The chances are very high that you - the reader of this report - finished a basic level of education. You probably hold and Associates, Bachelor's, Masters or even a PhD degree or equivalent. Your education has helped to open up doors of opportunity. It possibly contributed in one way or the other to helping you securing your current job or level of income. Education can be very valuable.
Well ... imagine what your life could be like without this education. Imagine how your lifestyle would be different.... Even further - can you imagine dropping entirely out of school because your family simply is unable to pay the associated school expenses - such as uniforms and the miscellaneous charges levied by the schools. This is certainly not a desirable situation to be in.
Dropping out of school: Unfortunately this is the situation that Dolly (see photos) found herself in. Dolly did not attend school for the whole of first term (Fall semester 2011) "due to lack of fees from her grandfather". So she has missed out on her education - except for the training and coaching provided at the after school classes that Develop Africa helps support. What made it worse is that the family at the start of January still was not in a position to put her back in school - which meant that she would lose the entire academic year! It saddens me that in this day and age children are still missing opportunities to develop and get a decent education.
Back in School: This was brought to Develop Africa's attention. We were disturbed as no child should be left behind. As we all know the contributing and empowering value of education, we immediately restored the situation and she is back in school. Dolly and her family breathed a sign of relief when they heard the news that we were going to support her. We are so joyful that she is back in school. You can see the broad smile on Dolly's face as she heads off to school.
Thank You: I just breathed a sigh or relief and gratitude as I typed these words. Thank you donors for helping to put Dolly back in school. Together we have helped to restore her and truly raise her up higher. We have given her the priceless gift of education!
Imagine: Imagine a world where everyone had the opportunity to achieve their dreams and whatever level of education they desired. Then, imagine a world where you are one of the change agents - helping make this happen. Just imagine what you would do if nothing was impossible to you and you had all resources available.
Now - let's do this together. Let's start with what we have. Let's unite forces. Share with us your imagination and plans to make this happen. We would love to hear from you.
Committed to a better world and imagining this daily.
The word "influence" has been on my mind the past few days. Influence as defined by Dictionary.com is the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others. Your support has definitely been of significant influence in ensuring that these children stay in school. In these days of economic pressures, this means a whole lot to them. It means much more than you would realize - and we deeply appreciate your investment.
The photo included in this report shows some children that are being supported by this and other GlobalGiving projects. As you can see the kids are holding "Thank You" messages. Our investment into the education of these children is helping to build them up and prepare them for their future as leaders of Sierra Leone and potentially the world. By helping to ensure they are educated, we are helping to end poverty. Education continues to be a sure path to empowerment - helping families to break from the cycle of poverty. This is influence at its best - helping to transform the destiny of others.
New scholarships were awarded in September and the children are all happily back in school. They are making steady progress and we continue to encourage them to do well in school - a condition of on-going support. The parents were reminded again to be very supportive and to spend time providing moral support and helping to coach with homework etc.
The lives of these children will never be the same again. We are deeply grateful for your support that is helping to raise these future leaders.
We are delighted to report some good news - The scholarships we are providing in rural Sierra Leone, with your support, are providing educational opportunities and fostering ambition. This is the message I came back with after a trip to Sierra Leone in May 2011. Phillip Sholes and I had the opportunity to travel to Freetown, Sierra Leone and meet a number of the children - beneficiaries of this project. It was a true delight to see their smiling, happy faces.
We had a brief meeting with Abu, who is Develop Africa's Northern Province Liaison. We recorded a brief video of him where he explains that because of our support, 3 children are in school. It's exciting to know that our impact is reaching rural communities where it is most needed (school attendance is much lower). Please take a few to watch the video here.
Over the past month, I read into a news article that affirms our commitment to supporting education in Africa:
"Look at how Asia’s extraordinary growth in recent decades was fueled by a determination to invest in “human capital". It is widely understood that Africa’s children will not own the 21st century until their leaders put more emphasis on educating them. Poor, barely literate 18 year olds in a rural area cannot compete for jobs. Neither can they take advantage of the investments being made on the continent.
It seems the critical investment of this century will be how Africa’s children are equipped to prepare for the challenges and chances ahead. There is no time to waste."
We are definitely on the right track - investing into the future of Africa's children. Our continual investment is truly raising the future leaders of Sierra Leone. Thank you so much for your on-going support!
Scholarships in Rural Sierra Leone are Providing Opportunities and Fostering Ambition
I would like to share a few sentences from a relevant and moving article I found online.
"What does failing to finish elementary school mean for the life and future of an 11-year old girl ... What does it mean for every child? The answer is simple: almost everything." As Anthony clearly states in his article online "Education is essential to every child’s ability to thrive, to become a productive adult, to contribute to society – and it is every child’s right."
This article is significant as it helps to highlight afresh the importance of education as a proven path to independence and productivity. With the day-today responsibilities that we all face, its not impossible for us to loose focus on the significance of our joint investment in education. Reading Anthony's article provided fresh fuel to me and I hope it does the same for you too. By providing scholarships, we are covering a major chunk of the expenses involved. We are making an indelible mark in the lives and destinies of the beneficiaries.
In order to ensure that your funds invested into the education of these girls are not wasted, we follow up regularly with their academic and overall progress. They are required to maintain good grades and maintain academic progress - in order to receive on-going support. They provide their academic report cards to us on a regular basis. This has helped motivate them to work hard at school - to ensure they can maintain the scholarship. The good grades and progress in school directly help their individual growth and development.
Below is a copy of Benjamin's academic report card. Thanks to your support, as you can see, Benjamin is doing well in school and maintaining good grades.
Here is also thank you message to you our GlobalGiving donors from one of the parents - on behalf of other parents - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5N-uqPy1AM. Your support is definitely making life less difficult for a good number of people!
We would like to encourage you to consider supporting this project monthly. When you sign up for recurring donations, we can together make education attainable for a whole lot more. This would help us do so much more. Thanks again for your on-going support!
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