How Education Transforms Lives

Dawit lost both parents before he turned 13, and was raised by his elderly grandmother in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. She tried to provide for Dawit and his sister, but there was too little to give. Dawit was forced to work from a very young age, sacrificing consistent attendance at school, but even with his contributions, the family remained destitute. Dawit, who was recognized as a gifted scholar early on, was slipping away from his studies.

Then, when he was 15 years old, Dawit was enrolled in our Family Preservation program. This education sponsorship support provided the opportunity for Dawit’s family to remain together while he attended school full-time. It was no surprise to his grandmother or the community when Dawit proved what everyone believed from the beginning: he was a dedicated student and he excelled.

Dawit’s drive to achieve never wavered. He graduated from high school and went on to attend Mekelle Institute of Technology, achieving an extraordinary 3.97 GPA in the computer science and engineering program. His success remains an incredible point of pride for Dawit and his grandmother, as well as an inspiration for his sister and the wider community.

Dawit has no difficulty recognizing where he began, and where he is now. “I owe my success to the generosity of those who believed in me,” he said. “I am so grateful.”

He is now an associate lecturer at his alma mater, Mekelle Institute of Technology. As his social worker said when he graduated top of his class: “Dawit has continued to reach for, and accomplish, great things.” His impressive career allows him to live independently and help his family. He is able to teach, and support, a new generation of students, some of whom are undoubtedly very much like he was when he was a child. Education — and Dawit’s unbelievable persistence — has helped this family break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

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