Huron University College, London, Ontario, Canada;

Elisa Torres Durney, an 18-year-old student from Valparaíso, studying at Colegio Champagnat, Villa Alemana, Valparaíso, Chile;

Ravinder Bishnoi, a 20-year-old information technology student at Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran, Mohali, Punjab, India;

Kenneth Chong, a 22-year-old Chemical Engineering student at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Perak, Malaysia;

Brianna-Alexandra Stan, an 18-year-old Mathematics and Informatics Bilingual English Specialisation student at Laude-Reut Educational Complex, Bucharest, Romania;

Sophia Andrews, is a 21-year-old International Relations student at the American University, Washington D.C, USA.

The winner is expected to be announced later in the year and will be chosen from the top 10 finalists by the Global Student Prize Academy, made up of prominent individuals.

Applications and nominations for this year’s Global Student Prize opened on 19 January and closed on 14 May. Students are being assessed on their academic achievement, impact on their peers, how they make a difference in their community and beyond, how they overcome the odds to achieve, how they demonstrate creativity and innovation, and how they operate as global citizens.

Last year’s winner was Ukrainian teenager Igor Klymenko, a 17-year-old student from Kyiv, Ukraine, who moved to the countryside at the start of the Russian invasion to finish his final year of high school. Sheltered in the basement of his new home, Igor successfully completed his studies while refining the mine-detecting drone he had been working on for eight years. He was selected as the winner of the 2022 Global Student Prize from over 7,000 applications from more than 150 countries.

The first winner in 2021 was Jeremiah Thoronka, a 21-year-old student from Sierra Leone, who launched a start-up called Optim Energy that transforms vibrations from vehicles and pedestrian footfall on roads into an electric current. With just two devices, the start-up provided free electricity to 150 households comprising around 1,500 citizens, as well as 15 schools where more than 9,000 students attend.