Doctor Abio Ayeliya
From Tampula, UER, Ghana
Sponsored in 2004
Doctor (yes, that’s actually his name) was the first student that I sponsored, before Africa’s Tomorrow even actually existed. He was a student of mine while I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana from '99 to '01, and, I admit, he wasn't the best student when I first arrived. In fact, he was near the bottom of his class, but that wasn't because he didn't have the heart and the desire to succeed, he just didn't have the background and the resources.
Doctor comes from a very poor family in a rural farming village in northern Ghana about 20 miles away from our school in Chiana. His father had two wives. I say, “had” because one of them, Doctor's mother, passed away during my second year there. That left just one woman to care for his 13 brothers and sisters, most of whom were not as lucky as him to have been able to attend secondary school.
Nearly all of Doctor’s siblings, like most children in that area, had nothing more to look forward to than an exhausting life on the family farm.
Yet these prospects didn’t stop Doctor, he has been able to break the mold. By the time I left, Doctor’s amazing work ethic (this boy knows how to work!) had elevated him nearly to the top of his class.
In those two short years he demonstrated the difference between himself and the other students. He never asked for anything. Always willing to give, but never expecting anything in return. He is the definition of generous, just the type of person who merits help - a person who needs so much, yet still gives and asks for nothing in return.
It was this positive attitude and perseverance that influenced me to help him continue his education. Upon my departure he started at a new boarding school in the city and, for the next three years, repeated secondary school. His continued determination made that a success and led me to solicit funds which then allowed him to continue even further to Eastern Oregon University.
At EOU Doctor truly blossomed. He took full advantage of every opportunity both inside and outside of the classroom. It’s been amazing for those of us who were lucky enough to witness his transformation.
His growth continues daily and his dedication to helping Africa and the world is strengthened with each new experience. Because of the opportunity that we have provided him, his future is now full of possibilities.
After Doctor graduated from EOU he began working at SLCC and started his own non-profit organization, “Sabu Help”, aimed at helping poor, rural Ghanaians through micro-financing and student loans (see SabuHelp.org). He then went on to earn his Master’s Degree in 2012 from the University of Utah, specializing in non-profit management. He continues to aim high and is starting small businesses back in Ghana to help improve and develop that great land!
From Navrongo, UER, Ghana
Sponsored in 2006
Like Doctor, Maxwell is both an exceptional student and an amazing human being, devoted to enriching the future of Africa, searching for the means needed to do so successfully. He graduated from the OHSU nursing program in 2011, turning his dream into reality. With your support, the doors of possibility have already begun to open.
Maxwell is from an area just outside of Navrongo in the Upper East Region of Ghana. I was his teacher in Chiana (a small village nearby where he came to board and attend secondary school) for one year but it only took a day to realize that he was an exceptional student - one of the brightest and most dedicated I had while I was teaching there.
He wasn’t only a great student though, he was also a great person, always coming around my home to help out or just to talk and ask questions about the world - why things are the way they are, how they can be improved, etc.
He was committed to getting an education and using that education to promote positive change within his country. Unfortunately, like so many promising students around the world, Maxwell had the potential, desire, and capacity, but lacked the resources necessary to fulfill his dreams.
I’d kept in touch with Maxwell since I left Ghana in 2001, listening to his struggles and his triumphs, and all the time wishing I could help him as I had Doctor. But I always found a way to talk myself out of it or convince myself that I was not in a position to help him.
Unfortunately that’s easy to do, we all do it more often than we’d like to admit. In the end though, I just couldn’t continue to turn my back. So there I was, trying to help another disadvantaged student. When it comes down to it, is there any better investment in the world than improving the life of SOMEONE ELSE? Is there anything more fulfilling and gratifying? After all, a human is the most important commodity.
This was 2006 and the official beginning of Africa's Tomorrow as an organization.
Now Maxwell has completed his nursing degree from OHSU and he has passionately continued his quest to become a health-care worker, working as an RN. He hopes to earn a Master's Degree and return to Ghana to begin helping the people there, proving that we didn’t simply invest in one person, it was an investment in the future of everyone.