When I grow up, I want to be….
For the past 6 weeks, I have been in Ghana visiting all our projects, but really focusing on the scholarship program. I have had a phenomenal time. This is my experience.
"Meeting the scholarship students was an experience I will never forget. Being a student myself, I love learning. I think that education is such a powerful tool and opens up so many opportunities. In Ghana the Meet Kate Foundation gives brilliant but needy young people the opportunity to finish high school. We make sure that we can cover all three years of tuition, boarding, books and food so that our focus is more on quality than quantity.
To describe these young people is incredibly difficult without sounding like I’m exaggerating. Their passion was so inspiring it actually overwhelmed me! Tears sprang to my eyes as I thought of how amazing it would be if each and every one of them had the opportunity to live their dreams. I get to do that when I am in university and the only difference is that we were born into different circumstances: something that is completely out of our control.
Chatting to Ebenezer, one of the second years, I am speechless as he describes with no bitterness, his mother’s heartbreak that her intelligent son couldn’t finish high school. He speaks of how difficult it was when he used to sell yogurt on the streets to bring home an income. Then his face lights up as he talks about how he now wakes up at 3:30 in the morning, not because he has to, but because he wants to learn. His eagerness is something akin to a dry sponge. His passion is to absorb everything, feasting eagerly on education, never satisfied until he is completely saturated with knowledge. He doesn’t see it as hard work, but sees himself as extremely lucky to have that opportunity! His smile tells a story of restored hope. His future is bright again and all thanks to the generous donations Meet Kate Foundation gets. Now when he grows up, he can be what ever he wants to be.
And it’s that time of the year again. The motivation letters have started coming in. Each year because of funding, we have a limited number of places to give away. The selection process can therefore be quite competitive. The students have to write a motivational letter explaining why they want a scholarship, take an exam and come in for an interview. Our mentor also finds out about their parents’ financial situation to makes sure we really are reaching the neediest people.
One evening, just as I am about to leave the office, a young boy, small for his age comes into the office with a hesitant smile. It is plain to see, that this means so much more to him than I could possibly put into words. With trembling hands, he hands over the letter that could change his future. One line reads: “The reason why I want this scholarship is that I want to be a medical doctor to help the people in my community and country, because people in my society die because they lack medical care.”
I’m blown away by his selflessness; he sees a need in his community and he wants to be the one to fill it. The late Steve Jobs said, “the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” I think it takes incredible strength to dare to believe that you can change your world, even though at first glance, your situation suggests otherwise. These are the people who inspire us. Every child has dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. Meet Kate invests in them. Will you get involved?
Sending you a pocketful of the sunshine from Meet Kate,
Naa Akle Dromo Okantey
President Meet Kate UK