The idea for ABAN began when its three founders first met at the University of Ghana in 2008. Callie Brauel and Emmanuel Quarmyne met while working on a project for an NGO management class. Both were disturbed by the millions of plastic water bags littering the streets of Accra. So they used this class to create a mock non-profit that turned this waste into upcycled products. Meanwhile, Callie and Rebecca Brandt developed their friendship while volunteering with two non-profits that addressed the needs of youth living on the streets of Accra—Catholic Action for Street Children (CAS) and Street Girls Aid (SAID).
Day in and day out, they became more disheartened at hearing the children’s stories of begging, stealing and prostituting on the streets in order to survive. They became particularly concerned with the plights and injustices of young women on the streets and the perpetuation of poverty through second-generation street children. Emmanuel, Callie and Rebecca quickly joined their passions and ideas to create a solution to two salient problems in the streets of West Africa: they would empower neglected and vulnerable homeless young women by creating products made out of recycled plastic littering the streets of Accra. From that day forward, they decided to commit their lives to placing A Ban Against Neglect—the neglect of both these young women and their environment.
From the fall of 2008 until the summer of 2010, they sold upcycled products to support Accra’s youth. By the time all three completed their college degrees in the summer of 2010, they had won the Carolina Challenge, a prestigious business competition at UNC-Chapel Hill (Callie’s home university). With the seed funding this competition provided and a team of accumulated local and international volunteers, ABAN was able to register as its own non-profit and recruit their first class of 12 young mothers from the streets of Accra.