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A message from a student in Kenya

My name is Delilah Musungu. I am 16 years old and I come from a very poor background. My parents are both alive but due to poverty they are unable to support me. This situation forced me and my young brother to go out to the streets so that we could beg for food and ask for help from people in order to support ourselves and my parents.

I was hopeless and even became bitter of myself since I could not go to high school like other children in our village. There was no one to help me get to school because of lack of school fees. I could not go to the Government school, where I was admitted, since the fees were too high and we could not afford them.

One day I saw a friend whom we schooled together in primary, she had already joined high school and she shared with me about her school called Gilgal takes care of the less privileged students who could not pay for the school fees in the Government schools. She is also from a poor family and we come from the same village.

I went home and told my dad about the school which helps those in need and he came to Gilgal to ask for my admission, he was given the chance though he had nothing to pay. Thanks to God I am now in form two and I am happy to be in a school which cares and support people like me. I trust in God that I will continue getting the support I need to complete my education and join the University.

I am working hard In order to achieve my dream of becoming a nurse and in the future when I am through with my education at Gilgal, I will come back to support those children who are unable to go to school because of schools. Some of those students who have gone through Gilgal have come back to help and some are teachers in Gilgal like teacher Edward and Joseph not forgetting our best Agriculture teacher Mr. Edwin. They inspire us students.

Education Equals Hope supports students at Gigal.  Thank you to our donors, we give hope to children like Delilah who hopes to pay it forward someday.  Please DONATE to continue to help children like Delilah.

Today is International Women’s Day.  We would like to thank you for supporting E=H programs, and also thank our Program Coordinators for their help in supporting our mission.  Today we are sending you a story written by a woman about some women in Quito, Ecuador living in a difficult and desperate situation.  You can give hope to others with even just a small amount.  Here is her reflection of her trip visiting Quito, Ecuador.

In January 2016, I was given the opportunity to visit Quito, Ecuador….Before I went to Quito, I hadn’t really been exposed to poverty and I definitely didn’t understand the harrowing process or effects of human trafficking.

I’d been living life in my cushy little bubble, but now, I know some things. My bubble has been burst wide open and I can’t keep those things to myself anymore.

So let’s start with the facts:

1.     In order to even qualify for a minimum wage job in Quito, you must have a high school diploma

2.     Minimum wage is $350 a month

3.     Public school can be expensive. Parents have to pay for supplies, books, uniforms, etc. which can cost upwards of $600 a year (per child)

4.     Prostitution is legal in Quito if a woman is 18+

At this point you might be wondering why any of that matters. And it matters because 25% of Quito lives below the poverty line. In the poorer villages young women don’t have the financial means to attend school and if they don’t graduate, they won’t ever hold a minimum wage job.

It’s a cruel cycle that forces them to continue living in impoverished communities and can lead them to either A) sell whatever they have to make ends meet, including themselves or B) take risky “job opportunities” that turn out to be entry points into the relentless ring of human trafficking.

On my third day in Ecuador I visited Casa Adalia – a home for human trafficking survivors (E=H supports education in the home). To help me better understand the girls and their pasts, one of the founders, thought it would be good for me to see where many of them came from.  So she took me to the Center City – straight to the heart of the red light district.

I’m not going to lie, I was expecting to go to a very rundown part of town with lots of dirty alleys and crumbling buildings (has anyone seen Taken?!). But when we got there it was not only one of the most idyllic streets I’d seen in Quito, but my ignorance was apparent.

We spent over an hour talking to women on the streets and as I heard their stories my heart shattered over and over again. I desperately wanted to take each of them to the safe house and help them start over, but there was nothing I could do. In that moment I was already doing everything I could by loving on them and telling them there was hope, but it still didn’t feel like enough.

When we got back to the car, it wasn’t long before the tears started streaming. I was SO angry – angry at the situation, the circumstances and the system. My mind was racing with a million questions, but the question that changed everything for me was this: “How much money do they actually make?”

I never could have prepared myself for Desi’s response and it cut through me like bitter air on a freezing night – – – “On average $7, but once things like the room fee have been deducted, it comes out to about $4. In brothels it’s less than that.”

Four. Dollars.

The cost of a Starbucks coffee.

I was stunned.

And it was in that moment that I had the bleak realization that prostitution and human trafficking are intricately tangled in the same web – the web of poverty. Like a nasty plague living off its host, you can’t have one without the other.

I’ve struggled a lot since I’ve been home wondering how in the world you stop poverty because if you stop poverty then you can stop trafficking, right?  But that’s the million-dollar question isn’t it? People have devoted their entire lives to solving the problem and we still don’t have the answer. I don’t have the answer either.

But God wanted me to wake up and He took me to another continent to do it.

He sends me a reminder every day in the form of the number 4. I can no longer see the number 4 without seeing the faces of the girls at Casa Adalia. I haven’t had Starbucks since I got back and it’s not because I’m trying to make some kind of statement or get attention. It’s solely because I know there are thousands of women in Quito alone that are losing themselves for that very same amount – the cost of my grande iced skim caramel machiatto is the cost of someone else’s dignity.

I’m not okay with that.

My first trip to Ecuador was full of experiences I’ll never forget and I’m thankful for it. As crazy and cliché as it sounds, I truly believe it’s changed me.

It’s my job to shine a light on all the injustice in the world and to show you how your dollars can are truly change the lives of others.

It’s a really big assignment and I know I can’t help everyone, but doing something is better than doing nothing.

And never in my life have I felt so helpless, yet so hopeful, which is a paradigm I’m still trying to process.

To support the women at Casa Adalia please Donate

Today’s Determination Builds Tomorrow’s Doctora

In this new year, we give thanks for your support and are pleased to highlight the challenges and successes of one of our new scholarship students, a determined young woman, who we will call “Mariela”.  We give thanks to the drive and determination that this young woman demonstrates to her academics – and it is our good fortune to be able to meet her and help support her education.

“Mariela” is 14 years old and has just completed her 7th grade courses at a Colegio (high school) in San Ramon, Costa Rica.  The transition from elementary school into 7th grade in high school has been challenging for her, as it is for most students when moving into a larger student population where distractions are everywhere, courses are more rigorous, and the expectations are high.

However, “Mariela” entered the CAA scholarship program in 2017 based on a nomination from the high school that she needed assistance. ” Mariela” has been especially challenged because she is managing the transition to high school while dealing with two serious medial conditions: a heart defect that required surgery a few years ago, and a chronic immune system condition, systematic Lupus (erythematosus).  Her symptoms of fatigue, fever, weight loss, arthritis, and skin lesions were diagnosed as Lupus in 2010, and “Mariela” struggled to maintain her focus on her studies while enduring the many symptoms of the condition.  With the support of her mother, a single parent, “Mariela” has persevered to achieve an 84.3 grade point average for the 2017 school year, only 1.7 points lower than her 6th grade average.

“Mariela’s” academic grades, while not as high as she would like, are remarkable.  When diagnosed with Lupus, her doctors advised her to withdraw from regular classes in school because of the care and absences that would be required to manage her disease. Despite the doctor’s recommendations, “Mariela” has chosen to stay in regular classes rather than move into an alternate curriculum track.  And, despite the challenges of her condition, “Mariela” is maintaining good grades, and is looking forward to the Christmas holidays, and the 2018 school year.  “Mariela” has set her future career goals high – she hopes to be able to earn the grades to allow her to enter university and a Doctora of Forensic Medicine.

This student needs our help to continue with her studies and fulfill her dreams.  “Mariela”s experience is but one example of the power of education to change lives, to provide direction when otherwise challenged, and to channel the motivation of this very determined young women to dream forward to a more secure future.

The support of our generous donors through Education Equals Hope, Inc., and our volunteers and donors in Costa Rica, makes it possible for us to assist this delightful and focused young student, and 23 others who hope to follow the path of education to lead them out of poverty.

You can give hope to children like Mariela.  Please SUPPORT E=H and DONATE.

 

______________________________ __________
Story facts provided by: Yuliana Vasquez Pacheco, University Scholarship Intern; Authored by Scott McAnally, Chair, Education Committee, Community Action Alliance

Participant/Discovery Payment Schedule

Deposit/Payments Timeline

Immediate deposit, to confirm booking $100 per participant (non-refundable)
120-59 days prior to departure 50% of total
60 days prior to departure paid in full
If booking is made 60 or less days, total payment is required.

Cancellation Policies

  • $100 per participant deposit is non-refundable
  • Before 120 Days, any funds paid, except for the non-refundable deposit will be refunded
  • 120-61 days prior to booking date: 50% is refundable
  • 60 days or less prior to booking date: 100% non-refundable.*

Notes and exceptions:

  • A written e-mail notification should be sent to Education Equals Hope in order to receive any sort of refund. Cancellation policies may change due to the policies of certain hotels, restaurants, etc. Other administrative fees or spent costs may be applied to penalty fees. No refunds will be given for unused meals, housing, airport transfers, etc. We strongly suggest all travelers look for travel insurance (which is separate from medical traveler’s insurance which is mandatory).
  • If it is 60 days or less prior to arrival please contact E=H for a consideration of refunding funds; we will consider each situation case by case.
  • We highly recommend all passengers to acquire travel insurance prior to traveling (which is separate from medical traveler’s insurance which is mandatory).

Group Leader:

In order to streamline the payment process and communications, the group should choose one or two individuals to organize payments and act as the official liaison(s) between the group and E=H. All group payments must be organized by the group leader and sent in one packet, and in one lump sum.  We do understand that this can be difficult in some situations, please contact E=H for further assistance.  info@educationequalshope.org

Late Payment:

If you are unable to make a final payment on time, 60 days prior to departure, you will be charged $85 and should send in the Deposit Slip stating that the payment will be late and a check for $85.  The late payment policy is created to encourage Hope on the Ground teams to make final payments on or before 60 days prior to departure to help team site host recover costs incurred due to expediting funds to site location.

If you are unable to make another payment 30 days prior to the departure date, you may be charged another $85 to Education Equals Hope.  Please contact info@educationequalshope.org with any questions you may have.

How to Pay

Please send the payment slip and check to:

Education Equals Hope

102 Academy Street

Fort Mill, SC 29715

Inclusions: Depending on the country, some inclusions will vary program by program. However, the following will always be included: lodging, transportation, meals in country and service charges, service of local English/Spanish/Haitian speaking host during the program.

Exclusions: International travel to the site, meals in the airports prior to and after the program,  extra beverages (unless specified), tips for drivers, or international health insurance (unless specified).

 

Hope Story from Rwanda

And we know that in all things God works

for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

A Reflection about Nikuze Hannah Blessing, a child of Jean Bosco Ntakirutimana and Providence Nzayisenga

 

As a newly married couple, my wife Providence and I were highly looking forward to a bright future with expectations of being parents. Consequently, this expectation was shattered within a day. On Friday, May 13, 2011, my wife gave birth to premature triplets. During delivery, we lost a son and a daughter, but Blessing was taken into an incubator for survival. We were in a dilemma and wondering where God had turned. Having two funerals for our two babies was a pain beyond bearing, yet we also thought another funeral for our third child was on the way. However, after many prayers, on June 22, Blessing no longer had to be in an incubator. She came home.

After three months at home, we realized she had eye problems. After doctor visits and communication with friends both in Rwanda and abroad, we were told that her eyes would likely not be repaired. This was another frustration, but we trusted God and He finally provided the means to get to CCBRT hospital in Tanzania. We spent a month there for blood transfusions before attempting the eye operation. Afterward, doctors said that the operation may not be successful and they didn’t think there was any hospital in the world that could restore Blessing’s eyesight.

As a Christian and Theologian with an MA in Theology, I felt that I needed to do something to help ministers of the Gospel who have no Biblical knowledge and also to help vulnerable communities, the blind in particular. I formed a religious based organization, Hillside Hope, in 2013 and it was officially registered in 2015. Friends in Canada provided some of the educational material to help the school begin. Michele Dudley, a board member of Education Equals Hope, provided the money to rent the school. Education Equals Hope helps us meet some of the operational costs of the school. Blessing School for the Visually Impaired (BSVI) opened on January 26, 2015.

God turned our family’s situation with Blessing into a blessing to the other children who live with blindness without hope. They are now at the school learning. BVSI still has many needs, and we have fewer children than we’d like because of financial limitation, but thus far we thank God for what He is doing in our lives. Blessing is now in P1 in our newly born school. Her life has inspired us to give hope to other children with visual impairments like our daughter. We are striving to expand Blessing School for the Visually Impaired so that more children can receive an education tailored to their needs.

See a video about the School when it first started: BSVI

Edward Nyongesa Kwanusu

Edward’s father died when he was 8. A few years later, he dropped out of school to nurse his ailing mother on her sick bed until her death when he was 12. As an orphan with no one to pay his tuition and fees, Edward could not return to school. He did housework for money until he began working in a bakery. After three years, he saved enough money to return to school. His goal was always to earn a degree from a university, even though life threw challenges his way.

After finishing grade eight, he received a call inviting him to Gilgal High School, where children like Edward who could not afford to attend secondary school could continue their educations. After his Gilgal graduation, Edward continued to Mount Kenya University where he graduated with a social work degree. He now gives back to his Alma Mater, Gilgal High School, by serving as a history and religious education teacher.  He also established Doors of Hope.  As an orphan and educated at Gilgal High School he wanted to help orphans, especially street kids.  Founded with the help of Whatever, where he teaches the children to transition from the street to ‘life’ in a home that supplies food and a place to live.  E=H supports the students at Doors of Hope, where Edward currently cares for 5 students.  Edward was given hope, and you can help others like him find their potential and become leaders.

Miguel first heard about Casa Gabriel when he was 14 years old. He and his younger brother Jesus were living on the streets after having run away from a group home several times. They had learned to prefer to live on their own on the streets: they’d been doing it since they were small children.

When Miguel was an infant his mother became a drug dealer to help make ends meet financially for herself and her seven children. She was taken to prison and her younger children were sent to group homes. Upon being released she gathered her children back and tried making a go of it, but desperate for income she sent her kids out on the street to “work” selling and singing Miguel was around 5 years old.  The kids would bring home what they could to help out, but it was never enough for Miguel’s Mom or step-father. Soon they realized it was better for them to spend more and more time on the street and not coming home to be met by their step-dads fists and kicks.  Miguel and Jesus made friends with other street boys and soon discovered, at the age of 7, that they could fend for themselves just fine out on the streets, so they went home less and less.

One day Miguel and Jesus were at a soup kitchen run by a local church and heard about Casa Gabriel from another boy. Jesus was interested and wanted to go check it out but Miguel didn’t want anything to do with it, he was fine on his own and had been hurt enough by group homes and adults.  Jesus came to visit and loved it. He told the staff about his brother Miguel. Finally, Miguel came to visit: however he had a big chip on his shoulder from the start.

“He was a very hard kid for many years”, states the Director Phil Douce. Miguel had a very difficult time trusting anyone and did not do well with discipline or limits, taking them as rejection or that someone was intentionally trying to hurt him. At several points the staff could not take any more and had decided to ask Miguel to leave the program. On these occasions his younger brother Jesus said that if his brother had to leave he would leave also. So the staff tried again, and again. They had been told by his school psychologist that Miguel had a mental delay and would never graduate from high school. Many times the staff would pray for this young, angry boy and would come up with yet more strategies to try and show love, respect and service to him. Little by little Miguel started to gain trust and developed a strong love of learning and doing well in school. Finally, instead of him being the “dummy” in the class, his classmates would ask him how to do the work. Along with much patience, love and work, Miguel started to thrive. He became one of the most dedicated and self-motivated boys in the house when it came to school.

Not only did Miguel graduate from high school, he graduated with honors. Immediately after graduating, he enrolled in culinary school, following his love of cooking and his dream of becoming a chef and maybe opening his own restaurant one day. As Miguel continues to study, he comes to Casa Gabriel three times a week to cook lunches for the other boys. He is paid for this work, which he uses to pay for his current school costs and also gives him a chance to keep practicing his cooking in a place where he is deeply cared for. The staff continues to pour out love and support to Miguel, as does his mother, who fervently prays over her sons. It is an honor to walk beside young men such as Miguel, who have embraced a love of learning because of the doors it opens for their futures.

Roselene Duclaire, St. Jean Baptiste School, Savanette, Haiti

(Roselene on left in photo; Her sister in photo on right.)

Roselene is a hopeful young girl at St. Jean Baptiste School in Savanette, Haiti. She started at SJBS when she was 7. She performed well and is now in fourth grade. Her favorite subject is math, and she dreams of one day becoming an engineer. She wants to build a house; she currently lives in her thatched-roof home (damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016) with five family members.

Always willing to help, she brings water for her family and does her chores. Education is important to her, as well, and she always does her homework. Beyond this, she cares for the goat that she received from SJBS’s goat program in February, 2017 (the goat program offers orphans and poor families a chance to improve their finances).

Her life is not easy, as she and her household struggle to eat and maintain their shelter. However, Roselene has a cheerful smile and great optimism for her future. The education, daily meal, and goat that she receives from SJBS has given her the chance to improve her family’s finances and to dream of a bright future as an engineer.

 

Jim Brutus, Les Cayes, Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and one of the poorest in the world. This is the story of one of the citizens, Jimmy Brutus.  He was given hope in a desperate and difficult situation. When Jimmy was six, his mother died and never having met his father, was sent to live with his aunt, uncle and three cousins with his brother.  Unfortunately, grief followed him.  Nine years later “darkness started and the bridge of hope collapsed” he said after his uncle died.  His aunt, with 5 children in the home, didn’t have money to buy food or send the children to school.  Jimmy was lost in grief, without hope… out of school from September until the end of April.  (Picture: Jimmy and his Mom)

One day, when playing soccer on a playground, a priest asked him why he wasn’t in school.  Jimmy told the priest that his aunt didn’t have money to buy a uniform or books for him to go to school.  The priest told him to go to St. Saviour School the next day to talk with him.  When Jimmy went to see the priest, he was told that there were only two months remaining in the school year, but if he studied hard and passed the year end exams, he could receive a scholarship for the next year.  It seemed impossible to learn the entire year’s worth of learning, but Jimmy was given hope for his situation.  He passed that year and he was given a scholarship the following year, Jimmy continued to study hard and was given much hope until he finished University studies at BTI, the Business Technical Institute in Les Cayes. Jimmy is now the Onsite Coordinator in Les Cayes, Haiti for Education Equals Hope.  His philosophy: “Trust in God, and he will find a way.  Tomorrow the sun will shine.” (Picture below: Jimmy Brutus today. )

This is a great week to donate to our Haiti Kitchen Project! During this week only, we have a donor who is willing to MATCH all donations made toward this project! Remember, no amount is too small. Click the link below to donate.

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