My name is Joe. I am going to share a personal story with you and I hope it inspires in you the desire to give back to your community and make a difference in the lives of kids.
By the time you finish reading this story, a child in Sub-Saharan Africa will die as a result of malaria or any of the water-borne or water-related diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, while another child may drop out of school due to lack of resources both at home and in the school.
I have lived in two African countries – Ghana and Tanzania before moving to the United States. I’ve always had in my heart the desire to help as many kids as possible to go school so they can do better than I did.
Now, my personal life, academic and professional careers have not been without struggles and challenges. I grew up in a small town, Piase, about 8 miles from Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana. In my teen ages, my only sister at that time, Jane (deceased) and I lived with our grandparents as my father lived in another region so he could work on his cocoa farm. He only came home occasionally to visit us. We had no potable water, and so we would wake up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. to fetch water from one or two streams about 2 miles away. This happened 2 to 3 times almost every morning before going to school unless there was significant rainfall the previous day or night. It is the same water the whole family would use for cooking, bathing and washing ourselves and our clothes. These streams drained large drainage areas with all sorts of pollutants, especially when indiscriminate defecation was very common.
As you would expect, there were frequent and severe outbreaks of water-borne or water-related diseases – cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, bilharzia, malaria, etc. There were several instances my sister and I contracted some of these diseases and stayed out of school for many days. The worst part is that many children lost their lives and there’s no doubt that many of them were brighter and had greater potential than me. Other kids walked several miles to attend school in our town. And most of friends many dropped out of school due to lack of support and resources both at home and in school.
In my own case, though my sister was equally brilliant as I was, I remember vividly with sadness the night my father had to sit us down to tell us that he could only support one of us to attend secondary (high) school for lack of sufficient funds. As is predominant in an African culture, though I was younger than my sister, but being the male, my father convinced my sister to learn a trade and therefore chose me over her to try out the Common Entrance Examination that would eventually lead me to qualify to attend secondary school.
My sister turned to me and said she would do whatever was necessary for me to further my education but I should remember the sacrifice she was making on behalf of the family. My sister and I sobbed and wept for a long time that night and that was the night that really changed my life – I would become what I am today through education, dint of hard work, and obviously with God’s help. I was more determined never to let my father down but more importantly to reward my sister whose opportunity to learn a trade did not materialize. My sister died in 2000. I am convinced that if our dad could afford to support both of us, my sister would probably be alive today because she wouldn’t have made some decisions.
I co-founded Give Back Africa Foundation Give Back Africa Foundation with a mission to address many of the issues kids in underprivileged communities are facing in African countries. We equip schools with books, computers, and other learning aids that motivate children to learn and join communities in the fight against malaria.
There are many ways you can give back to the community, make a difference and change the world. Please take a moment to look over our needs below and see how you help a child look forward to a better future. It is your mission. GBAF will only help you carry out your personal mission.
Make a General Donation
Make a generous donation to help GBAF buy computers, software and electronic learning aids and pay for the cost of shipping these items to Africa and health education for the communities we serve.
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Send backpacks with school supplies
Send Bed/Mosquito Nets
Malaria kills a child every 45 seconds and keep many out of school. Mosquito nets can protect whole families from malaria but few can afford them. Join us to protect the most vulnerable.
We thank you very much for your generosity.
Send us your used computers, printers, projectors and other electronic learning aids to support rural schools in need. Click Here for details
Help us spread our message (click here to send email to friends and colleagues)
Give Back Africa Foundation is an IRS 501(c)(3) exempt organization and so your donations to us are tax deductible.