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Pursuing a dream takes courage and perseverance. The wonderful school proprietors Edify works with understand this. They understand that falling down and encountering bumps along the way test the heart. When adversity comes, most of us are tempted to give up, to question our ability and wonder if we can ever get back to that place of initial excitement when beginning the project. But, if we find something that makes our heart race and lights a fire within us, it is often worth fighting for.

Two women that run Edify partner schools share with us their passion and perseverance to make dreams reality. They have a dream to provide a good education to impoverished children, but adversity struck both of them and they would be tested to move forward.

Madam Sophia Stella Nyarko started her school in Ghana (West Africa) to serve her community and its children. AC Kings and Queens was founded in 2006 and began with 50 students from nursery to grade 3. The school soon grew as news spread through the community of the school’s academic and extracurricular achievements. By 2009, the school had an enrollment of 150 students and offered through grade 9.

In April of 2015, Sophia obtained a loan from Edify’s lending partner; Sinapi Aba Trust. Her plan was to build three more classrooms to fit the growing number of students attending her school. One month after receiving the loan, Sophia suffered from a stroke and could not continue running the school. The Headmistress stepped in and was not able to run the school with as much care and diligence as Sophia. Consequently, parents started withdrawing their children from the school and teachers began to leave. In September 2015, Madam Sophia recovered significantly from the illness and thus, resumed her post in the school, but the harm was already done. There were 60 students left in the school…

Aurora Zorrilla is the proprietress of Los Niños de Jesús de Ceres in Lima, Peru. Founded in 1986, the school was one of the first private schools opened in the area. For this reason, the school had no trouble with enrollment and grew each year.  Aurora continued to dream and in 2010, Aurora started opening her school to children with special needs. Children with Down Syndrome, Autism and other learning disabilities were welcomed into the school. Some parents did not understand that special needs could not be “caught” like infectious diseases and removed their students from the school. Student enrollment went down to 10 students…

Two stories of adversity; two stories of trial amidst growing successes. But two stories of women not willing to give up.

 In Ghana, Sophia is not giving up on her school or her community. She has rented out portions of her house to allow her to earn money and continue servicing her loan faithfully.  In February, she participated in Edify’s School Leadership Training to gain more knowledge and skills to improve the management of her school.  She has hired three students from the University of Ghana, as part-time teachers, and they have jointly decided to help with marketing her school so that she can re-open.

In Peru, Aurora continued to pursue her passion to help students with special needs and was not discouraged when enrollment fell. In 2015, Aurora received a loan from Edify’s lending partner for approximately $1,500 USD to improve the school’s teaching equipment. She was not going to give up on her passion for educating special need children.

Adversity will come. Trial is inevitable. But, we do not have to give up. These are stories of two proprietors among many Edify come across with the tenacity and perseverance to overcome the trials and challenges of life. Edify’s loan repayment rate of 97% is indicative of the tenacity we see in these women in Ghana and Peru and many other proprietors. In light of adversity, these two women are not willing to compromise their dreams for their community. They are ordinary heroes, showing us a picture of true faith.

With Gratitude,

Shelby Stogner
Edification and Philanthropy Administrator

 

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