Holding a piece of paper in her hand with a vaguely written address on it, ten-year-old Martin feels for the first time that she is losing her grip. She hands it to the driver of the yellow car rapide and is relieved to see him nod. He seems to know where he needs to take her. Martin has no idea. All she knows is that she has to find her uncle and that nothing will be the same.
The girl will feel this way many more times, but what she remembers best is that day when she couldn’t read the drug dosage. It was for this dear uncle who had taken her in in Dakar when the closer family had not a penny to share. Indecipherable words dance on the hastily written prescription – two tablets each in the morning and evening or two for the whole day? Can the uncle’s heart withstand such a difference?
More than 40% of Senegalese cannot read or write. We can hardly even imagine functioning in a world that divides people according to their ability to read the alphabet. Those who cannot do so can only work in the fields. They cannot write a job application. They will not manage with a computer. They can’t buy milk for their baby without help.
But Martin, having grown up in bustling Dakar, refuses to accept such a fate. Not because she doesn’t want to work – quite the opposite. But for his family she wants something better, so she is looking for her opportunity. This is how she meets Sister Eve, who, seeing her determination, knows straight away – investing in Martin’s education is a good decision. It’s even a necessity.
Martin, letter by letter, hour by hour, struggles to catch up with what for some people takes up a large part of their childhood. That’s how two years pass.
On Saturday, Martin, along with 53 students, received her graduation diploma. An intensive two years of literacy and training in sewing, cooking and childcare skills. It took two parties to make this a success – you, who gave us your trust by donating funds for the girls’ days of education in Senegal. And Martin, who did not miss a single class. She knew that such an opportunity would not come again.
Today, holding her diploma in her hands, she is smiling from ear to ear. Everything is going to be fine and, most importantly, she has earned it.
Thank you for every chance given to Martin, measured in days when you believed in her. Since the beginning of the year you have donated 94 such days – that’s half the school year. Please help us donate the other half to the schoolgirls who are just beginning their journey!