Preface By Herman Mason Ph.D.
Ishmael O. Odamtten also called (Ishi) and for the purpose of this article will be referred to as such, was born in La, a town of Accra in Ghana. Life in most Third Word countries is typically similar with high unemployment, low economic opportunities, limited educational development, and violent circumstances. Ghana is no different, and it is out of these circumstances that Ishi emerged. From a tender age he experienced struggling events but with determination and strong willpower he has emerged into a man of strong will and determination. Ishi can be counted among the few who have emerged with a degree of success.
Ishi is a man with a heart of gold, a man with integrity, a man with a passion not only to succeed and achieve for himself but to make a contribution to the development of the down trodden around the world. Ishi presents himself, selflessly as a man looking out for the poor, the people without a voice. Ishi’s belief in God has proven to be one of the major contribution factors to his determination to make a lasting and positive mark on the world as it relates to humanitarian outreach. This along with his experiences throughout live has instilled a vibrancy very rarely seen in someone of his age. His selflessness is not only in words but is manifest in his willingness to sacrifice his time and finances.
Ishi is a man who will long be remembered, and I personally am inspired by his philanthropic ideas, ventures, and future prospects and proposals.
Ishi is a Ghanaian and United States citizen through Naturalization, a Molecular Biologist who got his scientific education from Michigan State University and The University of Dusseldorf. He is the cofounder and President of The Ishi Odamtten Foundation. Within Ishi’s community the youth are often devoid of the hope of ever attaining higher academic standards. Nonetheless, Ishi’s parents who both passed away before his teenage years instilled in him that necessity to strive for academic success.
Both of Ishi’s parents passed before he entered middle school but instead of falling by the wayside, these occurrences only served to strengthen his resolve. Ishi held on to the academic ambitions his parents had instilled in him. Ishi subsequently moved to La-Emmaus, a suburb of Accra to live with his mother’s cousin and his family. Life definitely wasn’t easy for Ishi as he went through his middle and high school years. While going to school Ishi did manual labor jobs and also sold items on the streets of Accra to see himself through senior high school.
Two years after Ishi graduated from Accra Academy (high school), he maintained a job as a pump attendant for Shell Oil Company (Shell Ghana) to save money for college. By the grace of God Ishi was fortunate enough to win the United States diversity visa lottery and obtained entry to the United States.
Shortly after Ishi’s arrival in the United States, his sister died of diabetics and two years later his brother- in-law also died due to lack of funds for medical treatments. These are some of the situation that has strengthened Ishi’s resolve and his continuous desire to reach out to others. The three children of his late sister became his responsibility to provide funds for tuition, clothing and food. This meant that Ishi now had a ready-made family. Life became very difficult for him but he stood on his ground and fathered the three children while also graduating from college with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with specialization in Gene Cloning and DNA analysis.
Ishi has served as a leader in different organizations and institutions in Ghana and the United States. He served as the student representative for Pennsylvania Middle States Task Force for Education, Montgomery County Community College disciplinary board member, cofounder for International Students Association and President and cofounder of African Students Association. Ishi also served as the President of Michigan State University African Students Union, and cofounder of Spartans against Disease, a Michigan State University student organization formed to help eradicate disease in communities devastated by diseases.
Ishi is a chemist for Neogen Corporation and in the process of applying for graduate schools where he intends to pursue his PhD with the ultimate aim of garnering the necessary research experience required to make a meaningful contributions to the development of new drugs and other genetic engineering innovations that could help address medical, environmental and global problems.
Ishi believes that the poor and needy must be giving a helping hand and that society and governments should never stop designing strategies that fight problems of economic hardship in underdeveloped communities. Based on these principles and out of compassion Ishi decided to establish The Ishi Odamtten Foundation.
Ishi’s vision is to dedicate his life to helping in the provision of food, clothing, housing, healthcare and education for orphans and street children in order to increase job opportunities, and further provide for people from disadvantage background that society and governments has given up on in different parts of the world. Ishi believes that the main solution to socio economic problems in the poor communities all over the world is lack of education and job opportunities. It is the goal of the Ishi Odamtten Foundation to help bring hope to the helpless and hopeless by empowering communities through housing, education and healthcare so that fundamental and sustainable growth can be achieved.