Shadrack Osei Frimpong; a Cocoa Farmer’s son who won the President’s Prize of $150,000 at the University of Pennsylvania and built a hospital for his community


Ben Dotse Malor and Shadrack Osei Frimpong



I’ve just met an absolutely delightful, accomplished, and amazing young man here at the United Nations, New York. Shadrack Osei Frimpong is the son of hardworking cocoa farmer-father and charcoal-selling mother in Tarkwa Breman, a rural community in the Western Region of Ghana. He has a compelling, touching, and inspiring story that must be shared.

*Cocoa is Ghana – to a large degree. For many decades, this crop has been Ghana’s biggest foreign exchange earner, and it is morally right to think, believe, and expect that NO CHILD OF A COCOA FARMER SHOULD STRUGGLE TO HAVE AN EDUCATION IN GHANA. But this is not the case. Many children of cocoa farmers never get the education they deserve – education they need to uplift themselves and their families.

*As his mother sold charcoal and his father farmed cocoa, the bright young Shadrack Osei Frimpong struggled, strived, and hustled to make it out of Tarkwa Breman, through Opoku Ware School in Kumasi, to the prestigious University of Pennsylvania, here in the USA.

*His dream is to become a medical doctor.
And in 2015, something remarkable happened: as he completed his first pre-med degree, he won the university’s highest honour, the President’s Prize, which came with a handsome cash amount of $150,000. The Prize required that the money be used for an impact-making initiative in his country. Should he simply forget about this prize and continue to medical school? Or, should he take the Prize money and get back to Ghana to make some impact first. Shadrack selflessly opted for the latter.

Through #Cocoa360, he has pioneered the “sweat-for-impact” model in Tarkwa Breman, with three key components:

1. A tuition-free girls school ;
2. A community clinic self-sustained by proceeds from
3. A community-held cocoa plantation

In exchange for tuition-free education and subsidized healthcare, community members assist with work on the non-profit’s cocoa farm. The profits from cocoa sales are used to self-sustain the operations of the school and health facility. Today, with 25 full-time staff members, 90 students and a projected annual reach of 2,500 patients, Cocoa360 continues to impact lives across eight communities in that area.
All in less than 2 years.

Shadrack’s work has already attracted high-level and international attention.
He was recently chosen out of 4,000 nominations to be a 2018 Queen’s Young Leader Award Winner, representing Ghana. He will be meeting Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth in the U.K, for the award soon. He has also been hailed by President Bill Clinton as the “next Paul Farmer.”

Shadrack is still keen on becoming a physician-scientist, with a desire – guided by his childhood experiences – to specialize in public health and health economics. He told yesterday, how, as a child, his legs were nearly amputated after contracting an infection from the local (Ankobra) river. His parents simply didn’t have the money to take him quickly or early to hospital – but managed just in the nick of time to get him medical help in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city. (BTW: Tarkwa Breman is nowhere near the well-known mining and university town of Tarkwa. The two places are some 67 kilometres apart with a road journey taking two hours or more.)

Shadrack Osei Frimpong carries a spirit of SELFLESSNESS, SACRIFICE and SERVICE. He is bright, energetic, and full of vim. He is a great example and wonderful model of what one person can do to change their village, community, or a generation. He is a leader in what can happen when we take concrete steps to give back to the communities and families that made us.
He is a change-maker, a proof-producer, and solution-finder.
He is going places and higher too – as he returns to his medical school track. Pray for Shadrack. Support his exemplary work through

I am the fish-seller-plus-cassava-farmer – who has, somehow, ended up – at the United Nations ? .
Shadrack is the cocoa farmer at UPenn, on his way to becoming a great doctor and health systems innovator.

(Thank you, Sangu Delle, for this inspiring connection – Iron sharpeneth iron. Nana: Our brother said Mr. Lavoe’s story inspired him to get in touch.)


Source: Culled from Ben Dotse Malor’s Facebook wall