The Sanyang Family – Gambia, West Africa
They say that service to others goes hand in hand with spiritual development, and that it helps raise your own vibration. Sometimes we go in search of these opportunities to help others…sometimes they find us. In this case, the need found me (Keith).
In December of 2014 I began communicating with Lamin Sanyang from The Gambia, West Africa. He is the eldest of 5 siblings and they live with their mother. His father died years ago, when Lamin was a teenager. Over time trust was built and Lamin and I became close. During that time I became keenly aware of the problems that this family faced.
After awhile it became clear to me what the real issue was. There is no head of the household, no primary breadwinner – but that’s not the root of the problem. Looking deeper I found that there are no jobs for grade school graduates – the few that are available are reserved for those who complete post-graduate schooling. If a family does not have money to survive, they certainly don’t have money to pay for post-graduate schooling. Not only does this affect Lamin and Binta, who have both completed high school – it also affects the younger children in the household. The problem is lack of education. Compound that with a lack of birth control and family planning and the issue only grows.
As it turns out, school was not always free for high school and lower education – this is a very recent development in this country. Neither I nor the Sanyang family was even aware that the boys could go to school for free (we knew there were programs for girls to go to school for free). Still, all children need to purchase their own uniforms and books.
The solution was obvious – focus on education. So in July of 2016 myself and Gretchen Bickert started on the fundraising structure. The fundraiser ran approximately two months, and was successful. The first year was funded! Four children are now in school, and two older children (Lamin and Binta) are in post-secondary vocational schools.
Rather than feed a family for a day or month it became apparent that they would need to become self-sufficient. A three-year plan was put into place. After Binta’s second year of vocational school she will seek employment. After Lamin’s third year of school he will also seek employment. Two members of the household working, combined with the knowledge of 3 years of guidance and discipline, is how we see this family moving forward – on their own. And one day, they will help others.
To see the original fundraiser for the 2016-2017 school year that was published on BetterPlace.org, click on the files below.
THE FUNDRAISER VIDEO
THE FUNDRAISER SUCCESS VIDEO October 2016
While we can’t speak for whether or not our “vibrations were raised” or if we became more “spiritual” due to our involvement in assisting the Sanyang Family, we can definitely say one thing for sure….
Our hearts have been forever touched.
It is truly an honor to be provided the opportunity to help others.
We thank everyone who participated in this project. We have 2 more years to go!
~Keith from the iDigitalMedium team