In an instant, one catastrophe can completely redirect a life’s trajectory. For Abekwa, that happened the day her village quivered on its perch atop a vista of sharply angled green and brown slopes. The Himalayan foothills reeled and rumbled, earth stampeding down steep hillsides, flattening homes and taking lives. When the earthquake stilled, Abekwa and her family stood and beheld a new landscape: Their village lay flat. Abekwa’s family already lived in poverty. Now, with their home destroyed and their village leveled, what would they do?
Pushed to the Brink of Giving Up
Abekwa’s parents struggled to provide for Abekwa and her three younger siblings. Illiterate themselves, Abekwa’s parents couldn’t help their children with school, and the kids struggled to learn. When the earthquake devastated their village, including the public elementary school the children attended, Abekwa and her family lost the little they had. They couldn’t even find food to eat.
Abekwa’s family moved to a larger town nearby where the children could attend school while the parents worked hard to provide by rearing and selling sheep and goats. With the struggles Abekwa’s family faced, the girl took on much of the burden of caring for her siblings. She cooked two meals a day and helped her siblings get ready for school.
With increased responsibility, Abekwa fell behind in her studies. Teachers scolded her and her siblings for not completing their homework. Though Abekwa worked hard, she couldn’t succeed in school. What was the point of trying? Shouldn’t she just quit school and help her parents with their work?
A Second Chance for Success
The family had moved in hopes of gaining some stability, but now their children were struggling. This bad situation hit a turning point when Abekwa’s father learned about an opportunity in their new town.
Abekwa’s father heard there was a GFA Bridge of Hope center that provided free education for children in need, and he enrolled Abekwa and her siblings.
At the Bridge of Hope center, a second chance for success plopped into Abekwa’s arms like a present, one she gratefully unwrapped. The tutors at Bridge of Hope assisted Abekwa and her siblings with their school assignments, offering help their parents couldn’t provide. The children also received school supplies and a daily nutritious meal, decreasing Abekwa’s need to cook. Best of all, the Bridge of Hope tutors encouraged Abekwa and her siblings. Gradually, the children excelled in their studies.
Through the help of Bridge of Hope, Abekwa regained the motivation, drive and hope she needed to achieve an education. She not only continued going to school, but she graduated in a region where about 40 percent of children don’t even attend upper secondary school.
Abekwa overflows with gratitude for the chance to finish school—a chance that poverty and disaster almost stole from her.
“I am so thankful and grateful to Bridge of Hope for providing free tuition and one-time meal[s],” she says. “Before coming to the Bridge of Hope, teachers in the school used to scold us because we used to go to school without writing homework. … I was thinking to discontinue my study and help my parents at work. But I continued my study because of Bridge of Hope. The tutors helped us to improve in our study. … I thank the Bridge of Hope staff for love, care and encouragement in our lives.”