Many of us, Africans, know a little too well what education means in the lives of our people. We know too many stories of how an entire family would collectively support one of them to get an education and how that changes their social status, economic power and more. This story is about how one church, in Ghana, became the family of one young girl in an extraordinary way by supporting her education dream.
My friend Nathan Lee-Winans Annobi who shared the story with us put it this way:
“This is Christabel. She is leaving for university studies in a few days. Her story is amazing. She was part of a group of children in an orphanage that I engaged about 7years ago. I worked together with my church organization to have them get some public exposure aside the normal visits people do at the home (orphanage). Among others, we decided to help them financially (education oriented) and offer life coaching. Some took the path of vocational studies and a few wanted the main stream academic life. These folks have been disadvantaged in many ways, so it did have impact on their academic progression. Hence some dropped off and were not willing to take on any more challenges. She also failed some papers in her SHS (high school) exams. Unlike the others she was willing to take our offer to do “remedials” and to give those papers a second shot. She did and passed. With the help of the two ladies on her left and right, we got her a university and fully funded scholarship to attend the United States International university in Kenya. We took this picture at church where the opportunity was created for her and others to interact with the rest of the world at least twice a week. This is a good story of determination on the part of this wonderful lady.
This story is told for three reasons:
1. No one is useless unless they give up
2. People do need help and guidance. We need active positive life influencers
3. People like Christabel who block off their misfortunes and look forward to the possibility of good things may just find it if they persist in taking the right steps one day at a time.”
So many more lessons can be learned from this story, but I want to call on you, dear reader, to consider making a difference in someone’s life. Taking on financial responsibility may be too great for one person to carry but you can join with others or offer your time and expertise to uplift those who start with no family, network or any other type of capital.
Next month, the United Nations together with children charity Theirworld are launching the #letMeLearn campaign in response to the growing crisis in education worldwide. They are essentially calling world leaders to act on this issue because education or lack of education has serious consequences in the lives of people and society in general. If you are already supporting institutions like UNICEF and the like, I can only encourage you to keep doing so. In my experience though, I often felt that those institutions were sort of out of touch with the reality on the ground. Therefore, we created HOPE grant, a fund that supports girls during their education, and we encourage girls who meet the requirements to reach out to Femmes d’Esperance.
We acknowledge the limits of our effort in this great crisis. However, we are also convinced that as little as our contribution may be, it is still significant in people’s lives. As Nathan said, nobody is useless unless they give up.