Dear colleagues, friends, and family,
I am here to ask you to help me help an extraordinary young man achieve his dream of sending 100 children, 75 of whom are girls to go to school in my home country of Sierra Leone.
Here is the thing: it cost $30 a year to send a child to school for one year. That $30, covers uniforms, books, tuition and other school related expenses.
To those who are unfamiliar with my story, my activism and my quest for education, allow me to introduce myself briefly.
I was born and raised in Sierra Leone, a nation divided by the haves and the have-nots. Many of you know of my story and the hardships I faced growing up in Sierra Leone. A country that handed me a gun at age five instead of allowing me to go to school, and, enjoys that which was rightfully mine to enjoy: childhood.
That was 14 years ago. Since then, my life can be sum-up to a series of serendipitous events with one constant, education.
My desire to learn coupled with the help and generosity of the people around me has allowed me to dream bigger than I could ever have imagined.
Because of small donations from generous people like you, I'm on the verge of achieving my dream of one day becoming an International Human Rights Lawyer.
I believe in education. And, as a beneficiary of a fortuitous education, I understand its power in changing lives. I am of the camp that education is the single greatest equalizer humankind has created.
And, it is the job of us, the gatekeepers of the world to provide access and opportunity to quality education to everyone regardless of their origins.
My campaign to raise $3,000 stems from a recent interaction with a fellow young Sierra Leonean named Timba who I met while giving a keynote speech in Morrocco. Timba, who is from rural Sierra Leone was the first in his family to ever go to school. His tenacity forced his parents to enroll his two younger sisters to school.
Fast-forwarding to three years ago: Timba had the opportunity to partake in a State Department high school sponsored cultural exchange program know as the YES program. At the end of his year in Colorado, and equipped with $700 he was able to raise from members of his church, Timba went back home to his village to began what is now known as the Tamba's Scholarship Foundation. His goal was and still is simple: get girls in his village and nearby villages to school no matter the cost.
Although school is supposed to be free in Sierra Leone, the reality couldn't be further from the truth. Timba lives in a village where the government of Sierra Leone somehow seems to have forgotten-because there is no government sponsored “free" schools. And so, the parents of these students, the majority of whom are what we called subsistence farmers have to pay for their children to attend "private" schools. For most of the farmers, there is no immediate payoff educating their children-especially their girls. And so it goes, the girls are always the first to suffer from such poor decisions.
Imagine being told at age 13, that you are too old for school; and that you are better off being sent into an early marriage.
With just $700 here is what Timba has been able to achieve so far: 99% retention rate, a yearly average of 65-70% in a country where the passing average is 50%.
There are more kids in need that Timba and his organization can support. Competition to get into the program is fierce. And once in, students have to maintain an above national average and are required to have an above average attendance. Also, a contract is signed between the students, parents and the foundation to ensure the success of the children. This agreement allows a shared responsibility with all parties involves.
Here is what you get for your money: Quarterly update of your kid or kids performance, the retention rate of the children in the program and finally, the satisfaction that in a faraway land, you’ve prevented a girl that you’ve never met from an early marriage.
Beyond money, Timba is also looking for partnerships, mentorships, and collaboration.
Although I am hoping for a minimum donation of $30, all donations and help are welcome.
In conclusion, I’ve been allowed to dream big because of the education I’ve been fortunate to receive. Please help me help Timba make his dream, my dream, and our dream of having a generation of empowered girls.