MY PRESENT AND MY FUTURE IS IN YOUR HANDS!
I want to tell you a story about my past life. As a small boy I experienced a lot of difficulties getting an education. I was unable to study, because my parents had no money to buy my text books or reading books so because of this my passing grades in school were not that good. But I sat the national primary school examination N.P.S.E and I came out with grade 268 out of 500. I passed the exam and this was the happiest moment in my life. After passing the exam I was to go for high school interview and then the principal asked my parents to pay the sum of 250,000 Leones(60USD).
This was a sad moment for me as I knew my parents did not have that much money. My parents tried to see if they could borrow some money but they were only able to get the sum of 150,000 Leones(35USD). We went back to the school and pleaded with the principal to help us. The principal saw the effort of my parents and helped us. All through Junior school has been better or me but as I had to take the Basic Education Certificate Exams (BECE) this needed extra money. I worried so much because without sitting that exam my education was finished.
Then I met with a man by the name of Mr Kyriakos who lead me to the orthodox faith and I also met Father Themi. I became baptised into the Orthodox Church. Later Father Themi helped me with my BECE fee, the sum of 300,000 Leones(70USD). This was a very happy day in my life. Let me tell you, if I did not sit this exam, my life would be very different now. I would be selling water or trading in the streets like so many boys my age (I am 15 years old) or worse just begging and who know what.
As time went on, other important people came into my life. Mr King David and Dr Christomanos. These two also helped me greatly. This year I also met Ms Eleni. This community of people became my helpers, my supporters and my role models. They also have played different parental roles in my life. I have been truly blessed.
This month, I have just finished Senior Secondary School 1 and I was confident that I scored well to go even more forward to senior secondary 2. But the teachers held my assignment results for over 3 weeks and without them I could not get my final grades. Why did they do this? Because they wanted me to give them extra money (on top of school fees) to release my assignment results.
My parents give me little bit of lunch money so instead of buying lunch I don’t eat so I can save the money for each subject and the individual teacher can give me my assignment results. This is what happens in Sierra Leone schools. We have much corruption in our country.
Sad to say I could not save enough money to release all my results. Two weeks ago tired and hungry I went to meet with Miss Eleni and I explain to her what I was going through at school and she helped me with my remanding assignment money. God always bring me solutions to my education problems and so I went back to school and pay for all my assignments. I am waiting now for my final results.
So presently things are getting better in my life because of the help of people who care. Thanks to Father Themi, this year I was able to pay my school fees on time. Thanks to the Orthodox Youth fellowship donations I was able to buy some text books needed for my subjects. Even though I am still faced with difficulty as to who will pay for my books and school fees in September 2013 I hope and pray and trust that God Almighty will not abandon me. The Mission and kind support I get has been such a blessing.
In addition since I joined the Orthodox Youth Fellowship, it has made me grow spiritually, emotionally and socially. I feel positive for my future and hopeful. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for your kind donations for the food we eat at youth fellowship the paper and pens and for our transport home every Saturday.
Please remember us in your prayers and please help other children from our youth fellowship so they too can hope for a better education through your donations.
Christ Jesus now and always
*Foot Note from Eleni
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
I really wanted to share Stefano’s story this month. This boy is just one of many that need our help and support not just financially but emotionally and spiritually. They are smart and resourceful young people who just need a helping hand. In this post war country where greed, corruption, poverty, survival, death and despair are rampant, it is easy to become despondent and give up. After all, even if you help kids with their school fees, there will be a corrupt teacher ready to withhold exam results for the price of a child’s lunch money.
BUT the reality is that many teachers in government schools are not being paid a salary. They work for no income so they have to find their own ways of sourcing money to survive and provide for their own families. Sure, it is not ethical or honourable – but why they do it is understandable.
The problems in this country are systemic and they will not be solved in one month or five. BUT education is the long term solution. because the educated are more likely to decide to take upon themselves the struggle to change the structures of society that have served to oppress and deny them opportunities. The youth of this country, the adults studying at our college cannot wait for the government to pour money into education. They need education today, not in 10 years time as part of some government future millennium agenda.
Unlike NGO’s that come and set up programs for 3-5 years and then pack up and leave, the Orthodox Mission is here to stay. With a one off scholarship pledge of $200 for high school students and $300 for college students we can make a difference…one student at a time, one year at a time.
“When you give a banquet invite the poor the crippled the blind and you will be blessed. Although they cannot pay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” Luke 14 13-14
God Bless you and on behalf of PK4A/P4K and the Orthodox Mission, thank you for giving (your money, your time, your energy, your prayers) without seeking anything in return. Claim the `resurrection of righteousness’ for you will be repaid by Christ our saviour!
2013 Brisbane Fundraiser September 6, 2013 @ 7:00 pm
2013 Melbourne Fundraiser September 21, 2013 @ 6:30 pm
2013 Sydney Fundraiser September 22, 2013 @ 7:00 pm