Several years ago, I established the Foundation for Healthy Africa to help students in Africa and to help support small research projects aimed at improving health in Africa. The foundation is small, but it has contributed to scholarships for a number of students. The back-stories of why these students need help are always moving. This special issue of the newsletter features David’s Story.
I grew up on a rural-based family farm in Burundi. My two parents are still alive: one is 68 years old and the other is 51. They spent their entire lives without any formal working employment except for farming their little plot of land. They never had a chance to get any education. This is highlighted as the main cause of the financial hardships that face their children, especially regarding their education.
I started my primary school during a very challenging financial period. I remember that I would go to school without shoes and my parents were not able to buy required school material. They started buying only one notebook, and continued to buy one every end of the month by saving a little money by selling half of what we should eat. This sacrifice caused the whole family to live with only one meal daily. But I made it by the grace of the Lord.
My education funding is full of wonders and miracles in terms of sustainable financial sources. As I was growing, I thought it was important to continue my education though I could not see where my school fees and supplies would come from. Fortunately, after two years, the government announced a financial support program for vulnerable children and orphans. I thank God because I managed to finish my O Level classes through this program.
In order to start my A Level classes, I had to look for my own ways to earn money by doing different hard jobs because my parents were not able to pay my school fees and required school supplies. I had to make bricks for construction for those people who wished to build their houses. Sometimes I could put together a little money from here and there in order to reach my target. I was able to sell sweets, bubble gums, biscuits, and breads in the main bus stop to increase my income. During the school term, I could meet my parents after classes where they farmed to help them gather whatever they could to make the family’s daily meal. All this made my school life very tough, because I could not easily find enough time for my studies, exams and test preparations. Fortunately, because of my passion for education, I passed all my exams and went to the University level.
I was ready to fight hard to gain a University degree and knowledge. Unfortunately, when I finished A Level high school I did not have that opportunity because of financial challenges. After working three months in telecommunication back home, I remember trying to register with Ntarerugamba University. I thought I could manage to cater for my school needs and other life upkeeps, but I failed in this effort because I was being paid no more than $30 monthly, while school needs amounted to at least $120 per month. I had to wait almost seven years between the end of my high school (2007) and the beginning of my university studies at Africa University, while praying for higher education financial support. A friend assisted me through the church in Zimbabwe, and I received financial aid at Africa University, where I am now done with my first-ever university degree. This is helping to make my dream come alive.
In conclusion, I am very grateful for all the financial assistance for my first degree and my master’s program. May God bless all who contributed in any way to my achievement. My wish is to finish with a master’s degree in order to be well-equipped professionally, enriched in my knowledge and professional outgrowth. My goal is to empower and transform youth from my community to promote social justice and sustainable socio-economic development. I want to encourage creative entrepreneurial activities without neglecting good governance. As you can see from my financial background, I and my family are not able to raise and pay for my master’s-level school fees.
It was a pleasure to teach students like David when I taught at Africa University. They are excellent students, eager to learn as much as they can, but the AU financial aid for David stopped when he received his degree. It did not provide continued help for master’s-level studies.
We were able to give David a little help last year. Unfortunately, the foundation’s reserve is now depleted, and we have to put students on a “wait list.” I’m confident the foundation will get an infusion of funds in the next month or so. Until then, students like David are left with registration concerns.
If you would like to give David a helping hand, please send a check in any amount to:
Foundation for Healthy Africa
c/o U.S. Family Foundation, Inc.
452 Pleasant Grove Road,
Inverness, FL 34452
Make your check payable to: U.S. Family Foundation. It will put your gift into the Foundation for Healthy Africa.
Thank you in advance! I’m grateful for any help, and you will have David’s heartfelt thanks!
Ed Dodge, MD, MPH
Please share this newsletter with any of your family or friends who might be interested. New subscribers are always welcome! They may receive my ebook, Be Healthy, as a free gift.