As a contrast to Haddy’s story, I also need to share a less-happy story that one of our Board members, returned Peace Corps volunteer Marnie Kleinsmith-Florin, posted on Peace Corps/The Gambia’s FaceBook this week:
Hi everyone, I have a story to share that I'm sure all of you can relate to.
Sariba was one of my best friends in my village. When she was 12, her father died and her family ran out of money. Sariba's brothers had already finished school and her sister was almost done. They decided to let her sister finish school, but pulled Sariba out and forced her to marry. Today, Sariba's brothers work as engineers, one in the US and one in Gambia and her sister is a principal in Kombo. Sariba, on the other hand, lives upcountry, has 10 kids and spends almost every hour of her day doing physical labor. I often think about what Sariba could done with her life if she were allowed to finish out school.
Unfortunately, I can't turn back time for Sariba, but you and I can help make sure what happened to Sariba doesn't happen to her children and to other young Gambians.
We all know how important education is and most of us RPCVs are now in a position where we can do something about it. For just $5/month, you can help keep a child in school and break this cycle of poverty. If aren't yet a monthly donor, please consider going to GambiaRising.org and donating whatever you can. Thank you.
I met Sariba last year, after Marnie introduced her to us and Kebba Sanyang enlisted her to be a counselor for the girls we have enrolled at Bansang Senior Secondary School. Since all these girls are living away from home for the first time and going to a very large, new school, we wanted them to have someone to talk with at the school. Sariba is always available, because she works at the school. As a sweeper.
The difference between Sariba and Haddy's stories is stark. Every time we send a thank you note for a donation, we say "Thanks for changing their life." These stories are what we mean when we say that.
Thanks so much for changing so lives with your support.
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